Chris Paparis
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  • New York Film Academy’s Peter Allen Stone Leads Introductory Acting Workshop for Veterans

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    There are many actors that have served in the military prior to discovering their talents on a film set or theatres’ stage. Gene Hackman, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and even Mr. T are just a small sampling of those who wore the uniform before hitting it big in Hollywood.

    Veterans aspiring to the screen were invited from across the tri-state area for a very special introductory workshop to Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy last weekend.

    Under the energetic tutelage of NYFA Acting for Film Chair Peter Allen Stone, attendees found the acting exercises to be engaging and enjoyable as they worked through dialogue designed to help students better understand acting in front of the camera.

    Dozens of service members, many of whom are producers, writers, and directors in their own respect, were excited to offer their first lines in front of a rolling camera.

    “Acting is fun!” radiated Peter Allen Stone at the conclusion of the class. “Thank you all for your work today — it’s really great when there is a lot of energy and people are passionate about learning these techniques.”

    After the class, New York Film Academy’s Division of Veteran Services’ staff was on hand to offer assistance about Department of Veteran Affairs-related benefits.

    A participant checks his mark and waits for “Action!” as Chair of NYFA Acting for Film Program Peter Stone sets the scene.

    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) has been privileged to enroll more than 1,500 veteran students and military dependents at our campuses in New York City, NY, Los Angeles, CA, and South Beach, FL., since 2009. The Los Angeles and South Beach campuses also participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which allows eligible veterans and dependents in many cases the opportunity to go to school tuition and fee free. The honorable Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and on-air military strategist for NBC/MSNBC, is the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program.

    Join us on Facebook or go to www.NYFA.edu/veterans for more information.

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  • New York Film Academy Student Veteran Awarded for Community Engagement

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) was delighted to pass along some holiday cheer in the form of the T.  Douglas MacPherson Scholarship, which was graciously gifted from the New Jersey Association of Veteran Service Providers (NJAVSP), and awarded to a NYFA veteran student in recognition for outstanding service to the veteran community.     

    The recipient — professional actor, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and current NYFA Producing student Caleb Wells — was all smiles as he accepted the token of gratitude from NYFA’s President Michael Young and Senior Executive Vice President David Klein.

    @PaulaRey

    “Our student veterans are a well of talent waiting to be discovered,” remarked New York Film Academy’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Jim Miller. “Caleb exemplifies a committed student of the arts in both words and deeds.”

    In addition to working his way through NYFA’s intensive Producing Conservatory at NYFA’s New York City campus, Caleb volunteered his time as a speaker and panelist in a recent event in collaboration with the NYC Mayor’s Department of Veteran Services: NYC’s Public Artist in Residence-Bryan Doerries’ Theater of War.

    The performance was hosted at the New York Film Academy Theater in October, to a packed house. Caleb spoke candidly about challenges and perceptions he encountered after returning home from the experience of combat and war. During a recent NYFA-hosted Hire Heroes USA professional development workshop for veterans in film and television, Caleb brought his experiences as an actor, director, and producer to service members aspiring to enter the industry.

    Caleb has teamed up with fellow military veterans to start Tomahawk Pictures, a production company formed through the values of shared military culture.

    New York Film Academy is honored to count Caleb among its diverse array of students and is proud to serve military veterans and service members in their pursuit of a world-class education in filmmaking — and related disciplines — through its Veterans Advancement Program, Chaired by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient.

     

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  • NYFA Hosts “Theater of War” Performance in Partnership with NYC Department of Veteran Services

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    “A great man must live in honor or die an honorable death” were the weighty words spoken by actor Zach Grenier (“The Good Wife,” “Fight Club”), as he voiced the character of Ajax, the mighty Greek warrior. Grenier’s Ajax then turns to his wife, Tecmessa, played by the multiple Tony and Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan, describing the indignities and horrors he has suffered since returning home from the Trojan War.

    Inside the dimly lit walls of New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) campus theater on October 25, the student veterans and their supporters, over a hundred in attendance, were deeply moved by the performances by Mr. Grenier, Ms. Ryan, and NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams.

    Justin Ford, a U.S. Army Combat Veteran, NYC-based filmmaker, and NYFA Alumni, offered, “I never met anyone who sees [“Theater of War”] and isn’t moved — it’s an amazing emotional experience.”

    Like the fabled wars of antiquity, veterans returning home from modern conflict face challenges and obstacles with themselves, their colleagues, and their loved ones stemming from violence. Moral injury is at the center of the discussion that director of “Theater of War” Bryan Doerries hopes to start by utilizing ancient Greek plays to foster constructive community discussion.

    Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and one of the most decorated soldiers of the Vietnam War, gave an opening welcome to the audience before a panel discussion about the challenges and obstacles that come from the invisible wounds of war and combat followed the night’s performance.  

    “Knowing this issue is at least 2,500 years old, it seems silly that we aren’t rock stars at helping our veterans return home from war and give them the help, support, and an environment that facilitates healing,” said USMC combat veteran, infantry officer, and NYFA student, Caleb Wells, who participated in the night’s discussion as a panelist offering his own unique viewpoint on assimilating back into civilian culture after the experience of war.

    Theater has been recognized since the days of ancient city-states as a powerful medium for audiences to experience the release of negative emotions, or catharsis, through performance. Retired Brig. Gen. Commissioner Loree Sutton, MD of New York City’s Department of Veteran Services, has supported the dialogue through the City’s Public Artist in Residency Program, believing that an open dialogue is key to reducing stigma and encouraging sufferers of PTSD and moral injury to seek assistance.  

    “New York Film Academy, being an avid supporter of the veteran community and veterans in the arts, was eager to host the ‘Theater of War’ performance,” stated NYFA’s VP for Strategic Initiative Jim Miller. “The evening was important to us because we not only provided this powerful performance to veteran students, but our non-veteran students were able to better understand their classmates who have experienced war, and the scars that combat leaves on their emotions. NYFA is grateful to Commissioner Sutton and Mr. Doerries for this very special opportunity.”

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    November 6, 2017 • Academic Programs, Acting, Community Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking, Veterans • Views: 903

  • Aspiring Broadcast Journalists Learn the Ropes with Colonel Jack Jacobs at MSNBC/NBC Studios

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    Veterans and Active Duty military students from New York Film Academy and local New York City community colleges were hosted by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Chair of NYFA Veteran Advancement Program, at the famed 30 Rock Studios in New York City to explore career paths in television news and media outlets with a guided tour of one of the most watched news outlets in the United States — MSNBC/NBC. Colonel Jacobs is one of this nation’s most highly decorated service members; his valor in the Vietnam War led to his being a recipient of the Medal of Honor. Colonel Jacobs is currently the on-air military analyst at MSNBC/NBC.

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    NYFA students tour MSNBC/NBC studios

    Led through the historic hallways of NBC studios, students interested in careers in television were introduced to the fast-paced world of 24-hour news production by Colonel Jacobs, who offered insights to the next generation of aspiring television producers about the ins-and-outs of a dynamic and evolving business.

    Attendees received a behind the scenes look at the various newsrooms and studio sets for such iconic television shows as the “Today Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Morning Joe,” “AM Joy, and” “The Rachel Maddow Show”. The visit included a glimpse of the famed “Saturday Night Live” studios.

    “Now is the best time to be involved in television, in media in general,” lauded the Colonel. “Content is king. There are an increasing number of distributors out there; Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and they all need content!”

    His words did not fall on deaf ears as the veteran students in attendance were eager to learn as much as they could about careers in television—embracing previously unexplored opportunities that match the skills they honed at the New York Film Academy.

    “When you dream about working in film and television and you have no idea what the first step is–sometimes all you need is just to be in the same room with the people that do it, to see it with your own eyes. This makes that dream tangible, something real that you can touch, something that you can reach out and grab. It makes it obtainable,” remarked André Morissette, NYFA BFA Acting for Film student and veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

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    April 6, 2017 • Acting, Veterans • Views: 2658

  • Student Veterans at NYFA Receive an Early Holiday Gift

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    On December 10th, 2016, Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor Recipient, Chair of NYFA’s Veteran Advancement Program, and on-air Military Strategist for NBC and MSNBC, led a group of veteran students from the New York Film Academy on a behind-the-scenes tour of NBC studios.

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    Attendees visited the sets of The Today Show and NBC Nightly News and gained deeper insight into how a major news network provides content for its viewership.

    “Every time I set foot on a professional set, I get chills! This is why I came to NYFA! I want to be on television!” exclaimed U.S. Navy veteran, Julia Velasquez, Acting for Film graduate, upon seeing the giant production set as the group walked into the MSNBC studio.

    After touring the sets, students were brought to the MSNBC control room where they were treated with a very interesting situation occurring in real-time: A scheduled interviewee was late for their interview spot and the control room personnel were involved in a whirlwind of action trying to fill air space while the person made there way through heavy cross-town traffic!

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    Colonel Jacobs used the opportunity to provide a learning experience for the NYFA students, explaining the demanding conditions they must navigate through to provide a seamless broadcast to audiences at home.

    The veterans soaked up the lesson Colonel Jacobs was instilling: Every position at the network is specialized and translates into the creation of a product that is greater than the sum of its parts when the team works together.

    “Television is a collaborative production — just like filmmaking. People work together and pool their talents to create art,” mused Army Veteran and NYFA Filmmaking and Photography Conservatory graduate, Anthony Floyd.

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    December 19, 2016 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 2404

  • NYFA Films Special Veterans Day Message with Col. Jacobs and DVS Commissioner, Brigadier General (ret.) Loree Sutton

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    Members of New York City Department of Veteran Services (DVS), including the DVS Commissioner, Brigadier General (ret.) Loree Sutton, gathered at the New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) state-of-the-art facilities at 17 Battery Park to film a special Veterans Day message to salute, and thank those veterans who have served in our Armed Forces. The message marks the first official Veterans Day message from the City of New York’s newly created Department of Veterans Services.

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    Colonel Jack Jacobs chats with NYFA veteran student, Joshua Flashman, in between takes.

    Commissioner Sutton was joined by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and Chair of the New York Film Academy’s Veterans Advancement Program (VAP) to send a message to both New York City veterans and the civilians who support them. They both spoke about how important the NYC community is to veterans, and how the strengths of the City’s nearly 250,000 veterans adds tremendous value to the NYC communities. Both retired servicemembers asked that— on this 2016 Veterans Day— citizens do more than simply thank veterans for their service, but also to let veterans know what a powerful asset they are as they continue to make invaluable contributions to making this the greatest city— in the greatest country— on earth.

    “There’s nobody more creative than veterans,” said Col. Jacobs. “They’re the one’s who bring life experience and creativity to a profession that requires both of those attributes.”

    “To see these students working at the New York Film Academy is really a thrill and an affirmation of the strengths we know our veterans have,” added Brigadier General, Sutton.

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    NYC Department of Veteran Services Commissioner, Loree Sutton Brigadier General (ret.) and Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and Chair of the NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program (VAP) during taping of the 2016 Veterans’ Day Message.

    “It means a lot to know we’re appreciated in our community,” said NYFA Acting for Film student and veteran, Labrena Ware.

    “It feels great to have a sense of brotherhood,” added NYFA student and veteran, Pavlos Plakakis, who found his acting calling in the military after being told he had a talent for boosting morale amongst the troops.

    Veterans from nearly all branches of service had the opportunity to meet and speak with Commissioner Sutton and Colonel Jacobs during the filming. Those in attendance reflected about the diversity and spirit of the “Big Apple,” and also symbolized the passing of the torch from one generation of American service members to the next.

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    November 9, 2016 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Veterans • Views: 3079

  • NYFA Veterans Support Newly Created New York City Department of Veterans Services

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    Student veterans from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) were invited by Commissioner Loree Sutton (Retired Brigadier General) to again film the NY Department of Veteran Services’ Veteran Advisory Board meeting last week in Staten Island.

    mova nyfa student

    A NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY student films members of the Veterans Advisory board speaking with NY veterans.

    The Veteran Advisory Board meets quarterly to provide a public forum for discussion related to programs that impact veterans of the U.S. armed forces living and working within New York City. NYFA veterans trained as filmmakers, cinematographers, and producers use this opportunity as a way to enhance their skills and at the same time support the veteran community in NYC.

    For nearly 25 years, NYFA has provided students with hands-on training to apply what they learn in class to the real world, making for an educational experience unlike any other. The immersive training prepares students for rapid entry into the professional world by focusing on a project-based curriculum of increasing complexity to hone skills into muscle memory.

    COMMISH Caption

    Commissioner Loree Sutton of the Department of Veteran Services proudly announces the new additions to the newly created NY Department of Veteran Services.

    Veteran students of the New York Film Academy have many opportunities to practice their skills including participating in the annual New York Veterans Day Parade produced by the United Veteran War Council, as well as opportunities to film, edit, and create segments for the televised version of the Parade.

    The New York Film Academy, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious visual and performing arts private institution, is a certified and award-winning Military Friendly School committed to supporting this newest generation of veterans. NYFA is proud to serve military veterans and service members in their pursuit of a world-class education in filmmaking—and related disciplines—through its Veterans Advancement Program Chaired by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient.

    -by Chris Paparis and John Powers

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    June 23, 2016 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 2573

  • NYFA Student Veterans Film Vets4Warriors PSA with Colonel Jacobs

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    Last week, New York Film Academy Veteran Advancement Program’s Chair, Medal of Honor recipient Colonel (Ret.) Jack Jacobs, was delighted to host the Director of Rutgers University Behavioral HealthCare (UBHC) Major General (Ret.) Mark Graham for a collaboration that would bring the spotlight on Vets4Warriors and the wonderful accomplishments of this unique hotline.

    colonel jacobs

    Vets4Warriors is an exciting, multi-platform, peer-to-peer resource network—staffed by veterans—for veterans and military members of all eras of conflict. It is more than just a crisis hotline—the aim is to service and provide assistance to those who have been impacted by military service before an avoidable challenge or catastrophe occurs in their lives.

    Colonel Jacobs, speaking on behalf of both institutions, filmed with NYFA veteran students and production team members to create a public service announcement that will promote Vets4Warriors, now in its fifth year, to an even larger national audience.

    vets4warriors

    The partnership between the New York Film Academy and Rutgers UBHC symbolizes both institutions dedication to those who have served our country faithfully.

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    April 22, 2016 • Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Veterans • Views: 2850

  • NYFA Veterans Support NYC Military Office of Veterans Affairs

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    Veteran students from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) were again invited to film New York City’s Veteran Advisory Board (VAB) quarterly meetings, the first of 2016, by the Mayor’s Office of Veteran Affairs. The VAB meeting heralded the historic creation of New York City’s Department of Veteran Affairs. Commissioner Loree Sutton, MD. (BGen Rt.), thanked the New York Film Academy and the veteran-student filmmakers and cinematographers that worked to capture the evening’s meeting for web-broadcast, before giving the floor to those wishing to address the board and those in attendance.

    VAB Meeting

    Commissioner Loree Sutton, M.D. (Brig. Gen. Rt.) addresses the attendees of the first Veteran Advisory Board Meeting of 2016

    New York Film Academy’s veteran student alumni, Wally Colon and Tarrell Childs, both native New Yorkers and graduates of NYFA’s Filmmaking and Cinematography programs, were on hand to film the meeting for the City’s website.

    “Being adaptable as a filmmaker is key to success early on,” says Tarrell Childs. “While I am busy working on creative ventures as a filmmaker, I like take time to stay connected to the veteran community by putting the skills I learned at the New York Film Academy to use for practical events, like community outreach programs and engagement.”

    The New York Film Academy is proud of its continuing commitment to support those that served in the U.S. armed forces and also their dependents. As just one example, veteran students and alumni from the New York Film Academy have most recently partnered with the United Veteran War Council, a veteran advocacy organization, but may be best known for their yearly production of the NYC’s Veterans Day Parade. Veteran film students from NYFA worked on the production crew throughout the lead-up and execution of the parade. Taping interviews and segments, as well as the live production, the experience was a rewarding way to break into professional production and camerawork for all the students that participated.

    wally colon

    NYFA Veteran student, Wally Colon, filming the Veteran Advisory Board Meeting of NYC

    The New York Film Academy, the world’s largest and most prestigious visual and performing arts private institution, is a certified and award-winning Military Friendly School committed to supporting this newest generation of veterans. NYFA is proud to serve military veterans and service members in their pursuit of a world-class education in filmmaking—and related disciplines—through its Veterans Advancement Program Chaired by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient.

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    March 10, 2016 • Acting, Veterans • Views: 2916