At MFI, we are so proud of our talented alumni. Here are some of their words on our program. Video created with love by MFI Students.

MFI has opened doors for many professional opportunities

I’ve guest starred on Switched at Birth, had a supporting role in an indie, shot two national commercials,  read in Tony’s film reading of Inappropriate Behavior and look forward to the release of my first film Wild for the Night. I’ve enjoyed growing friendships with past MFI alumni and continue to be super grateful for my experience at MFI. I credit all the work I’ve had since MFI to MFI.

FILMS: Embouchure, Jane and Jared

Caitlin McHugh


I was recently offered a role on HBO’s upcoming series WESTWORLD. I was humbled and blown beyond belief…It was after going to MFI in 2012 that I made the decision to move out to LA. Why? Because after being on set, be it as an actor, assistant AD, PA, or script supervisor, I realized that I, in fact, DO belong on set. And what MFI did was allow us, actors, to experience a holistic approach to how TV/Film is made. It’s not just about us, the actors – it’s a collaborative process. It made the being on set less stressful because I realized… everyone’s gotta be on their game – or the show cannot go on! In other words – an I developed a huge appreciation for the crew and what they do.. because I had to do it. And btw – Westworld is booking number 5 for me! Woo hooooooo.

FILMS: Hippocratic Oath, Dominoes

Myank Saxena


I think I’d like to come back given that since shooting with you guys and adding it to my reel I landed an Agent and a manager within a span of 2 months from each other, filmed a co-starring role for DIG on USA Networks and got a directors session call back for Mysteries of Laura. Not to mention other auditions for TV and Film.

FILMS: Whiskey Sour, False Negative, Turning Tables, Waiting for Daniel, Due, Interrogation, Last Swim, Drifting, Red and Dale, Loving and Loathing, Broken, Benefits

Ariel Eliaz


I now have the momentum to pursue acting full-time, and I have already been offered two small acting jobs that I would have had to turn down had I still been working for my airline. I absolutely treasure my past two summers at MFI and feel so fortunate have had such amazing experiences.  Thank you for creating such a magical environment. 

FILMS: Bad Morning, Reasonably Surprised, Birthday, Penumbra

Abra Sergerson


Thank you for the life-changing experience you guys gave me at MFI last summer.You gave me a home and one of the best opportunities I could have ever had.  This week, I am signing my first contract with an agency.  I wanted to let you know because MFI has played such an important part in my life.

FILMS: Played, Moving

Denzel Rodriguez


I booked my first ever studio feature film with Universal/Blumhouse, Ouija 2. I signed with an Authentic Talent and Literary Management. I’ve learned more about filmmaking/acting for film at MFI than any other place. I really feel like I know what I’m doing on set these days and MFI was a huge help in that. The entire faculty really was world class, the group of students were beyond talented, and I discovered a whole new love for filmmaking that I never knew I had an interest in. I am also totally inspired to try my hand at writing and creating my own work…something I never even considered before coming to MFI. To make a long story short, thank you. This experience was life changing and I am so honored to have been a part of this program. So indebted to you guys.

FILMS: Fun Times, Friends

Chelsea Gonzalez


Some say there’s a little bit of Magic at MFI

Imagine a place, a wonderful little place set in the idyllic grassy wonderlands of the Hamptons, where talented people of all shapes and sizes meet to make 23 top-notch short films; where a crack team of film production terminators works around the clock to provide you with locations/actors/miracles; where your classes take place in a three-story mansion; where big-shots like Chazz Palminteri and Joe Pantoliano and Tony Goldwyn and Michael Nouri drop in to share their incredible stories with us; imagine, if you may, an environment that emphasizes story and character, and long-lasting collaborations with undeniably awesome film people. What is this utopia, this sanctuary of creativity and compassion and joy? Is it heaven? NOPE. IT’S MANHATTAN FILM INSTITUTE. I’VE BEEN THERE. IT EXISTS. AND IT’S SO FREAKING AWESOME. 

FILMS: The Devil’s Timekeeper, Playtime with Mr. Chuckles

Robert Mai


I would love to come every year. Spending 2 weeks creating with you, Shannon, Lisa and whoever else is there is pretty much an artists dream.  To me, MFI is a magical bubble where for 2 weeks, we get to forget the outside world and create a little bit of magic ourselves. 

FILMS: Pillow Talk, The Honeymoon, Como What?

Angela Oh


Personally, it felt like a new world of people who shared my intensity and passion for creating. Everyone was there to work and learn, which fed my competitive nature. Aside from that, the information I gathered became stepping stones in my craft. I got new and practical knowledge on-camera acting technique as well as the courage to trust my instincts and unique sense of creativity.

FILMS: Kenzie, Credo Creatus, Family

Cameron August

Actor & Director

Just got home. And it all hit me at once. Everything that we just did. I swear that there were pure acts of magic performed back there. You’re all brilliant and talented and I hope to work + keep in touch with all of you. Thank you all for making that experience possible. Love Y’all crazy peeps. Peace out for now MFI. See you all in the big leagues!!

FILMS: Lexicon, Screwed, Where’s Willie?, Playtime with Mr. Chuckles, Not Alone

John McCabe


There are really no words to express my gratitude for everything that everyone did these past two weeks. With so many people with so much talent in one place, there was no way that this was going to be anything but phenomenal. Thank you all so much, and I’ll see you all next year.

FILMS: Checkmate, Precipice 

Oliver Orr


A kickstart for your studies and career

I can’t even begin to describe the gratitude I have for you two and MFI. I learned so much in those two weeks and gained so much confidence and guidance. The road getting there was not an easy one for me and leaving my babies behind was hard too. BUT every single second was worth it. This program you have created is truly a blessing, as I mentioned before it is hard for me to put the right words to the feeling of pure thanks, so I will just say THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart!

FILMS: Drained, Under the Veil, Guilt

Zee Thompkins


MFI has been crucial to my career. It not only gave me experience on a set and footage for my reel but in my second summer, I learned how to shoot and edit my own film. My project was accepted into several festivals including the Manhattan Film Festival. On my first professional TV gig I was able to look around and on a grander scale understand what was going on. I’ve made life long friends and colleagues at MFI and Tony, Bob, Wendy, and Shannon continue to be mentors and support in the world outside.

FILMS: Como What?, False Negative

Phoebe Dunn


I attended my first festival where Drained played at the Scout Film Festival and I had an amazing time there. I’ve been liking my first year at Syracuse a lot too! I’m definitely significantly ahead of the curve with all my experience from MFI in the entire process, from pre to post production. 

FILMS: Walk Home, Drained, Mother’s Day

Cole Maute


Thanks so much, I would never have the confidence to be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for MFI. I learned more in the first two weeks I spent with MFI than I did in my entire first year of film school and I feel so incredibly lucky to have discovered you guys.

FILMS: Red and Dale, Ladies Over Drinks

Sam Burbank


Manhattan Film Institute is life changing. I would go back every year if I could. At the institute, I’ve made forever friends and collaborators. My footage has gotten me in the door for casting office I had strived for years before to get into. I’ve learned how to be a better artist by crewing and working on a set. Do your career and life a favor, just go.

FILMS: Turning Tables, YES Vacancy, Timeline, Pizza Girl 

Stacy Weckstein


MFI is the most hands-on program out there.  Actors and directors both crew on an average of eleven sets during a filming week.  You will learn how to use lighting and sound equipment, how to be a first AD and camera assistant.  After two weeks you will have a basic understanding and respect of the different branches of filmmaking.  Another key component of MFI is the massive age gap.  Learning to communicate with people of all ages is a very important skill.

FILMS: Glass Houses, Lockdown, Track, Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Michael, Screwed, Thursday

GiGi Valone

Actor & Director

It sounds kind of cheesy, but MFI was one of those experiences that changed my life. One of the great parts about MFI is that not only do you learn so much and grow immensely as an actor or director, you learn how to work together and do all the different jobs on set. You learn how to boom, and AD and have a good relationship with everyone on set. MFI gives you the tools and experience to go into any job working on a film or TV set. I met so many amazing people at MFI that are now some of my best friends and honestly I have no idea what my life would be like if I hadn’t gone.

FILMS: Kenzi, Sinners, So Pretty, Moving On, Smack, Lipstick, Innapropriate Behavior, The Girl, Out of the Closet 

Nellie Spackman