Veteran actor Edward James Olmos visited New York Film Academy following a screening of his landmark film, Stand and Deliver. An inspirational story about East L.A. youths beating the odds to excel in school, Olmos portrayed the real-life instructor, Jaime Escalante. He spoke fondly about the film, saying, “As soon as you have the solid representation of truth, it’s timeless.” The Library of Congress agrees, and added the film to the National Film Registry in 2011.
Like many celebrity guest speakers in the past, Olmos spoke about the rise of social media and the low cost of filmmaking equipment, saying the opportunities are better than ever before for filmmakers. “If you’re a storyteller, there’s no excuse why you can’t get your product seen. The only people I know who haven’t made it are the ones who quit… but no one is going to give you a the break. You are going to give yourself the break.”
He encouraged the diverse student body to succeed on their own terms, telling their own stories, saying, “Everyone has a thumbprint and we each use it differently…. We need heroes. Women heroes. Ethnic heroes. You need discipline, determination, perseverance, and the key ingredient: patience.”