Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy–Docu about Legendary Juliard Acting Teacher

Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy highlights the legacy of Moni Yakim, an acting teacher whose techniques have influenced many known actors in the world. 

Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Patti LuPone, Oscar Isaac and Alex Sharp are but a few of the extraordinary actors who have studied under Moni Yakim at Juilliard, America’s performing arts school.

Using verite coverage, archival footage, and mime, the film portrays Moni’s journey as a young artist from Jerusalem to France in the 1950’s where he studied with the fathers of Mime, Marcel Marceau and Etienne Decroux. Discovered by Stella Adler, he became one of the founders of the Julliard Drama Division and the only one there 50 years later.

With interviews with Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie and Kevin Kline, this portrait of the master teacher, the sole remaining founder of the school’s legendary Drama Division, takes us inside the drama classes where Moni and his wife Mina pour love and passion into preparing the next generation of actors for the spotlight.  

The film also explores the experience of actors training at Juilliard, where an emerging star named Alex Sharp is followed from his very first year in Moni’s class to landing a leading role in Tony Award Winning Broadway show.