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  • 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: 705

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – May 17, 2019

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    Avni Mahiji is a graduate of one of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism department’s short-term workshops. She has a great on-camera presence, which we helped her develop. And she knows that to build your career you always have to be ready when opportunities present themselves.

    Or better yet, you create your own opportunities. Recently she was doing anchor/presenter work on a small New York City-area TV station. It was a great opportunity for her to showcase her impressive skills.

    Great job, Avni!

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019

    I’ve heard from some incoming students who want to know a bit about the neighborhood where NYFA is located. It’s a good question… Here are some pictures for them, as well as any graduates who are feeling a bit nostalgic.

    So this is our neighborhood, downtown Manhattan.

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    This is a closer shot. NYFA is located in the building on the left.

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    We are at 17 Battery Place. Just look for the flags…

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    Now, strictly speaking, the next picture isn’t in “our neighborhood.” But each term, some students get the chance to visit NBC News for a behind-the-scenes tour. Their guide is MSNBC contributor Col. Jack Jacobs, who in and of himself is worth the trip uptown. They are on the set of the NBC Nightly News, regularly one of the most-watched network TV news programs in the country.

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    Finally, you’ll see much of New York through the lens of a camera like this. Believe it or not, all of our students leave NYFA capable of using this high-end HDTV camera. If you look closely, that is the soon-to-graduate Nicole Abebe hidden behind all that equipment…

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019

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

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    On 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.

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    December 6, 2018 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers, Veterans • Views: 767

  • New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School Visits NBC News

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    So, for graduates of the NYFA 1-Year Broadcast Journalism program, these pictures should bring back some memories!

    This month, the Fall 2017 1-Year students got an exclusive “behind the scenes” look at NBC News. It was all made possible by NBC News military affairs contributor Col. Jack Jacobs, who is also Chair of the NYFA Veteran’s Advancement program.

    While visiting NBC News, the students had the opportunity to meet MSNBC anchor Joy Reid.

    Then, they visited the set of her program “AM Joy,” while the show was in progress.

    Since prime time anchor Lester Holt was off, the NYFA students decided to help out as “substitute anchors” on the set of the “NBC Nightly News.”

    …and made a quick visit to make-up.

    They even had to chance to visit the set of “Saturday Night Live” during rehearsals. (You can hear the band playing here.)

    In fact, they even found out about some of the jokes on that night’s show, 10 hours before air time!

    These tours are available only to students in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism 1-Year Conservatory program. This group seems to have had fun…

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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: 1488

  • Hire Heroes USA and NYFA Collaborate to Support Veterans Employment

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    On October 21, New York Film Academy (NYFA) held a special day-long professional development workshop with Hire Heroes USA, an event open to New York City’s diverse array of veterans seeking careers in film, television, and broadcast journalism. This training session follows a very successful NYFA Hire Heroes USA event that was held at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    Hire Heroes USA is a highly successful nonprofit organization that provides free career coaching and job sourcing to transitioning U.S. military members, veterans and military spouses. To date, Hire Heroes USA has found more than 20,000 jobs for veterans.

    Together with NYFA, the organization tailored the day’s instruction and training uniquely for the media and entertainment industries. The training also included a panel of industry professionals with a plethora of experience in major motion picture production, start-up production company management, entertainment law, pitching and network building.

    Veteran participants with Colonel Jack Jacobs at the NYFA NYC Hire Heroes USA training.

    “The men and women who make up the United States Armed Forces are some of the world’s most highly trained professionals. But when service members transition out of the military one of the most common questions they ask me is, ‘Which of my skills from service are transferable to a civilian career?’” stated NYFA Veterans Services Coordinator Chris Paparis, one of the workshop’s principle organizers. He continued, “In many cases, veterans discount how much their service in the military has already prepared them for careers in the entertainment industry.”

    NYFA’s Chair of Veteran Services Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret.)  provided insight into his own career in television as the on-air military strategist at NBC/MSNBC, which he began after a successful venture in the finance industry. Colonel Jacobs is an advocate for all veterans seeking to break into the film and television industry. He readily advises students on their career paths, and even has NYFA veteran students visit the NBC Studios in NYC for a behind-the-scenes experience.

    Attendees worked through a busy lunch hour, which included the opportunity to have professional headshots taken by NYFA staff photographers to accompany the LinkedIn skill-building portion of the seminar.

    Gileon Clarke, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and graduate of NYFA 1-Year Acting Conservatory, noted that the class “focused on modern concepts … we learned how to use LinkedIn to build our personal brand, and [how] these new ideas can really help build one’s network and overall impact in the job market.”

    NYFA greatly appreciates the partnership with Hire Heroes USA, and especially wants to thank Elena Comperatore, Jamie Rimphanli, and Molly Giles, who provided the accompanying lectures to the event and provided the skills training.  

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    November 2, 2017 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 1768

  • NYFA Producing Department Students Tour NBC Studios At 30 Rock

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    A group of One Year Producing students recently toured the NBC studios at legendary 30 Rockefeller Plaza led by NBC and MSNBC on air talent and editorial consultant Col. Jack Jacobs. Colonel Jacobs is the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program, and is one of our nation’s most decorated military servicemembers—including being a recipient of the Medal of Honor, which is the nation’s highest military award.

    nbc news

    photo by Marc Frattini

    NYFA producers and Department Chair Neal Weisman got a behind the scenes look at the various newsroom and studio sets for such iconic television shows as the “Today Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Morning Joe,” “AM Joy,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and a glimpse of the famed “Saturday Night Live” studios. Already familiar with multi-camera studio broadcast techniques from their television production classes at NYFA’s New York City Battery Park campus, students got up front and personal with the state-of-the-art professional control rooms, switchers, robotic cameras, and other equipment that bring NBC shows into the nation’s living rooms every day.

    nbc tour nyfa

    photo by Marc Frattini

    Mr. Weisman stated, “in keeping with the Producing Department’s philosophy of emphasizing practical and pragmatic knowledge, skills, and tools — nothing beats observing world class professionals at work. This has been an invaluable experience for our producers as they get ready to enter the Industry.”

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    January 18, 2017 • Community Highlights, Producing • Views: 3219

  • Students at NYFA South Beach Support Local Veterans Charity

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    On Friday April 22, students and staff of the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) South Beach Campus provided the filming and photography in support of the 3rd Annual Golf Fundraising event, which raised nearly $60,000 in funding for local veteran service organizations.

    The Charity Classic is an event organized by Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), in association with the mergers and acquisition and corporate community, to help raise awareness and funding to support veteran homelessness, veteran reintegration, and veterans and service members with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury.

    golf charity

    On the left corner of the check is Jim Duffy, ACG’s Founder. To the right is Colonel Jack Jacobs and Lt. Colonel Tony Colmenares. Surrounding are volunteers and staff of Project 22.

    As a proud backer of the ACG Charity Classic this year, NYFA staff colleagues Richard Crites, Kyle Fritsche, and Gabriel Cacabelos, as well as NYFA students Samuel Romero, Florencia Portieri, Martina Marcet, and Eleni Nolas spent the day visually documenting the event, which will be used to further promote the Foundation’s future benevolent activities. The students who generously lent their time and talents for this important cause hailed from Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela — representing the truly international nature of NYFA South Beach, and the College in general. NYFA’s Veteran Service Coordinator, Jhonson Simeon, led the team.

    Additionally, Colonel Jack Jacobs, NYFA’s Chair of Veterans Advancement Program, and Medal of Honor recipient, was on hand to meet with the nearly 300 participants. The acclaimed film, stage, and television actor, Stephen Lang, who was in Miami for the NYFA premiere screening of his film Beyond Glory, also contributed to the day by welcoming the donors and being available for photographs. Mr. Lang is best known for his recent role in Avatar and Gods and Generals.

    golf classic

    (from left to right) Mike Davis, Steve Katona, Stephen Lang, Steve Paoloni, Jim Griffin, and Colonel Tony Colmenares

    This year’s recipient organization of the monies raised by the ACG Annual Fundraising Golf Classic is the “22 Project,” which is a registered 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to providing advanced medical treatment to rehabilitate service men and women in order to allow these deserving veterans an opportunity to function to the best of their ability in a peacetime environment.  The 22 Project is named because on average 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

    The New York Film Academy was delighted to be a part in this worthwhile endeavor, and the College thanks ACG and Project 22 for inviting us to participate.

    For more photos from this event, check out our Facebook Gallery Here.

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    April 29, 2016 • Acting, Veterans • Views: 3220

  • NYFA South Beach Campus Hosts Premiere Screening: “Beyond Glory”

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    A red carpet, lights beaming into the sky, celebrities and local dignitaries posing for photographs—this was the scene this past Saturday night at the City of Miami’s historic Manuel Artime Theater, where the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) South Beach campus held a Hollywood-style film event in support of the veterans community of South Florida.

    nyfa south beach jacobs

    NYFA is grateful to have partnered with the City of Miami’s Office of Film & Television, Miami Dade College, and 8180 Films in presenting the documentary film, Beyond Glory, written and performed by the award-winning stage and screen star, Stephen Lang. The film was directed by Larry Brand, narrated by Gary Sinise, and was executive-produced by multiple film-industry award-winners, James Cameron and Jon Landau.

    Beyond Glory tells the stories of eight veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. It renders first-hand accounts of valor that resulted in the awarding of the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. The oral histories of these eight men are brought to life through Lang’s commanding performance. The Wall Street Journal’s entertainment critic reported the experience as, “One of the richest, most complex pieces of acting I’ve seen in my theater-going life”. On hand Saturday for the Q & A with Mr. Lang was NYFA’s-own Colonel Jack Jacobs, the College’s Chair of the Veteran’s Advancement Program. The conversation, which was moderated by Maylen Dominquez, Associate Chair of Filmmaking at NYFA’s South Beach campus, was an inspirational exchange between the actor and Colonel Jacob’s, who is one of 75 living Medal of Honor recipients. Both Col. Jacobs and Mr. Lang personally knew the Medal of Honor recipients portrayed in the film, and there was a wonderful exchange of stories both of the battlefield valor and the colorful characters of the men.

    colonel jacobs

    The program began with a celebration of the collaboration between the City of Miami and NYFA. Mayor Tomas Regalado presented the key to the City of Miami to Colonel Jacobs in recognition of his valor in service to the country. The Mayor also presented Mr. Lang with a special certificate of appreciation. Lt. Col. Antonio Colmenares, the Director of Veteran Services in the City of Miami, spoke passionately about the need to support local veterans and joined the Mayor and others in welcoming the New York Film Academy to the South Florida community. NYFA’s VP and South Beach Director, Elli Ventouras, spoke about the College’s facility in South Beach, opened last September, which offers degree programs and workshops in filmmaking, acting, and photography, among other professional disciplines.

    It was a special evening, enjoyed by many Miami citizens—including those in military service—as well as NYFA faculty and students.

    You may view the entire photo album of our photo booth on the NYFA Facebook page by clicking HERE.

    For more images from the event, please click HERE.

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    April 25, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 3598

  • 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: 3436