GI Bill
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  • NYFA Welcomes Incoming Student Veterans

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    The New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) recently welcomed many new veteran students to the Los Angeles and New York campuses. As a commitment to support veterans’ education, the NYFA Veterans Services team offered a veteran-specific “orientation” to help them acclimate to the campus and foster camaraderie within the incoming class of 2016. Often times it is the “vet to vet” interaction that helps veterans readjust to civilian life after military service.

    NYFA Veteran Coordinators, Eric Brown, Michael Kunselman, and Chris Paparis—veterans themselves—organized the orientations in LA and NY. Each of them has utilized their GI Bill by pursuing their education to obtain their degrees, and so they know firsthand how difficult it can be to start this new journey in an academic setting.

    veterans

    Eric Brown, US Navy Veteran and NYFA Veterans Coordinator welcomes new veteran students to the campus.

    The orientations focused on all aspects of a veteran’s transition including an overview on the services that the NYFA Veterans Services team provides, such as: information on student life, explanations as to how GI bill benefits work, how to obtain VA healthcare benefits, institutional policies, and providing new students the opportunity to network and develop relationships with one another. The veterans in attendance had the opportunity to speak with VA healthcare representatives and sign up for VA healthcare benefits while scheduling medical visits at the local VA Hospital right on the spot.

    First year Photography student, Luis Amador, expressed that he “had been putting off seeking assistance with the VA Healthcare system for many reasons, but being able to enroll right from school was a huge benefit.”


    At the orientation event, veterans and active duty military had the opportunity to meet with local and national veteran service organizations and their representatives. The NYFA Veterans Services team invited key partners within the community to speak with the veterans to educate them on the services they provide. Representatives from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Vet Centers, and VA Medical Centers were all in attendance.

    At our New York campus, aspiring actors, filmmakers, producers and screenwriters listened to NYFA Senior Vice President, David Klein, talk about the importance of storytelling through the medium of visual and performing arts. He spoke about how important veteran students life experiences are to our campus community.

    The veteran students found the orientation highly beneficial and enjoyed networking with fellow veterans. Many of them stayed after to speak with the NYFA Veteran Coordinators and the representatives from veterans organizations who attended.

    nyfa veterans

    Representatives from the VA and Military partner organizations speak about resources and opportunities for NYFA veteran students.

    “The orientation was very informative. It was great learning about what services are available to veterans and learning just how dedicated the NYFA veteran team is in supporting veterans. The camaraderie among the veteran students made me feel more comfortable coming to school,” stated Army veteran and New BFA Acting student, Travis Frazee.

    The New York Film Academy would like to welcome all new active duty military servicemembers, veterans, and their families to our campus community!

    On behalf of the New York Film Academy administration, thank you for your service to our country.

    -Jim Miller, Chris Paparis & Michael Kunselman

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    February 12, 2016 • Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Veterans • Views: 4202

  • Robert Thorpe Wins Audience Choice Award for Best Director

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    Robert Thorpe

    Robert Thorpe with his actor Randall Wulff

    As a proud supporter of the GI Bill, the New York Film Academy was the perfect fit for military veteran and former student, Robert Thorpe. Robert came out of the military at the age of 38, and was looking to get immediate experience on set. “I wanted hands-on,” said Thorpe. “Get in, get dirty and make films.”

    While attending NYFA for a BFA in Filmmaking, Robert focused on his thesis film, The Birthing Field. “I knew a lot coming in to NYFA, having studied film privately, but I still needed to gain a better understanding of why I choose specific shots, or why I cut here or there. In essence, NYFA taught me how to use the camera as an extension of the story and not merely just to shoot some cool stuff.”

    Already an Audience Choice Award Winner for Best Director at the International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts Los Angeles, The Birthing Field is a dramatic horror about a young couple, Matt and Angie, who leave Boston to start a new life in San Diego. On their way while in Arizona, they are abducted and forced into the world of human trafficking where they must reproduce children for the black market.

    the birthing field

    While sitting at his desk one day, he noticed an image of a malnourished boy standing in front of a glass door with the yellow brilliance of the sun blowing out the background outside. The tones were so warm and inviting to the point that he began writing a story around the imagery. This story eventually evolved into The Birthing Field.

    Robert created the film with the initial focus on creating awareness and as a tool for raising funds for a feature version, which he is currently writing the screenplay for. He started working on the film in the fall of 2012 and soon realized his love for the world he created. Over the next year, he wrote several drafts of the script as well as a first draft for the feature. “I learned about my characters and they told me what they do,” said Robert. “I just had to put it on paper for everyone else to see. I rarely start writing the first draft with a whole story in mind — I am a visual person.

    Robert plans on shooting another short, a Sci-Fi horror called Alien Desert, before tackling the feature version of the The Birthing Field.

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    November 26, 2014 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6857

  • Veterans Make Films at New York Film Academy

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    Paul Meixner

    NYFA BFA student Paul Meixner was formerly stationed in Iraq

    New York Film Academy BFA Filmmaking student Paul Meixner is one of many students who served their country before joining NYFA. Meixner, who is orginally from Madison, Wisconsin, joined the army in 2002 and completed infantry and airborne training before volunteering for his first combat tour of Iraq in 2004, later becoming an infantry squad leader and combatives instructor. He then returned for a second tour of Iraq in 2009 as a Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) at an Iraqi training facility.

    Paul Meixner Iraq

    Meixner during his time serving in Iraq

    Meixner credits his family and military experience with giving him the discipline, drive, and determination he will need to succeed in school. Says Paul, “I know that sounds cheesy, but the military, especially ranger school, definitely helped to prepare me for the film industry. The parallels between the two are uncanny, especially when it comes to leadership.” Meixner says the Veterans Affairs Department at New York Film Academy has been more helpful than at other schools he has attended in the past. “They have more answers and information and they really hard work for you.”

    Paul Meixner NYFA

    Meixner on NYFA’s Universal Studios backlot

    In addition to his hectic school schedule, Paul is working on a web series with ThunderPunk Films, which launches at the end November. Created by Meixner, the project is a collaboration with other young filmmakers, in which they share their work, as well as reviews of books on filmmaking, writing, and acting. Meixner ultimately hopes to write, direct, produce, and act in dramas and character-driven action pieces. You can find Paul’s film projects on Facebook here and the ThunderPunk Films web series here. NYFA thanks Paul, and the hundreds of other veterans at our campuses, for their service and dedication.

    New York Film Academy’s Veterans Affairs Department can help veterans make the transition to civilian and campus life. Let them help simplify educational benefits and assist with post-deployment transition issues. New York Film Academy is proud to support the GI Bill, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the Yellow Ribbon Program. For questions about programs and workshops at the New York campus, contact Michael Caputo by email or call (212) 674-4300. For questions about the Universal Studios campus, contact Joey Zangardi or John Powers by email or call (818) 733-2600.

    Make sure to join the NYFA veterans community on our new Veteran Affairs Facebook page! Get veteran news, information on special events, and connect with other veterans!

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    November 8, 2011 • Acting, Veterans • Views: 4954