Gary Miller, October 25th, 2014
Yana Milanberg is a talented actress from Russia that is making her presence known here in the United States. Since her arrival in New York, Yana has appeared on the stage, in film and television. I first met Yana at the film premiere of the gangster musical comedy called Larry Ravioli. In this film, she portrayed the sexy villain Jane. After one year in the American entertainment business, Yana shares her thoughts with me.
Gary Miller (GM): Yana, how did you decide to come to America,
and how hard is it for a foreigner to break into
show business here?
Yana Milanberg (YM): Devotion to performing in the international
entertainment industry has always been my artistic aspiration.
The American film industry is unique in that. Another reason is
that the artists’ stimulation and community of New York,
opened me up to exploration of ideas and techniques that
I never would be able to portray in any other place.
The other factor is the community of actors and artists that thrive
and support the ever changing stages of a professional actor.
Without this ability to be fluid and introspective, it is almost
impossible to be successful. My experiences for success have been centered on language and culture, in the sense that I want to avoid being typecast as an European/Russian persona. For me this would be a great beginning.
GM: Do you sometimes feel typecast, and what have you done to push beyond that?
YM: Typecast for me is not a burden, but more of a vehicle to pursue my objectives and gain the experiences necessary to realize my full acting potential. However I refuse to be limited and I am very selective of the roles and film projects that will come my way. Furthermore, I developed a repertoire of diverse characters from the Aristocratic Debutante to the Artistic Muse, and I have zero limitations to perform any roles selected by me.
GM: What parts/roles have you played, and what
have been your favorites?
YM: After reviewing my resume, one would see
that my range for acting has been wide spread.
I have played a peasant Abbie possessed by
the Devil in Acedia (feature), Cecilia, a Polish
mail order bride in Black & White (feature), Yaya,
a drug addict street girl in Redemption 101(short),
even a manipulative bossy Goddess
in Larry Ravioli (sitcom comedy), also a cross-dressing
cowboy Abigail in Women of the Wild West (play),
a diabolical seductress Lilith from Goat (play),
and Ellie, a French professor of Arts, lesbian,
from Periodic Maintenance (play).
As my experience notes I am open minded
and excited about all my future parts.
GM: What are your tips for going on auditions?
YM: As an actress who has been on many auditions, I have learned
to adapt to the role or roles that I have read for. My preparation is
always very stringent, follow the basic rules of auditions.
At the same time I master the character by language coaching,
memorizing and adapting dialog to my natural self. By recording
myself constantly and creating perfection I then feel prepared
professionally to enhance my character for the production team.
GM: Do you have a mentor?
YM: I have had many mentors over the years but i have learned that my greatest mentor is in my heart. To become a romantic artist with visions of manifesting my ideas into reality, I will gracefully create a kingdom of incubating my dreams.
GM: Where do you find inspiration to keep on creating?
YM: I find inspiration through profound theatrical and cinematic professionals. I am never attached to a specific character - I am never influenced by aparticular "role"- I simply repossess my body- like an angelic communion - with the mood and flavor of my character. Actors who are in touch with this sort of ecstasy find themselves feeling like a burning flame. These type of expressions radiate an audience. Inside me I have not just powers of fire, I have the creative powers of water. This mixture always brings fulfillment and passion. That’s more than enough.
"Introducing Actress Yana Milanberg", interview with Gary Miller
Gary Miller: (GM) What’s the brightest event you visited in New York
Yana Milanberg: (YM) Fortunately, I was working at Tribeca Film Festival
collecting interviews with famous celebrities. This was one of the brightest events for me. I managed to interview over 15 celebrities, including Evander Holyfield, Susan Sarandon, Sophia Loren, Sasha Alexander, Edoardo Ponti, America Ferrera, James Moll, Shep Gordon and others. I attended numerous red carpets as an interviewer and had a chance to talk with the people whose work I followed. Festivals are reflection of the contemporary state of film today and offer a view into the soul of the industry and these help to keep me in touch with the reality of the times we live in.
Now I am just back from Hamptons International Film Festival. The movies
I watched this fall were brilliant in every aspect of cinematography, including
the power of script, of course.
Clouds of Sils Maria (dir. Olivier Assayas), Force Majeure (dir. Ruben Östlund),
the Homesman (dir. Tommy Lee Jones), 2 days, 1 night (dir. Dardenne brothers)
are my taste. Short films presented by New York Women in Film and Television
were strong and overwhelming as well. I really enjoyed the portrayal of femininity. The image of women in these films was complete, natural and developed. Women know that they are in charge for their future, they are free to reveal their fears and feelings of love and self-esteem, they are not standard figures of good or evil but surprisingly refined, complex and skilled.
Alleluia, a 2014 Belgian-French drama directed by Fabrice du Welz, was my favorite this year. Laurent Ducas and Lola Dueñas showed extreme performance. That’s what I call “Super Femme Fatale”.
GM: What was it about that female part that intrigued you so much?
YM: In my opinion, her acting was a form of spiritual transcendence. In general, the sophisticated actor is like the Shaman who dives into characters' depths to reveal the gems or demons of the personality. Spiritual healing, i may say. And this healing takes place on three levels: The first level heals the actor through the catharsis of entering the realms of the unknown psyche; The second level acts as a healing balm
for one's fellow actors - revealing the mystery of life and the third level heals the audience though acting out the fantasies, joys, fears and sorrows, or shocking psychotic drama that few would dare to partake in,
in their own lives.
GM: When did your career start in the entertainment industry?
YM: I started working as a TV host on MTV channel in my native city of Tula, Russia in 2003. I was just a highly inspired girl, but my enthusiasm made me believe that I was born to live in that new world of magic. Several years later I changed direction from TV to Fashion and Portrait Photography. Then finally my ambition turned to Film and Theatre, which is now my life.
Now i can say I am the medium and the stage is the surface of my composition - my body can exude colorful vibrations if called for. Alternatively, I can be monochromatic and simple in presentation as necessary to make my role believable.
GM: How do you become a film artist these days?
YM: First of all, in my opinion, you need to be deeply in touch with all your senses and your training. For example, at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute most of the technical was focused on introspection
and discovery of being your self in given circumstances. This in and of itself
is a major milestone for modern actors. To be successful one must balance the personal reality with the imagination of the director, writers and producers and in tern film artists should be flexible. Whether they are working on an indie project or they are in the multi-million-dollar production. In order to entertain a mass audience, or they are independent and create their own artistic lifestyle project, to worship.
Moreover, it’s all about details. If you know how to observe micro, macro elements in the universe, you may act with the desire to heal through loving and revealing the essence of the Truth that existence and the mysteries of existence rarely reveal.
Most of all, avoidance of any face of vulgarity is a golden rule.
When I place the mask of a particular character upon me, my goal is to attain
the character's very essence. I always strive to reach a point of non - duality,
a sacred place within myself in where I am a conduit of my characters very being.
A perfect place - where truth is revealed and "acting" does not play a part. In a very
literal sense I am an actress attempting constantly to reach the point where
all "acting" dissolves into the magical moment of being - of absorbing and
understanding the atmosphere I am surrounded by. A place where the air,
other players and the mood of my surroundings all conspire to reveal the truth
of the human condition in whatever form it seems to manifest - dictated by
the piece and the art that I am associated with.
GM: What was the last project you were in that you watched on the big screen?
YM: It was a social Issue Drama, Redemption 101, directed by Sebastian Rothwyn, produced by Crimson Hill Entertainment, LLC .
I traveled to Washinghton D.C. where the private premiere night was organized. It’s always excited to come to the first screening, never know, what the final image and form of my work I will observe. This project was about young generation of women who struggle to overcome a drug addiction.
GM: Were you were impressed with your heroine on the screen?
YM: Yes, I loved that part. I played an addict girl, YaYa, a girl with
platinum blonde hair, very overbearing and stubborn, always does
what she wants. Brave, extremely energetic, ambitious, inclined to act on impulse, but able to control her emotions. She rarely ask for help from those who are near, she believes that everyone has to cope with their problems and ask for help in exceptional cases. In this case the exception was she became an addict and a victim of the modern world, where “programmed shopaholics” feel free to buy everything they need.
After becoming a member of AA group, she finally found herself and her way to explore her feminine side that is still white, magical and more pure than the powder she used.
GM: What has been your most unforgettable role, so far?
YM: Every female I played is unforgettable and always in trouble ( laughing). And it’s eternal. We live - we have a conflict. In my characters’ lives I use the conflict power for healing purposes. How acting masters say: “Make it personal, then solve the problem” and, that personality usually wins. No matter how peaceful or aggressive the path I choose to juggle these bubbles in the air, just acceptance and forgiveness of ourselves, truly helps to resolve the problems of these roles. We all need – enlightenment – in the end.
On The Red Carpet at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival with Yana Milanberg
Gary Miller, October 30th, 2014