Jack Garfein at the BFI | Director of the Method Generation

Posted on 10 November 2014


As if the BFI “Birth of the Method” screenings throughout October and November weren’t enough of a treat for anyone interested in method acting, they have more in store for us at the end of the month! On 27th November, gifted veteran director of the method generation, Jack Garfein, will be in person and in conversation at the BFI Southbank.

Reflecting on a life in a concentration camp, training as an actor at Lee Strasberg’s Actor’s Studio and working with Hollywood legends like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, Czech-born Garfein will talk in detail to film archivist, author, historian and programmer Clyde Jeavons about the Method and the legendary talent it created.


Who is Jack Garfein?


 “Holocaust films? Pah! They’re awful. They always show the horror, not the human element.”

Jack Garfein

Such is Jack Garfein’s commitment to exploring the emotions and motivations of character in his work as a director of the method.

Jack Garfein was born in the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia in 1931. At 13, he was sent with his family to Auschwitz.   As the only survivor of his family, he travelled to New York shortly after the war and began his life in drama. Despite knowing no English, and with fees paid for by the United Jewish Appeal, he studied at Lee Strasberg’s Actor’s Studio, the breeding ground for the “Italian street actors” Brando, Newman and Pacino.

In 1951, he joined Elia Kazan’s recently-formed Actors Studio as a director, and made his Broadway debut in 1953 with End as a Man. He made two acclaimed films soon after – The Strange One and Something Wild – and launched the careers of actors such as Ben Gazzara and Carroll Baker (whom he later married).

Garfein was no stranger to the stars of the Method. He was on first name terms with Hollywood legends Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, and produced two Arthur Miller plays.


I had a wonderful relationship with him [Arthur Miller]. We spent a lot of time talking about divorces

Jack Garfein



Showing no signs of abandoning the craft to which he dedicated his fortunate life, Garfein still teaches acting in New York and Paris at the ripe old age of 84.


How Do I Attend?


Jack Garfein joins the BFI in person on Thursday 27th November at the BFI Southbank at 6.20pm. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Get in quick, we think this will be a very popular one! Go along and hear tales of life in a concentration camp, a voyage to a new life, and training and working with some of Hollywood’s greatest actors, producers and directors, as well as insights and advice on method acting, and what it take to make it in this industry.

Would you like to follow in Jack Garfein’s footsteps and train in the Method? We are the UK’s leading method acting school, and offer a range of courses to suit all needs, budgets and time commitments.

Please get in touch!


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