America has been at war for more than fifteen years—the longest period in its history. More than 2.5 million men and women have served since 9/11, and more than 1.5 million have separated from the service since then. Today, more than 500 service members will become civilians; 65-80% have not lined up a job to help them reenter the civilian workforce.
There are more than 22 million veterans living in the United States. Here at VIFM, we believe:
…veterans are our nation’s greatest resource.
…supporting veterans is a nonpartisan and humanistic endeavor.
…our community is strengthened when veterans are fully integrated into it.
…veterans possess unique qualities that transfer to media production.
…veterans have already paid for our support by their service to our nation.
It’s an unfortunate reality that many veterans find it difficult to reintegrate into their communities. They have a hard time answering the question, “Who am I now I no longer wear the uniform?” But, at VIFM, we believe we can help them find a way to transfer many of the skills they may not even know they possess into a new team and a new mission; into a job that provides meaningful, fulfilling work; that can be performed in any city in any market around the world; and allows them to be independent entrepreneurs.
The team-based structure of working with a crew in filmmaking, video production, or any media enterprise is similar to the teamwork required to operate effectively in the military. This familiar environment and work structure helps re-engage veterans and integrate them back into the civilian world. Working alongside mentors, teachers, and fellow veterans in the community at large makes them a necessary and integral part of our civilian world.
Creating media focuses skills learned in and valued by the military in new ways. Veterans have a work ethic uncommon among their civilian counterparts, possess a commitment to completing a goal, familiarity with a structured chain of command, and a robust sense of mission. These skills make veterans valuable employees in any industry, but are especially applicable to what we teach here at VIFM.
Success in the military requires teamwork and creates bonds that are not often replicated in the civilian world. The transition to civilian life can leave veterans feeling disconnected from their families, coworkers and community. But, working in media production helps veterans connect—with their crew and with the larger community—and find a way to navigate through this transitional phase of their lives.
VIFM Executive Team
CEO & President, Dallas Film Society /
Executive Director, Dallas International Film Festival
Johnathan Brownlee is an award-winning executive producer, director and writer with a career spanning more than two decades. The Veterans Institute for Film & Media is Johnathan’s brainchild, and he leads the team to bring the vision to reality. His feature films, documentaries and broadcast television work have been viewed in more than 100 countries in 14+ languages, and have appeared on every major US and Canadian network. During his career, Johnathan has created digital content and brand films for major corporations and online companies from Home Depot to American Airlines and the Salvation Army to Greenpeace. He has shot in more than 20 countries around the globe working with talent such as Helen Hunt, Jerry Seinfeld, Luciano Pavarotti, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen and Angelina Jolie. Additionally, Johnathan has taught, lectured and consulted at institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Vancouver Film School, NYU, and Dallas’ Booker T. Washington High School for the Arts.
Maggy Croxville, Director
Maggy Croxville is a former Marine, serving in the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Camp Pendleton as a test equipment calibration and repair specialist and Quality Assurance Officer. In her role for the Veterans Institute for Film and Media, Maggy is responsible for leading the charge on recruiting applicants, enlisting advisors and volunteers, and finding the capital to sustain the growth of the organization. She has an extensive training and technical and marketing background in the IT industry, working for government contractors, the Department of Energy, and multiple IT companies, such as EDS and Texas Instruments, in the Dallas Metroplex. With more than 20 years of experience as a volunteer in a variety of leadership roles for numerous organizations within the Prosper Independent School District and the Town of Prosper, Texas, Maggy established multiple programs to serve students and the community as the town experienced unprecedented growth.
VIFM Advisory Council
Barb Barton Weiszhaar, Advisory Council Member
Ms. Weiszhaar is the SVP Global Tax, HP. The tax team has 120 team members in 23 countries. Prior to becoming the Head of Global Tax, Ms. Weiszhaar was a VP in HP’s global tax team leading provision, operations, global transaction taxes, systems and processes, and global client/vendor deals. Prior to HP, Ms. Weiszhaar was tax director of EDS and has over 30 years of tax experience. She is an active member in several HP working groups: North Texas LGBT Exec Sponsor, Exec Sponsor of the Global High Potential Mentoring Program, Exec Sponsor Veteran’s Group and HP’s Diversity Council Finance representative.
Ms. Weiszhaar has an MBA from UNT and a B.B.A. in Accounting from Texas State. She was previously on the Dallas Chapter Board of Directors for Tax Executives Institute (TEI) and previous chapter president. She is currently an officer and Board Member for the Council on State Taxation; and a member of the Komen North Texas Board.
Outside of work, Ms. Weiszhaar likes to spend time with family, friends, and her charities of Veteran support, child advocacy, breast cancer awareness, police and service support organizations, and animal rescue. Ms. Weiszhaar resides in Plano, Texas.
Additional Board Member bios coming soon!