Just north of Los Angeles, in a 4-acre, gated and secure movie compound, a real-life story of cinematic proportions is unfolding.
Here, at the Lifton Institute of Media Arts & Sciences (LIMS), homeless veterans from throughout the city are trained to plan, coordinate and fully execute a feature film production, along the way developing a whole new career.
Vets choose a trade skill they’re passionate about then train in that department throughout the program. Upon completion, they leave the Lifton Institute with the necessary skills and experience to walk onto a film or television set with confidence and the proven ability to do a masterful job.
The focus of the program is to create stability for homeless veterans by offering immersive training, job placement opportunities, and a path towards financial self-sufficiency. By providing these opportunities, veterans are able to pursue and build a successful career in the Film and TV industry, becoming part of a powerful and supportive network that gives new purpose to their post-military lives.
Since the inception of the VET 50 program less than one year ago, over 80 vets have found a new lease on life. In fact, the program’s been so successful, the Institute is readying the launch of VET 200, which will improve the lives of hundreds of homeless veterans. It couldn’t come fast enough. L.A. County has long had the highest concentration of homeless veterans in the nation, currently over 3,000. In fact, some 3,538 veterans countywide are still without permanent housing, according to the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.*
The programs are the brainchild of LIMS President, Jimmy Lifton, who you’ll meet today. Jimmy’s produced 18 feature films and has won 5 Golden Reel Awards and 2 Emmys. His work has ranged from collaborations with Ray Bradbury to being a solo artist on Atlantic Records. He’s also a longtime member of First Entertainment, we’re proud to say.