It’s a Friday night, and the smell of pizza fills the corridors of the fourth floor at the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) Los Angeles campus. In NYFA’s state of the art facilities, laughter is shared amongst the veteran students, as they gather to watch a screening of the movie Everest (2015), an American-British film directed by Baltasar Kormákur. “This feels like I’m back in the military,” stated Nicholas Hagen, US Navy veteran and BFA Filmmaking student, describing what it felt like to come together with fellow student veterans.
The film sets in 1996 where climbers from two commercial expeditions start their final ascent toward the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. With little warning, a violent storm strikes the mountain, engulfing the adventurers in one of the fiercest blizzards ever encountered by man. Challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the teams must endure blistering winds and freezing temperatures in an epic battle to survive against nearly impossible odds. The film was chosen as it portrays an exceptional example of survival, teamwork and selflessness, which are just some of the core ethos amongst service members.
The event was facilitated and hosted by the NYFA Veterans Services team in order boost camaraderie amongst NYFA veterans, and foster the creation of a unique bond with one another. With the veteran students being a very diverse cohort in the NYFA community, and some of them being hundreds of miles away from friends and family, the screening provided a sense of a “home away from home” and familiarity to all those veterans who attended.