A new documentary from director Rauzar Alexander centered on Juilliard Drama Division co-founder and theatre teacher Moni Yakim is released digitally June 19. Watch an exclusive clip from the film above.
Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy takes viewers inside Yakim's classes at famed New York City performing arts conservatory Juilliard, where he has taught such actors as Patti LuPone, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Alex Sharp, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, and Kevin Kline. The documentary features interviews with Yakim, Linney, Chastain, Sharp, Mackie, and Kline, along with Michael Urie, Oscar Isaac, Mina Yakin, Charles E. Gerber, Peter Jacobson, and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Born in Jerusalem, Yakim was a principal performer with the mime companies of Etienne Decroux and Marcel Marceau before becoming a director, working in Israel and Europe before coming to the U.S. He has helmed productions at Yale Rep, American Shakespeare Festival, and both Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, including the original Off-Broadway production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, which later transferred to Broadway. Yakim is the former head of the movement department at Yale Drama School and has worked at Stella Adler Conservatory and Circle in the Square. Yakim was a founding faculty member of the Juilliard Drama Division, where he has taught since 1968.
The film is produced by Alma Har'el, Boaz Yakin, and Kali Wilder, with Chastain, Mackie, Will Staeger, and Michael Antinoro serving as executive producers. Music is by Ryan "Bullet" Shields, and editing is by James Codoyannis, with additional editing by Matt O'Donnell. The world premiere was held at the 2018 DOC NYC film festival.