Summer Camp Highlights

Hollywood meets Zuoz

Well-known actor, film director and comedian, Gian Franco Tordi teaches classes on the fundamentals of acting and shares pro tips from his experience as a Hollywood insider. Born in St. Moritz, this multi-talented artist's film credits include "Ocean's Twelve," "The Good German" and "Pocket Listing" and the lead in "Tesla the Superman." His TV roles include "General Hospital," "Monday Mornings" and "Different Spy." On stage, he was the lead in "Luigi," a union play in LA, for which he received a theatre award for outstanding comedy performance. We're absolutely thrilled that Gian Franco is coming back again this summer to lead our film and acting classes. And here's something that very few people know - before he studied acting at the New York Film Academy and UCLA, Gian Franco was a student at the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz. He graduated in 1991, but he's coming back again to direct all the action in our summer session of courses. Last year, he helped campers express their emotions to create some powerful film performances. This summer, by training with Gian Franco, it could be you who's the star on camera.

A different kind of education

In morning classes, you'll perfect your chosen language skills, in German, English or French. And in the afternoon, you'll learn drama, theatre and film arts, from a real pro.

But what keeps bringing a man like Gian Franco back from the Hollywood Hills to teach courses in the mountains in Zuoz, Switzerland? Here's a few words from a recent interview:

"Here in Zuoz, I learned to look at life as an international citizen, away from politics and religion, and to recognize the potential that we all have inside. The potential to bring real change to the world, to do good by working hard. And that's why I want to give back some of that spirit, by teaching kids here at the summer acting school. This comprehensive training programme will help young actors to not only develop their acting skills, but also to develop their passion, their expression and their emotions, which will be quite helpful for their professional and personal development in the future."

More than drama

There's more to film than just learning lines and standing in front of the camera. Acting is an art of the whole body and mind, built out of a variety of different elements. Our diverse summer training programme of classes will help campers develop the wide array of skills they'll need to succeed in life. The following subjects will be covered in depth during our film acting courses:

Daily acting warm-up exercises

Because acting is a full body/mind experience, students will learn a variety of healthy warm-up exercises in class. From yoga, stretching, relaxation and concentration techniques, to music and movement training, emotional expression and much more. It's all about controlling awareness, balance and energy, as well as getting the body relaxed and loose and ready to perform.

Stage Acting vs. Camera/Film Acting

Because it's important for every film actor to have a foundation of theatre techniques, the first phase of the workshop is focused on stage acting. In studio courses, students will study and perform several transitional exercises, which build toward film acting. In class, students will explore these two completely different ways of acting, with the focus on being prepared to step in front of a camera and shine.

The Art of the Audition

In this class, we'll prepare students for the all-important audition. Over the course of the workshop, each participant will be given the chance to prepare and audition for parts in camp. From the first day, students will learn to audition using the same standard international rules and procedures as in the industry. They'll be given the necessary skills and know-how to be able to audition anywhere with confidence.

Scene & Character Development

It's essential for every actor to know and understand the details about their character - and their scene - almost better than they know themselves. This course is built on discussion, theatre games and exercises, through which students in studio will learn the tools for a deeper understanding of their roles, and their environment, so they can create more moving performances.

Camera Positions and Acting Techniques

To look good on film, it's important to know how to work with cameras. Using practical exercises, we'll teach students in this course about the different camera positions and angles, so they can be more comfortable and effective on-camera actors.

Working with the Director

Working with a director on a professional film, theatre or TV set is about knowing the proper procedures to keep all the moving pieces running smoothly. In this class, we'll teach students how to find their way around a movie set, how to take direction, follow cues, and understand the director's systems and terminology. Without all the drama.

Marks and Eye-Lines

Just like in street traffic, marks and eye-lines on set are not to be ignored. They keep the camera in focus, the actor in frame, and the production on track. They're also key for delivering dialogue and taking direction. Students will master different techniques and exercises in this course, so they can handle marks and eye-lines like pros.

Choreography and Scene Blocking

In every scene, an actor's positioning and movement on screen are very important. As students prepare to perform - and film - their own scenes at the end of their camp session, they'll learn proper scene blocking and choreography techniques in this course as part of their rehearsal process in studio. This is a team effort and everyone needs to work together when the director shouts, "Action!"

Cold Read / Communication

A cold read is when actors first get together to read through a script to prepare for a performance. They start to explore their characters, through dialogue and interaction, and to understand their environment. This is how a scene starts and in this class, we'll work and communicate with all camp participants to help them awaken their talents and bring their characters to life.


On camera and in real life, improvisational training is a powerful skill for creativity. Using theatre exercises and games that help actors adapt and change to different situations, make strong character choices, and follow their instincts, we'll help them elevate their scene work to a whole different level. In this course, Students will learn to find their voice, improvise dialogue and express emotions with full commitment. The improvisation lessons they learn, like quick thinking, confidence in front of a crowd and trusting in their own talent, will help our students stand out on stage, in school, at work and in their personal lives.

Self-Expression and Confidence

Creative energy drives success. The ability to overcome self-doubt with confidence, and to express oneself without fear or judgement, are two of life's most important lessons. That's why the focus of our summer acting camp is helping students develop the essential art of self-confidence and self-expression, to unleash their creative potential. Whether they're in front of a camera, in school classes, in the theatre, or in their own personal life, nothing is as powerful or as fascinating as someone with character and conviction, who speaks from the heart.

Public Speaking and Presenting

Like acting, the art of public speaking is all about self-confidence and self-expression. Some of the same lessons that students learn as actors on stage, will help them as public speakers with a mic or behind a podium. Students will learn the essentials, like how to handle a mic, how to stand, where to look, how to move, and how to build drama. Through exercises and guided practice, each student will work on delivering a focused, exciting speech that can move the crowd. At the end of the course, they'll be well on their way to becoming engaging public speakers with their own voice.

Technical Aspects of Film Production

Unlike other courses, students will learn the hands-on skills, arts and techniques that go into making a film, by creating their own production. Not only as actors, but as directors and cinematographers. We'll teach students how to operate a camera, work with different camera angles, and master framing and composition. Not like in school, but in a real production. We'll also study lighting, rigging and camera movement as it pertains to actors in a scene. By learning all the aspects of how a film production comes together, students will have the know-how to make their own films.

A Little Fun is in Order

Our summer academy camp is a time to try new things and acquire new knowledge, and it's also a time to have some fun and make new friends with people who share the same passions. Whether you're on camera in our summer acting courses, or on board for our other exciting camp classes and activities, if you're having fun, you're doing it right.