LONDON, United Kingdom — Born and raised in La Paz, Reynaldo Pacheco is currently one of the most promising Bolivian actors in Hollywood. His most successful projects include, ‘Beginners’ (2010), a movie from Mike Mills featuring Academy Award Winner Christopher Plummer; ‘Without Men’ (2011) featuring Eva Longoria and Christian Slater; and ‘The Man who shook the hand of Vicente Fernandez’ (2012) with the legendary Ernest Borgnine, who won the Oscar in 1950 and Carla Ortiz, another successful Bolivian actress. “I have also worked on TV series and commercials but my major passion is theatre”, comments Reynaldo.
And it is precisely this passion and dedication to theatre that has culminated in Reynaldo’s latest endeavour, the Hollywood Academy of Performing Arts, (HAPA) – its first destination, Bolivia.
Hollywood Academy of Performing Arts: First Destination Bolivia
Reynaldo, tell us about the initiative HAPA and how this project started in Bolivia?
HAPA is the first acting school without frontiers that uses the most advance practical acting techniques which prepares students for a professional environment through personalised work with Hollywood actors. Our main goal is to be a network of artists and professionals forging partnerships with prestigious institutions that share a desire to turn the science of acting in an accessible knowledge across the globe.
The first spark for HAPA was to create a competitive acting programme that had no borders and could arrive to countries like Bolivia and to smaller towns. We wanted to bring HAPA to Bolivia because it is the heart of South America and my home country.
We decided to partner with the University of La Salle in La Paz, one of the most respected institutions throughout Latin America to offer the HAPA students a good learning environment where they can excel in a two years programme.
With HAPA I have the opportunity to give back the knowledge and experience that I achieved throughout my living experience in Paris, London, Mexico, Ecuador and the United States and my formal education obtaining a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California (USC). Being exposed to different cultures and types of drama, I realised there was a need to develop educational programmes in theatre that would give a rounder education to those future performers that do not have the right opportunities at their doorstep.
We started in La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz with 100 students three months ago and now we will go to smaller cities like Oruro and Tarija. Next year we will be expanding to Peru and Chile. The goal is to establish a presence in different cities around the world and create a network of working and professional actors that can exchange ideas and projects internationally.
Describe HAPA’s curriculum and approach to students
The courses are designed to be taught in-situ through facilitators in Bolivia who receive the material directly from actors and professionals based in Los Angeles. The method is a mixture of all the methods: Meisner, Stanislavski, Linklater, Comedian acting, clowning, classical text, modern text and writing your own material, providing students with a deep understanding of the actor’s craft. The facilitators work is complimented by working actors in Hollywood – people that are actually applying the techniques in Los Angeles.
HAPA brings on-board an excellent staff who hold Masters of Fine Arts from USC and Harvard. Since they are working actors constantly on the road, we decided to incorporate media tools such as Skype and other media channels to conduct a long distance learning experience between actors and students. Among our faculty members we have Miriam Glover who has worked with Quentin Tarantino in the movie Django Unchained, Chastity Dotson and David Zurak, former lead dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, to mention a few.
One of the major achievements of HAPA is the access that it has given to its students to take part in auditions with major casting directors in Los Angeles for projects at ABC. We currently offer some scholarships to students with economic constraints, but my dream is for HAPA to be able to increase financial help and obtain grants to support the most talented.
Could you tell us what it takes to be a successful actor?
To be a successful actor you really need to know yourself, accept who you are and develop a passion for what you are doing because it is not about the results but the process you go through. In terms of an actor’s craft you really have to be very understanding of people that make you uncomfortable and try to see their perspective without judging it – a hard task to perform.
We are in a new globalised world where the internet and social media have defused across borders. These advances in digital technology are giving us the opportunity to tell our stories and express who we are to the whole world. We have no limitations and we can reach millions of people with a click – that is exciting and powerful. We are very excited and proud of this project as HAPA has become the first Acting School that has no borders!