Screen Actors Workshop

With Oleg Kheyfets at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony

Full Session: July 6 - 27th, 2012

Weekend Drop-in: July 14- 15th, 2012


Students will be housed at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in Woodstock, NY.  Just a two hour drive from New York City, Woodstock is the ideal location for an intensive actors training.  The Byrdcliffe Arts Colony sits on 250 rolling acres of wooded mountainside adjacent to the Catskills State Park. The colony boasts a rich history of hosting cutting edge artists including musician Bob Dylan, actor Helen Hayes, dancer Isadora Duncan, and entertainer Chevy Chase.  To learn more about the history of Byrdcliffe go to In addition, the program provides excursions to hikes in the Catskills, swimming in watering holes, and musical performances in Woodstock.



Oleg Kheyfets is a theatre director with twenty-five years of international experience directing over forty plays. Mr. Kheyfets began his career directing young audiences in his native Russia.  He has directed six productions for Russian TV, four of which received honors and awards. In the United States, he has worked off-Broadway directing Arthur Miller's The Creation of the World and Other Business, and in Miami as Co-Producing Artistic Director of the PlayGround Theatre.  Mr. Kheyfets has taught acting and directing in various institutions including Columbia University and Stella Adler Conservatory. HIs last feature film, El Perro del Hortelano, produced with Selva Rica won 5 international film festival awards, including Best Screenplay at the Latin American Film Festival in Rome, Italy.  This was an especially honorary award since Oleg directed all non-actors in this feature film based on improvisation.  Selva Rica founders Renzo Zanelli and Annika Beaulieu will facilitate the course providing all of the filming components.

Who Can Apply?

Space is limited!  If interested please contact us ASAP to insure your admission.

Anyone sincerely interested in acting, filmmaking, and fun is welcome!  Actors with experience in improv, comedy, filmmaking, or music are especially encouraged to apply.  The major criterion for acceptance is proof of serious commitment to one’s craft. Professional recognition is helpful for admission, but is not essential. You may also be able to receive University course credit for participating in the training.  Please contact us directly to inquire how.

Byrdcliffe and Selva Rica are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and disability. Byrdcliffe offers ADA compliant access to its main residency building and some studios.

How to Apply

Send the following materials via email to no later than June 15, 2012

Copy of your professional resume (PDF)

A headshot

Work samples: A link to a video of your work or an Mp3 with recorded performances is required.  Supporting photos are also helpful.

A short statement about why you are interested in participating in the Screen Actors Workshop.

All materials should be emailed to

*All artists will be asked to have a phone, in person, or skype interview prior to being admitted to the program.

Program Fees

Full Session: July 6 - 27th, 2012

$1800 includes instruction and accommodation at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony with a private room and shared facilities.

$800 includes instruction, no accommodation.

Weekend Drop-in: July 14- 15th, 2012

$350 includes 4 hours a day of instruction lead by a guest speaker.

Fellowships are available to offset all or part of the fee based on financial need. No one should be discouraged from applying on financial grounds.


For questions about the Screen Actors Workshop please email us at

or call at (347) 269-0669


Over the course of three weeks, participants will be immersed in an intensive workshop for screen actors. Actors will participate in trainings, theory, and rehearsal sessions working on scenes from European and American dramas while living in nature on a 250 acre wooded wilderness in the Catskills Mountains in upstate NY. Our actor-training is based on the techniques of Stanislavski, Michael Checkov, and Vakhtangov where participants will learn how to engage their skills for the camera.  We will take our inspiration from nature to create a professionally shot short film drawing on your training.  Participants will not only learn how to act for the camera, but will benefit from their immersion in this wooded paradise to develop a deeper appreciation for our environment.

Actors will attend six hours of class per day, five days per week.  They will also be expected to perform in the directing students’ projects. This course is meant to stretch conventional acting and filming techniques, allowing actors to contribute their own creativity to the narrative structure as seen through eye of the lens.  Students will learn how to respond to the unique demands of filmmaking, such as lighting, timing, and blocking for the camera while cultivating a collaborative body of work. By the end of the course, students will have a completed a professionally shot short film they can call their own.

Selva Rica offers workshop participants and artist residents access to the highest quality profession digital recording equipment available.  We want participants to learn how to be technically savvy as well as economical in designing their productions through the producing, editing, and distribution processes.  Click here to learn more about the technical support we offer.