Honoring Veterans in Entertainment Here in Hollywood

On Saturday, November 9, the school hosted its 10th Annual Salute to honor military students and alumni who have served our country. This is a special tradition at The Los Angeles Film School in observance of Veterans Day. It’s our way of recognizing the brave men and women who protect our country’s freedom and the freedom of future generations.

Military Veterans Film Festival

For the first time, the Military Department in collaboration with the campus events staff hosted a Military Veterans Film Festival as part of its Annual Salute. The festival featured shorts from seven military filmmakers. All participants were either active military or veteran students and alumni. Their films ran the gamut of personal stories that deal with PTSD to underrepresented communities and low-income households.

Veteran alumnus George Ohan produced two of the films in the festival—Whole ‘Nother Level and Sandstorm. In 2013, Whole ‘Nother Level was selected for the Cannes Film Festival’s Court Métrage. Both Ohan and writer/director Bruce Gordon traveled to France that year for the festival. The filmmakers came back to the L.A. Film School to showcase the short at our inaugural Military Film Festival.

“It’s like a family reunion to me,” said Ohan. “These people are military, these people are filmmakers from The Los Angeles Film School, and I’m excited about meeting people I haven’t met yet.”

George spent eight years in active duty as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Armed Forces before studying film at The Los Angeles Film School.

“The types of stories I want to tell are always about community stewardship,” said Ohan.

2019 Festival Winners

A special congratulations to the winning films: Papaya (short form) and Slipping Into Darkness (long form).

Short-Form Winner, Papaya: Written and directed by Kayleb Lee (LAFS alum)

Papaya is a love letter to cultural identity. The film follows the “life” of papaya and takes a glimpse at a family beyond the Southeast Asian diaspora. A young mother’s unspoken trauma is triggered but also comforted by.

Long-Form Winner, Slipping Into Darkness: Written by David Mansanalez and directed Alex Ferrufino (both LAFS alumni).

Slipping into Darkness is a story of Juanito “Jay” who is struggling not to follow in his father’s footsteps. Jay’s life changes dramatically when an old friend is released from prison, and they cross paths, stirring up a past life of bad habits. With the weight of Jay’s financial difficulty and family responsibility, he’s presented a choice that could devastate his life.

“This film was created by Alex and I, from personal life experiences. We created this film to empower the Latino community and to break the cycle of generational incarceration,” said Mansanalez.


A special thanks to all our veterans in entertainment who joined us for the 10th Annual Salute!


LA Film School Annual Salute

Filmmakers from the short film “Sandstorm”

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