Posted on November 21st, 2014 by Elsa Remak
This time last year, Easter Seals Dixon Center launched the first in a series of public service announcements focused on veteran employment. The PSAs were not the typical, tear-at-your-heartstrings videos that flood the airways. Led by an all-star veteran cast and crew, these 30-second spots use light humor to challenge public perceptions of returning veterans. The two PSAs were hits with veterans and civilians alike, and continue to air on broadcast and cable TV.
Looking ahead to 2015, the launch of our third installment in the series is shaping up to be the biggest one yet. This time, we’re collaborating with a famous Easter Seals friend who’s built an award-winning career around humor: Judd Apatow. Yes, you read that right—the producer, director, writer responsible for your favorite 21st century comedy is lending his support for a new Easter Seals Dixon Center PSA. In addition to being Hollywood’s favorite funnyman, Judd Apatow is a passionate supporter of veterans. He regularly employs veterans on his film sets and is excited to mentor an aspiring veteran filmmaker.
Earlier this fall our awesome partner, Veterans in Film and Television — a networking organization for veterans, created by veterans—put out a call to its 2,000+ members for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. One deserving filmmaker will get to spend time with Judd Apatow. The selected candidate will then use his or her knowledge from the experience to direct the upcoming Easter Seals Dixon Center PSA.
To say we were blown away by the submissions is a complete understatement. Over 50 inspiring filmmakers lent their time and talent to create an original PSA concept and video pitch to Judd and our team. Helping review submissions was hands-down, the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of. It was amazing to learn about the candidates and their visions for where we could take this next PSA.
After carefully reviewing each candidate’s video pitch, concept, prior experience and portfolio, we narrowed the field down to five fantastic veteran filmmakers. Stay tuned for an announcement of our winner in early December. For now, we’d like to highlight the amazing contributions of our top five. It’s my pleasure to introduce in no particular order Kevin, Rebecca, Jim, Patrick and Brayden:
- Kevin Resnick: Kevin is an award-winning writer, director, and actor who served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. After his service, Kevin made a career in acting, starring in several acclaimed films on the national festival circuit. Kevin’s writing and directing credits have screened in festivals worldwide, including the famed Cannes Film Festival.
- Rebecca Murga: Rebecca works in Los Angeles as a writer and director. In addition to her work in film, she is a Captain and Public Affairs Officer in the US Army Reserve who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rebecca’s work has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “The View” and in “The New York Times,” to name a few. Rebecca’s newest endeavor, “War Ink” is a project that brings together videos and photographs of tattooed service members, in an effort to bridge the divide between veterans and civilian communities.
- Jim Fabio: Jim got his start behind-the-camera as a Combat Camera Officer in the U.S. Air Force, producing documentaries and covering combat operations for the Department of Defense. Following his service, Jim continued to pursue his passion for filmmaking. He’s an accomplished director and producer, earning awards for his work in sports documentaries and music.
- Patrick Mulderrig: Director, Actor and Navy SEAL, Patrick Mulderrig has done it all. Patrick’s used his keen sense of humor to develop, Team Guys, a comedic feature on Navy SEALS. Patrick’s also in the process of developing a web series.
- Brayden Yoder: Brayden decided to pursue a career in film after first serving as a U.S. Army officer in Germany and Iraq. While serving as an officer, Brayden developed a passion for cross-cultural communication. He spent five years at the Film and Television Institute of India, developing his latest film, “Breakdown.”
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all 53 applicants. The submissions were incredible and we look forward to working with these talented men and women for future endeavors. We encourage you to view their portfolios and learn more about Veterans in Film and Television. Stay tuned for the big announcement after Thanksgiving!