Veterans
Category

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking & Photography Alum Paquita Hughes Works on Hulu’s ‘Little Fires Everywhere’

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    Paquita Hughes, Navy veteran and alum of New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking and Photography schools, has added Little Fires Everywhere to her growing list of Hollywood credits. 

    Little Fires Everywhere, which debuted on Hulu on March 18, stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, who both also served as executive producers on the dramatic miniseries. The show is adapted from the 2017 novel of the same name by Celeste Ng and tells the story of two mothers from diametric socioeconomic backgrounds in Shaker Heights, Ohio during the 1990s.

    little fires everywhere
    Hughes is a
    veteran of the United States Navy and first attended NYFA’s 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory in July 2011 at our Burbank-based campus in Los Angeles. After completing the program, she then enrolled in the 1-Year Photography conservatory. Her thesis project was a pilot for the dramedy web series Sugar, which dealt with the sex industry and included strongly written, complicated female protagonists.

    Since filming Sugar and graduating, Hughes has been very busy working in Hollywood working in various positions, including as location manager on hit productions like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Marvel’s Runaways. Additionally, Hughes is working as location manager on the new period-set reboot of Perry Mason, starring NYFA Guest Speaker Matthew Rhys.

    “I had an epiphany when I was in the Navy,” Hughes says in a NYFA video spotlighting her success as an alumni, “and I thought to myself if I could succeed at serving my country during a time of war, I could succeed at following my dreams attending film school, so I decided to get out and study film.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking and Photography alum Paquita Hughes on her prolific work on Hollywood productions and encourages everyone to watch Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu!

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  • Colonel Jack Jacobs Announces BFA Programs for Veterans at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    In a broadcast studio at the New York campus of New York Film Academy (NYFA) last week, Colonel Jack Jacobs joined NYFA’s President, Michael J. Young, and Myrta Vida, a recent graduate of NYFA’s Screenwriting program, to film a very special announcement to the veteran and military communities. Together, Colonel Jacobs, Mr. Young, and Ms. Vida announced that the NYFA’s New York City campus recently joined the NYFA’s Los Angeles and South Beach, Miami campuses in offering Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Filmmaking and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Acting for Film.

    (from L to R): Colonel Jack Jacobs, NYFA President Michael J. Young, NYFA Alum Myrta Vida

    Veterans may now use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to study in these BFA degree programs at the NYFA-NY campus located off Battery Park in the historic and vibrant downtown Financial District of New York City.

    In many cases, veterans and their eligible dependents looking to use the Post-911 GI Bill may have their tuition and fees covered in full by the Yellow Ribbon Program.

    In addition to NYFA’s bachelor’s degree programs, veterans may also apply their GI Bill Benefits to the college’s 1-Year and 2-Year Conservatory Programs and graduate degree programs in 10 distinct areas of visual and performing arts study.

    In the public announcement video, which will be released in coming weeks, Mr. Young states, “Veterans who have the passion and commitment to become creative professionals excel in our many degree and certificate programs, which all share a philosophy of hands-on intensive learning.”

    The video features Colonel Jacobs, Chair of NYFA’s Veteran Advancement Program.  Col. Jacobs is a is an Army veteran who received the nation’s highest military honor—the Congressional Medal of Honor—for his exceptional acts of bravery during the Vietnam War; he is one of only 71 living Medal of Honor recipients. Col. Jacobs is also a media personality who can be seen regularly on NBC and MSNBC, and is often on shows including Morning Joe, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow, and Bill Maher.

    US Military Servicemembers and their dependents can visit www.nyfa.edu/veterans to learn more about our programs. For questions and to apply, please contact veteran@nyfa.edu or call Christopher Paparis at (212) 966-3488.

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    December 19, 2019 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Veterans • Views: 1245

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Veteran-Students Come Together for Veterans Day

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    On this year’s Veterans Day, New York Film Academy (NYFA) celebrated veterans of the US Military throughout the country at its New York City, Los Angeles, and South Beach, Miami campuses. 

    Veteran-students at NYFA’s New York Campus got together for a meet-up in between classes and shared stories about their times in service, enjoyed lunch together, and chatted about the current projects they are involved in with their programs. Additionally, the NYFA Student Veteran Organization and Division of Veteran Services (DVS) in Los Angeles collaborated by hosting a night of bowling for veteran-students and military dependents. 

    veterans day 2019

    Some Veteran-Students of NYFA’s Acting for Film & Filmmaking conservatories coming together for a Veterans Day meet & greet event at the NYC Campus

    Rahimah A. Powell, a Marine Corps veteran and Acting for Film student at the New York Campus said at the Veterans Day get-together: “I’ve been interested in film for years and after serving in the military I was able to pursue it using my GI Bill. This particular field of work requires discipline and I think that serving has set me up for success in that aspect.”

    Colonel Jack Jacobs (US Army Ret.), a Medal of Honor Recipient, is the Chair of NYFA’s Veteran Advancement Program and an advocate for veterans in the performing arts, and also recognizes the great wealth of experience and talent that veteran-students bring to its campus each year.

    New York Film Academy has been privileged to enroll more than 2000 veteran-students and dependents from conservatory and degree programs that include courses of study in arts as diverse as Cinematography and 3D Animation, as well as Game Design and Screenwriting, as well as short-term programs in these same disciplines, and others.

    Veterans are able to use GI Bill benefits for New York Film Academy’s Conservatory and Degree granting programs at the Los Angeles, New York and South, Beach campuses.

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    November 15, 2019 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 1106

  • Lionsgate Talent Acquisition Speaks with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Military Veteran-Students

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    The Lionsgate Talent Acquisition team gave a special presentation to New York Film Academy (NYFA) military veteran-students and veteran-student alumni on June 19, 2019 at the NYFA Theater at our Los Angeles Campus in Burbank. 

    Vice President of Talent Acquisition, Anita Noe, and Senior Recruiter, Hugo Vergara, were on hand to discuss employment and internship opportunities to NYFA veteran-students. The presentation opened with a company overview and then segued into the company’s structure, operations, vision for the future, and—most importantly—how to effectively apply for internships and employment with Lionsgate. Having many subsidiaries, including Starz Inc. and Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate also assists in their staffing as well. 

    Veteran-students were highly engaged in the presentation, posed many questions, and came away with a wonderful insight into the company. 

    “Hearing what Lionsgate had to say was both motivating and very informative. They provided a lot of information on resumes and effective job searching that I will take with me post-graduation. Lionsgate would be a wonderful company to be a part of and I will be exploring the opportunities that they have in the very near future,” said Elcor Aragundi, US Army veteran and NYFA BFA Filmmaking Student.

    lionsgate
    Based out of Santa Monica, Lionsgate is one of the industry’s leading production companies and distributors. Along with The Hunger Games and John Wick franchises, they are responsible for popular titles such as Uncle Drew, The Big Stick, La La Land and Sicario, among many other current movies and television Shows.

    The New York Film Academy Department of Veteran Services would like to sincerely thank Anita and Hugo—and the rest of the Lionsgate team—for their time and generosity.  

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    July 2, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Veterans • Views: 1068

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Partners with Raritan High School for the Veterans Portrait Project

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) recently partnered with Raritan High School in Hazlet, New Jersey for the Veterans Portrait Project (VVP), a nonprofit organization and ongoing photography project that honors the women and men who have served their country in the armed forces.

    NYFA Photography instructor John Tona guided digital photography students at the high school as they captured portraits of over a dozen veterans from across New Jersey, as well as any of the students’ family members from across the US who have served.

    Veterans Portrait Project VPP Raritan HS
    On set was Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor Recipient and Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program, who greeted the student photographers and veteran subjects, as well as joining them for a portrait. Each veteran participated in an individual portrait session.

    Additionally, the participating veterans and Colonel Jacobs were interviewed by AP Language students who used the statements to compose a tribute to commemorate their service. Both the portraits and written tributes were showcased in a dedicated exhibit at the school on Memorial Day. 

    “There are few Americans with experiences as diverse, startling, and life-altering as our military veterans,” said Jacobs. “The Veterans Portrait Project brings these experiences into emotionally-laden view, and in the process, the Project captures the creative skill of those who have served us. The New York Film Academy is proud to be a part of this spectacular effort.” 

    “It was an amazing experience,” remarked Tona, who worked closely with the students and their veteran subjects. “It’s always great to work with young students, eager to learn photography. What I think made this even more special was our subjects. Meeting with and hearing some of the stories from the veterans and their families from all major conflicts going back to World War II was a unique experience—not only did the students of Raritan High School receive photography lessons, but it was a lesson in our nation’s history as well. I am glad I could be a part of it.”

    Also in attendance during the event were Hazlet Mayor Scott Aagre, Raritan High School Principal Dr. Andrew Piotrowski, and Monmouth County Freeholder Sue Kiley.

    The Veterans Portrait Project was launched by Stacy Pearsall, a decorated combat photographer who has completed three tours in Iraq and photographed approximately 6,000 US veterans. The project provides photography students with an opportunity to advance their studio lighting and portrait photography skills, while also giving them the chance to thank America’s heroes through their art.

    “The Raritan High School Veterans Portrait Project’s purpose is to provide students the opportunity and privilege of interacting with local military veterans while advancing their interviewing, writing, and portrait photography skills,” declared Teresa Gennarelli, Fine Arts Educator at Raritan High School. “The event fosters a knowledge of—and a respect for—the sacrifices our veterans have made for all of us, and bestows a small honor on our heroes.”

    New York Film Academy and Chair of the NYFA Veteran Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs thanks the students, faculty, and staff of Raritan High School and Ms. Stacy Pearsall for including NYFA in this impactful activity and for their dedication to those who have served in this nation’s military.

    Check out some of the student portrait work below:

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    June 18, 2019 • Photography, Veterans • Views: 1358

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Division of Veteran Services Hosts Screening of Netflix’s ‘Medal of Honor’

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    A special screening of Netflix’s hit series, Medal of Honor, was held at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Theater in New York City last week, hosted by NYFA’S Division of Veteran Services (DVS). 

    Medal of Honor

    Commissioner Loree Sutton MD (Brigadier General Ret.) of New York City’s Department of Veteran Services and Medal of Honor recipient Col. Jack Jacobs (Ret.) participated in an unfeigned discussion with attendees after the screening of Episode 8, which featured the heroic story of Staff Sergeant Ty Cater, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama in 2013 for his heroic actions in Afghanistan.

    Reflecting on the Medal of Honor experience from a personal perspective, Colonel Jack Jacobs, who has been the Chair of New York Film Academy’s Veteran Advancement Program since 2014, and is also an on-air Military Analyst at MSNBC/NBC news, answered questions from the audience along side the Commissioner Sutton.

    Jack Jacobs

    NYFA Acting for Film alum Tyler Williams, who portrays Ty Carter in the episode, not only conveyed the authentic challenges service members face in their transition back from combat, but will be screening the episode with veteran students at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus on February 11.

    “A successful transition home is important not only to veterans, but the families and communities they return to,” asserted Commissioner Sutton, an Army psychiatrist and a fierce advocate in New York City for services that protect and empower returning service members. 

    Medal of Honor

    Attendees engaged openly with the Commissioner Sutton and Colonel Jacobs in a series of questions that ranged from the philosophical (“Do you think that Plato was right when he stated that only the dead have seen the end of war?”) to the pragmatic (“How do vets leverage the skills they learned in the military if they want to work in film and television?”)

    Both speakers believe the arts offered great opportunities for healing. Army veteran Justin Ford, a NYFA Filmmaking & Producing conservatory grad, enthusiastically stated, “It was a really great opportunity to hear Commissioner Sutton’s and Colonel Jacobs’ thoughts about the Medal of Honor, war, and returning home from the defining moment of many young veteran’s life—combat.”

    Medal of Honor
    Col. Jack Jacobs and Commissioner Sutton exchange military challenge coins in a warm and touching moment

    The Netflix screening and special quest speakers made for a very moving and emotional evening, which was made all the more special by a touching and warm exchange of military challenge coins that passed reciprocally between Colonel Jacobs and Commissioner Sutton at the event’s conclusion. 

    New York Film Academy students can attend another screening of Medal of Honor at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus on February 11, with special guest Tyler Williams — you can RSVP for the event here.

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    February 4, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Veterans • Views: 1268

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Sam McKnight Shoots Hype Hair Cover

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailSam McKnight, alum of both the AFA Filmmaking and 1-Year Photography conservatory at New York Film Academy (NYFA), recently had his work featured on the cover of Hype Hair magazine, where he shot multiple Grammy Award-nominated artist Marsha Ambrosius.

    Sam McKnight

    McKnight is a self-described military brat who served in the United States Army for six years, after being medically retired due to a leg injury. “I believe the Military really teaches core values of life,” McKnight tells NYFA. “I learned how to be disciplined, and how to have a great work ethic. The military is culturally diverse so I was able to learn how to interact with different groups of people.”

    These skills came in handy when McKnight first attended the AFA in Filmmaking program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. His original passion was in music, and early on McKnight found himself visualizing ideas and images to put to the music his father was always listening to while they traveled together.

    McKnight soon found himself engrossed in still photography as well as filmmaking. “I learned in Filmmaking that lighting is the key for everything,” says McKnight. “After getting a grasp on film, I really wanted to understand the composition of photography. Learning the subject in front of me and what was behind that subject was appealing.”

    Sam McKnight

    McKnight has found success in both photography and filmmaking, and found that the diversity he encountered in the Armed Forces also existed in the art world. “I learned teamwork is the key. Never give up and find other strategies to get the job done. NYFA really gave me foundation about what the film industry is and how it works. Being on a culturally diverse campus is a great help in learning how to interact and work with different people.”

    The NYFA community is not only diverse but alumni often find themselves brought together by their work. The music videos McKnight found himself involved with were overseen by none other Akila Robinson, who attended the 12-Week Evening Digital Filmmaking workshop at NYFA’s New York campus in 2010.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking and Photography alum Sam McKnight on his Hype Hair cover and looks forward to his continued success in both mediums!Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 30, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Veterans • Views: 576

  • Colonel Jack Jacobs Holds Lecture for New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Veteran-Students

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailOn November 15, 2018 New York Film Academy Los Angeles veteran-students gathered in the NYFA Theater, for a special lecture from Medal of Honor Recipient and appointed Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs.

    Colonel Jacobs served in the U.S. Military for more than 20 years and his gallantry in Vietnam earned him the Medal of Honor—the nation’s highest combat honor—as well as two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. Colonel Jacobs is a military strategist and on-air analyst for NBC and MSNBC News.

    Colonel Jacobs’ mission at NYFA is to support the Academy’s veteran-students’ transition from the military to exciting careers in media and entertainment.

    The evening began with a screening of the documentary about Colonel Jacobs that recounted the events that took place during the Vietnam War and Colonel Jacobs’ dauntless actions that later earned him the Medal of Honor.

    Honorable Col. Jack Jacobs (MoH Recipient) with NYFA veteran-students.

    During the talk, Colonel Jacobs discussed his personal experience in transitioning from the military to civilian life and offered his advice to the veterans in attendance. The Colonel’s personal experiences, his inspiration, and at times his wit, touched several pungent topics. He emphasized his belief that the military is the only place that will give an 18-year-old man or woman a large amount of responsibility and this prepares them – more than most 18-year old who have not served – for nearly any career and circumstance. “An employer who hires a veteran, gains a huge benefit due to the work ethic and skills that they learned and honed while serving our great Country” stated Jacobs. He spoke on how veterans should walk into a job interview confident that with their military background, they know both how to follow and how to lead.

    The evening concluded with Colonel Jacobs taking photos and talking with the NYFA veteran-students as well as other vets in attendance from Veterans in Media & Entertainment (VME), and the Veterans Affairs (VA).

    It was truly a great experience and very inspirational evening for everyone in attendance.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 6, 2018 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers, Veterans • Views: 1326

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Collaborates with Hire Heroes USA

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy (NYFA) Department of Veteran Services (DVS) had the pleasure of once again partnering with Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA) to host a daylong exclusive employment workshop for NYFA’s veteran students. NYFA veteran-students and veteran-alums participated in the event as well as a select group of members from Veterans in Media & Entertainment (VME).

    Hire Heroes USA is a registered nonprofit that provides free career coaching and job sourcing to those transitioning out of the US military; the organization assists veterans and spouses with finding employment as well as providing career counseling and job sourcing. 

    The critical elements of the workshop focused on a practicum in resume formatting, networking tactics, and how to fully prepare for an interview. Jamie Rimphanli and Amy Dodson, representatives from Hire Heroes USA, led the workshop and shared valuable insight on navigating the job search process.

    Hire Heroes USA

    Jamie Rimphanli (second from left) and Amy Dodson (far right) meet with veterans from the employment workshop.

    Additionally, industry professionals joined the event during the day for a moderated Q&A session. Panelists represented Mattel Industries, Warner Brothers, Paramount Studios, Legendary Entertainment, and other top entertainment companies. These experts discussed how they got their start in the industry and provided advice to the attendees on kickstarting their careers.

    Following the panel, the veterans had the opportunity to network with the industry professionals and the informative day concluded at a local restaurant for a mixer that provided a more intimate setting in which to build contacts.

    Of the event, US Navy Veteran and NYFA BFA Producing student Jonathan Garza remarked, “The Hire Heroes Workshop gave me a lot of valuable information that I will take into the job search once I finish my degree. This is a wonderful organization that all veterans looking to get into the workforce should utilize.

    New York Film Academy has been privileged to enroll more than 1500 veteran students and military dependents at our campuses since 2009. In addition to educating veterans with hands-on, intensive programs using state-of-the-art equipment, NYFA’s Division of Veterans Services (DVS), led by NYFA Chair of Veterans Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs, has been able to bring unique opportunities to its veterans students while supporting the veteran community.

    The NYFA Department of Veteran Services is extremely grateful to Hire Heroes USA for providing this wonderful opportunity provided to NYFA veteran-students and looks forward to future collaborations! Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 7, 2018 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 1330

  • New York Film Academy Division of Veterans Services Welcomes Casting Director Robert McGee, C.S.A as Guest Speaker

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy (NYFA) College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Division of Veterans Services (DVS) recently welcomed NYFA’s veteran students and alumni, together with members of Veterans in Media & Entertainment (VME), to a screening of the hit animated series Rick and Morty. Following the screening, the audience was treated to a Q&A with casting director extraordinaire, Robert McGee, C.S.A.

    The event was part of the NYFA DVS series of events that includes guest speakers, film screenings, master classes, workshops, and employment trainings — all of which promote industry engagement for NYFA’s veteran students, as well as the wider veteran communities, in Los Angeles, New York City, and South Beach (Miami).

    In addition to Rick and Morty, McGee has cast such hit shows as The Cleveland Show and Wizards of Waverly Place, as well as successful films such as The Virgin Suicides and World’s Greatest Dad, which starred Robin Williams. McGee is currently casting the newest rendition of The Adams Family, which stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Oscar Isaac, Nick Kroll, and Academy Award-winner Charlize Theron.

    With over 20 years of experience in the casting business in both live action and animation, McGee enjoyed sharing valuable insight on the casting process for both live action and voice over work. McGee is very passionate about the casting business and enjoys meeting actors.

    “The Q&A with Mr. McGee was very insightful,” said NYFA BFA Producing student and U.S. Navy veteran Jonathan Garza. “As a Producing student it was very informative, learning the complexities of what a casting director goes through and how intricate the casting process is.”

    The New York Film Academy thanks Robert McGee for his generosity and willingness to help veterans pursuing careers in the film industry.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail