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This filmmaking school for vets will make you want to pick up a camera

John Ford, Frank Capra, and Oliver Stone are just a few the historic filmmakers who had a significant impact on Hollywood but who also swore an oath to protect our nation against all enemies foreign and domestic.


During their service, veterans experience life-changing events that can provide them with character development, a deep inner sense of self-confidence, and... a full arsenal of TV and film ideas.

More and more veterans are making the journey from warfighter to artist or storyteller.

Founded in 1992, the New York Film Academy (NYFA), is one of the largest independent film and acting schools in the world, offering innovative curriculum, award-winning instructors, and the highest quality professional equipment, classrooms, and studios at our campuses in New York City, Los Angeles, and South Beach, Fla.

Related: 5 Hollywood directors who served and filmed real wars

There are many schools where veterans can use their G.I. Bill benefits and/or the Yellow Ribbon Program, but one film school located in Los Angeles goes above and beyond to develop and promote veteran success as they enter the entertainment industry.

Legendary Hollywood actor Joe Mantegna films The Soldier's Project PSA using the veteran students from the New York Film Academy. (Source: Eric Milzarski)

"Whether your ambitions are to write films, direct, produce, or star, the New York Film Academy has a place for you. NYFA gave me the skills I needed to transition into of narrative filmmaking," Army veteran and New York Film Academy alumni Eric Milzarski says.

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.

The increasing strength of their veteran community allowed NYFA to create the V.S.A., or the Veteran Student Association, which brings students from the different branches together to collaborate on various filming projects.

Also Read: These five Hollywood film directors captured war by going there

With satellite schools located all over the world, the NYFA administration devotes itself to constructing a class structure that enables students more one-on-one time with their experienced film instructors.

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.

Medal of Honor recipient Col. Jack Jacobs (retired Army) serves as NYFA's Chair of Veterans Advanced Program. (Source NYFA.edu)

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.

NYFA has been privileged to enroll more than 1500 veteran students and military dependents at our campuses in New York City, NY; Los Angeles, California 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 for tuition and fee free. 

We have welcomed numerous industry colleagues of yours at NYFA to meet with our veteran students – including Stephen Lang, Joe Mantegna, Mel Gibson, and Joe Lisi.

Veteran Students have interned with WATM, Voltage Pictures, Lionsgate, NFL Films, Mar Vista Entertainment, and at We Are The Mighty.

Check out the New York Film Academy Veterans Affairs Office's video below to see how this institution has impacted the veteran community in Hollywood.

(New York Film Academy, YouTube)
To contact NYFA visit veteran@nyfa.edu or call 818-333-3558.

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