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

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    The 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.

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  • Veterans Photography Workshop Held at New York Film Academy

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA)’s New York City campus recently hosted nearly 50 veterans, active-duty military personnel, and dependents for an evening master class in the application and principles of light in digital photography.

    Chair of the NYFA Photography Program David Mager facilitated the three-hour workshop.

    Professor Mager’s lecture Principles of Light served as a great introduction to the laws and active principles behind the lighting of any scene. Attendees learned to approach a shoot with a pre-visualized idea of what story they want the light to tell.  

    Both the lecture and hands-on exercises guided attendees to see what different types of light look like, and how to think about lighting as an essential tool in image creation. See more photos from the day here.

    NYFA’s Chair of the Veterans Advancement Program, The Honorable Colonel Jack Jacobs, treated the participants to welcome remarks.

    NYFA provided this photography workshop at no charge to the veteran participants as part of the institution’s support of service members residing in the communities where NYFA has U.S. campuses: Los AngelesNew York City, and South Beach (Miami). In the past two years, NYFA’s Division of Veteran Services has provided more than a dozen such free masterclasses in various filmmaking related disciplines including Acting, ScreenwritingFilmmaking, and Acting for Film.

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  • African Black American Film Society Celebrates African American Women in Times of War and Conflict

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    Members of New York Film Academy (NYFA) African and Black American Film Society (ABA) attended the first annual Greenlight Women Celebration in February, hosted by actress, model, and singer Shari Belafonte and actress Wendy Davis.

    NYFA students sat amongst filmmakers, magazine owners, and businesswomen for an amazing brunch followed by a Q&A to pay tribute to African American women that served our country in times of war and conflict.

    As the lights dimmed and all eyes focused on the screen, ABA members sat mesmerized as they watched clips from the soon-to-be-released documentary, Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II, which captures the untold stories of black women who battled Nazism abroad as well as racism and sexism at home. When the picture faded to black, the students applauded the moving stories of bravery and incredible obstacles that these women endured. Directed by Gregory Cooke, the harsh circumstances that African American women faced during wartime resonated throughout the room.

    Shari Belafonte and NYFA Producing Instructor Kimberly Ogletree led the discussion honoring four fascinating black female veterans that served in the Vietnam, Grenada, and Iraq wars. The women spoke of racism and sexism they encountered in the military, and their hopes for the next generation of soldiers, naval, and air force officers.

    NYFA students learned the historical context of these stories, during eras when anti-war activities, major Civil Rights demonstrations, the rise of Black Power, and the burgeoning Women’s Movement would impact the lives of women serving in the military.  Each of the women took a moment to discuss the sexual assault they witnessed or experienced first-hand, and shared how they were able to cope.

    Greenlight Women in Association with Loeb & Loeb Present: First Annual Black History Month Celebration Brunch on Saturday, Feb. 24th, 2018 at Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City, California. (Photo by Arnold Turner/ATA)

    Judith Welsh, retired JAG stated:

    “You do not let your circumstances overcome you. You must overcome the circumstances.”

    These veterans confronted adversity. Giving up, being broken, or walking away was never an option for these women. The opportunity for students to bear witness to their situations and war stories from the black female soldiers’ perspective was extremely educational, and these particular women were honored to share because they had never before been given a forum to speak about their experiences.

    Retired Captain Joan Arrington Craigwell served as a flight nurse in the United States Air Force during one of the most heinous conflicts in Vietnam, the Tet Offensive. Joan’s voice was calm yet subdued as she spoke about the horrors she encountered from the frontline. Joan received the Bronze star for bravery and her service.

    There was a dead silence across the room as Joan and Gloria spoke in detail about unbelievable moments they experienced first-hand.

    A student asked, name one obstacle you had to overcome?

    Craigwell answered, “Having to go to Vietnam and the surprises that you faced. I still have a thing about not being able to save every person. It’s a nursing thing and I still carry that guilt knowing it was impossible.”

    Retired Army Lt. Colonel Dr. Gloria Willingham-Toure vividly remembers her obstacle, as a nurse having to make the painstaking decision of which injured soldiers would receive medical attention. She said, “When soldiers were flown directly from the battlefield they had some unbelievable wounds and I had to do triage like I never did before, which meant I had to walk past those I could not help. So I would cry, cry, and cry, until one of my commanders said, ‘You gotta decide today, are you going to be crying or help those that you can,’ and I changed at that point.”

    The stories were so intense that a young comedian, Alycia Cooper, silently stood as all eyes shifted to her, and in one swift second she lightened the entire mood and tone in the room. As I glanced at the two tables of ABA members I could see a needed relief from the stories, because the realities of war are hard to hear.

    Craigwell spoke of trying to desegregate one of her housing units in 1961. Her white friend had heard of a vacancy and asked if she could take it. When her application was denied they took up the issue with their higher-ups. They were told by command that this housing was set aside for black members.

    When Craigwell pushed back she was reassigned. Those in attendance, at the brunch, tut-tutted at the thought. Craigwell assured them the move was for the best. “I started doing some of my best work after that,” she said. Currently, Craigwell works to help veterans with employment, housing, and counseling.

    New York Film Academy student and veteran Hattie Sallie stood tall to applaud the honorees for their service. She said, “During my time in the armed forces, I could see the fruit beginning to bear which I attributed to the work and accomplishments of those that came before me.” She added, “There are more programs for soldiers battling PTSD. Officers are better trained. Progress is slow but it’s happening.”

    Our honorees were Lt. Col. Patricia Jackson-Kelly, who served in the Air Force, Navy, and Army between 1977-2003. Jackson-Kelly stated, “I applaud the youth today; your movement has been so refreshing. If it wasn’t for you I don’t know what we would do. The young people are speaking up for what they believe in and I encourage you to do that.” Today, Jackson-Kelly is the vice president of the National Association for Black Military Women.  

    Dr. Gloria Willingham-Toure is a retired Army Lt. Colonel. She served over 20 years in the reserves and in the Army National Guard. She began her career at Brooks Medical Center as a civilian nurse during the end of the Vietnam War. She retired from the 6222nd U.S. Army reserves Forces School, 5th Brigade, 104th Division Institutional Training, as the director of medical courses preparing our nation’s medical personnel for deployments.

    Willingham-Toure stated, “My only prayer during the end of the Vietnam war was that I hoped that the training I had given my soldiers would help them stay alive.”

    Judith Mary Welsh was a Personnel Specialist and retired JAG who served in the U.S. Navy. She served in Germany, where she won “Best Supporting Actress” in the 7th Corp tournament of plays. She retired from the 88th Military Police Unit. Welsh, and reiterated to the students to “Always overcome your circumstances.”

    And finally, Joan T. Arrington Craigwell attended the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. She would later work in Southeast Asia at Clark Air Base in the Philippines and Republic of South Vietnam. Craigwell stated, “We live in the greatest country in the world and attacking our democracy means death.”

    When opening the celebration, the President of Greenlight Women, Ivy Kagan Bierman, highlighted the importance of the group’s mission statement. Their statement proclaims: “Greenlight Women is an alliance of accomplished, creative, business professionals whose mission is to champion women and promote diverse perspectives in media.” Bierman stated that the wording of their mission statement and the name of their group had been crafted carefully, because, “We’re tired of sitting in meetings talking about change. We want to make change happen, now.” 

    Two New York Film Academy staff members sit on the board of Greenlight Women. Chair of the Diversity Action Group Kimberly Ogletree is a NYFA producing instructor and the chair of NYFA Los Angeles’ Industry Lab. Barbara Weintraub is chair of industry outreach and professional development, and she serves on the board of Greenlight Women as vice president.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Greenlight Women for giving our students an opportunity to speak with the women who defended our nation. To learn more about the mission of Greenlight Women click here.

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  • Mayor of Austin Honors NYFA Declaring April 14 “New York Film Academy Day”

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    Last week, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) proudly teamed up with the Texas Veterans Commission, Texas Film Commission and the City of Austin to facilitate a truly exciting NYFA Filmmaking Master Class, which was provided free for veterans and their dependents.

    The Austin Convention Center housed the daylong event and featured a six-hour interactive instructional seminar, titled Anatomy of a Scene, presented by NYFA New York City Chair of Short Term Programs Jonathan Whittaker. The seminar included lecture, screening, and group participation, to coach on writing, breaking down, and directing a scene. The seminar explored all aspects of filmmaking, including cinematography, producing, editing, acting, and screenwriting.

    From left to right: Stephanie Whallon, Incentive Program Manager, Texas Film Commission; Cruz Montemayor, Deputy Executive Director, Texas Veterans Commission; Colonel Jack Jacobs, Chair, NYFA Veterans Advancement Program; Allen Bergeron, Veterans Program Administrator, City of Austin; John Powers, Director, NYFA Division of Veterans Services

    On hand to greet the nearly 70 military participants were the honorable Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and on-air military strategist for NBC/MSNBC and Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program; Cruz Montemayor, Deputy Executive Director, Texas Veterans Commission; Allen Bergeron, Military Veterans Program Manager, City of Austin; Minhu Vu, Senior Marketing Coordinator, Texas Film Commission; and Stephanie Whallon, Incentive Program Manager, Texas Film Commission.

    A highlight for NYFA was the presentation to Colonel Jacobs of a Special Proclamation by Austin’s Mayor, Steve Adler, declaring April 14 as “NYFA DAY” in the City of Austin!

    In part, the Proclamation reads:

    Be it known that

    Whereas,

    The New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) seeks to promote and advance the art of visual storytelling through film and related media including staged performance as a transformational and ennobling vehicle to both the creator and audience; and

    Whereas,

    This art has a profound impact on the individuals, communities and global society and therefor NYFA seeks to make visual storytelling education accessible to the most diverse, international, and broadest possible spectrum of people from all backgrounds who one day will serve the visual storytelling arts as industry leaders; and

    Whereas,

    We appreciate NYFA for their innovative efforts in the film and arts industry and for supporting members of the Military who are currently serving and have served our country along with their families. Austin is proud to be called home to many of the brave men and women who serve(d) in the Military and to have the opportunity to explore various aspects of filmmaking through NYFA; and

    Now, Therefore,

    I, Steve Adler, Mayor of the City of Austin, Texas,

    do hereby proclaim

    April 14, 2018

    as

    NYFA Day

    NYFA’s President Michael Young expressed gratitude to Mayor Adler, stating, “We are incredibly honored and humbled to receive this proclamation from a city that does so much veterans, for film, and for the arts. The New York Film Academy hopes return to Austin frequently to partner on these efforts.

    NYFA’s Division of Veterans Services has been privileged to enroll and support more than 1,500 veteran students and military dependents at its U.S. campuses since 2009. Many NYFA programs are approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits, and the Los Angeles and South Beach campuses also participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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    April 27, 2018 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking, Veterans • Views: 644

  • From Navy SEAL to 12 Strong With New York Film Academy Alum Kenny Sheard

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    Few people have the grit and the determination to become a Navy SEAL, but New York Film Academy alum Kenny Sheard has shown that no matter what he sets his mind to, he brings in the full force of his incredible work ethic, talent, and stamina. After honorably serving in the Navy for 12 years and attaining a place with the world famous, elite Navy SEALS, Sheard has managed to forge an entirely new and challenging path for himself in the civilian world as an actor and stunt performer in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and series.

    Sheard booked his first stunt job in the Transformers franchise while still actively serving in the reserves, and from there, came to NYFA to master new skills in Filmmaking. Since then, his creative career has skyrocketed, with stunt credits in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Fear of the Walking Dead, Logan, and the upcoming Avatar 2, among many many more. His acting credits continue to build up as well, with his most recent appearance alongside Chris Hemsworth in 12 Strong, now available to stream on Amazon.

    NYFA alum Kenny Sheard via IMDB

    Through it all, Sheard has worked hard to keep learning, stay humble, and encourage fellow veterans as they transition to civilian life. Here, he shares his best advice and some of his story with the NYFA Blog. Check out what he has to say:

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a bit about your journey and what brought you to NYFA?

    KS: I’m originally from Miami, FL, and attended College in Newburg, NY, for a few years, but didn’t finish. I moved home, joined the military in May of 2001, and served on active duty until May 2013. In 2010, while assigned to a training command, I was given an opportunity to use my saved up leave (vacation time) to play a minor stunt/acting role on Transformers 3. That experience and a multitude of things that followed are what ultimately lead me to the Filmmaking course at NYFA.

    NYFA: Why filmmaking? What inspires you most about film? What stories are you most passionate to tell?

    KS: Films have entertained and inspired me as far back as I can recall. I enjoy reading; however, films have had a more substantial impact on me. In my experience, I’m able to feel and perceive the world through this visual medium in ways that I might not ever have had the chance to, like through a mother’s loving eyes or a tormented serial killer. Personally, I prefer fiction over reality-based stories. That said, some of the most influential films I’ve seen have also been “based on true story” movies. The stories I’m passionate to tell lean on the darker and grittier side.

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?

    KS: I don’t have any favorite standout moments, but I got a ton out of the experience. The teachers were knowledgeable and went above and beyond.

    NYFA: As a veteran, what is your best advice to fellow veterans and active service members interested in transitioning into the visual and performing arts?

    KS: My advice would be to stay focused on your goals/dreams, be true to who you are always, and destroy the ego. Use the discipline, structure, and attention to detail you’ve acquired from your time of service and apply it to your new creative ventures in life.

    Have a work hard, hustle attitude, with a positive and open mind. Don’t ever hang your choice to serve over anyone’s head, ever.

    Sounds like a cheesy poster, but hey, get after it!

    NFYA: You launched your career in the Transformers franchise while still serving in the reserves. What was that experience like?

    KS: Being a part of Transformers was awesome. I met Michael Bay and Harry Humphries through a friend, Echy.

    I can’t say enough great things about Bay and being exposed to a film set like that. I enjoyed every moment, and it came at a time when I had no idea what to do next in life. If I tried to put words to the whole experience and what it’s meant to me, it would degrade it.

    NYFA: You’ve worked in some incredibly successful, major films — from John Wick to 13 Hours and Transformers: Age of Extinction. What is your best advice to our students to prepare for the transition from school to a large-scale blockbuster set?

    KS: That’s a tough one. I think some people get it, and some don’t. I can’t imagine anything I write here might shatter any glass for readers. See my advice to veterans; it applies to all.

    NYFA: Acting and stunts — how does your preparation process change depending on your work?

    KS: These are two very different worlds, which I’m on the bottom of the barrel in both. When it comes to acting, I’m just playing myself. Other than knowing my lines, which have yet to be extensive, there’s not a ton of prep for me.

    Stunts, on the other hand, require a ton of prep. I think I need to point out here that I’m relatively green in the stunt world. The pool of talent I’ve had the honor of working with in the stunt world is insane, and I’m far from being considered anyone of a high caliber. My tactical background has helped me out tremendously, but I’m still learning a ton every project I’m on.

    NYFA: What is your favorite part of working in stunts? Have there been any surprises and challenges along the way, and how do you overcome them?

    KS: My favorite part of working in the stunt community has been the people. Every project I’m on, I’m always impressed with the talent and comradery. I can’t say that I’ve ever been surprised, but it’s always challenging and fun.

    NYFA: Can you tell us a bit about 12 Strong? What was that filming experience like?

    KS: 12 Strong was an outstanding experience. From meeting the guys whom the story was about, to working with all the talented actors and stunt team, it was awesome. I wouldn’t know where to start, the director and producers were solid to work for as well.

    It’s a hard thing telling a true story, and I think Nicolai Fuglsig did an exceptional job. The men who the story is about were very pleased with it, and you can’t ask for anything better than that. I was deeply honored to play Bill Bennett, a medic who later lost his life overseas in Iraq in 2003.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Kenny Sheard for taking the time to share his story with the NYFA community. 12 Strong is available to stream on Amazon.

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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 Alum Writes For Military Blog We Are The Mighty

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    Orientation with Jack Jacobs

    NYFA Veteran Students with Col. Jack Jacobs (NYFA Chair of Veteran Advancement Program)

    Everybody knows by now that the Internet is filled with countless blogs, from globally famous media companies to ones covering even the tiniest of niches. But there’s at least one blog that’s doing great work serving an often overlooked yet large and vitally important demographic—the United States military community.

    The blog, We Are The Mighty, is for veterans, servicemen and women, and their families, and covers everything from military news to pop culture, with both thoughtfully penned articles and silly, amusing listicles. Overall, WATM’s mission statement is “Celebrating military service with stories that inspire,” but in doing so, it’s also provided a way for the community to congregate, communicate, and share their ideas and views through its site and social media.

    NYFA BFA Filmmaking and MFA Screenwriting Alum Tim Kirkpatrick

    Tim Kirkpatrick is one of the writers for We Are The Mighty, and has already built an impressive portfolio of articles. Kirkpatrick is a Navy veteran, having entered as a Hospital Corpsman in 2007. In the fall of 2010, he was deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines.

    After coming back stateside, Kirkpatrick enrolled at the New York Film Academy and earned his AFA degree in filmmaking from our Los Angeles campus. Honing his skills even further, Kirkpatrick followed his filmmaking education with NYFA’s 8-Week Screenwriting workshop.

    Putting those writing skills to good use, Kirkpatrick has written multiple blog pieces for We Are The Mighty, including “6 of the Funniest Comedic Military Sketches Ranked” and “5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Navy Medal of Honor.”

    One of his most recent pieces is about the New York Film Academy itself, highlighting the Academy’s relationship to the Military and veteran community. As Kirkpatrick mentions in his article, “At any given time, NYFA caters to over 200 veterans in the student body and the school takes pride in putting a camera in their hands on the first day of class,” while also adding that NYFA has enrolled over 1500 veterans and dependents of veterans in total.

    The Military and veteran community is an important part of the NYFA family. Kirkpatrick mentions in his article the Academy’s V.S.A., or Veteran Student Association, where vets from different branches of the armed forces come together over their shared love of film and the visual arts.

    Kirkpatrick also shouts out the venerable Colonel Jack Jacobs, who in addition to being a Medal of Honor recipient and on-air military strategist for NBC/MSNBC, is the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program.

    The Military and the film industry are a more natural pairing than some may suspect. Kirkpatrick writes, “As in the Military, the film industry uses a precise chain of command for its operational purposes, so vets feel right at home on set — hierarchy and order (and yes, even paperwork) have been branded into their solid work ethic.”

    You can check out Tim Kirkpatrick and the other writers at We Are The Mighty here.

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    January 26, 2018 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 1687

  • 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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  • Veterans Day: NYFA Honors Veterans and Colonel Jack Jacobs

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    This week, our nation celebrates the men and women who have served our country in the US Military by paying special tribute to by honoring them on Veterans Day. Over the last seven years, nearly 1,500 military service members, veteran students, and military dependents, have selected the New York Film Academy (NYFA) to be the choice for their higher education.

    “Jerry Sherlock, who was a veteran of the US Air Force, founded the New York Film Academy 25 years ago and was always committed to making NYFA a welcoming learning environment for veterans who wanted to tell their own stories through the visual and performing arts,” stated Michael Young, NYFA’s President. “As a role model and leader to our veterans, we are honored to have, Colonel Jack Jacobs, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, as the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program,” said President Young.

    NYFA in the Veteran's Parade

    NYFA in the Veteran’s Parade


    Colonel Jack Jacobs is an Army Veteran who received the Nation’s highest military honor for his heroism in Vietnam, the Medal of Honor. Colonel Jacobs, a media personality who can be seen regularly on MSNBC and NBC, and often on shows including Morning Joe, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and Rachel Maddow, is one of only 73 living Medal of Honor recipients.

    Colonel Jack Jacobs at NYFA


    Colonel Jacobs interacts with NYFA’s veteran students on a regular basis providing them with encouragement, advice, and opportunities while they are enrolled at NYFA, and also when they return to the school for the many activities that the NYFA Division of Veteran Services arranges for veteran students and alums.

    While Colonel Jacobs may best be known by the public for his television work, his greatest passion is supporting the military community by serving on the board of numerous veteran non-profit organizations, and speaking at many veteran events. Recently Colonel Jacob’s gave the keynote at the 21st annual Military Ball, attended by over 700 military leaders, which was hosted by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation. In his speech, Colonel Jacobs noted, “There’s nothing like military service that gives young people authority and responsibility at an early age.” He continued,” People who serve time in a uniform can do anything… offering a job to veterans is not charity. These are ‘the’ best people.”

    The New York Film Academy Salutes the service of all US military Veterans This Veterans Day.

    Orientation with Jack Jacobs

    Orientation with Jack Jacobs

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    November 11, 2017 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 868

  • 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: 1056