NEWARK, NJ  – During a special presentation on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored Tom Ryan for his accomplishments in the independent film industry. First and foremost a consummate artist, Mr. Ryan has culminated his many musical and artistic talents to focus on the independent film industry.

Always a dreamer, Tom Ryan never let his passion for storytelling slip away, whether on film, paper or from his own oratory. Early in life, at the age of seven, he began drawing his own comic books. As a teen, he began writing lyrics and became the front man of his own band; also playing rhythm guitar, drums, and bass. In addition to music, painting and sculpting became regular hobbies during college while studying the media arts. It was a natural progression that filmmaking would soon become his primary obsession.

Mr. Ryan has been inspired by many great directors, actors, and special effects artists throughout the history of film. He has been an avid fan and student of the art form from the moment he first laid eyes on the silver screen. In his work, one can glean the influences that shaped his childhood.

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In 2019, he officially obtained state licensing for his company as an LLC and he appears at local NJ Arts; Crafts Festivals, Film festivals, and conventions to promote independent filmmaking.

Maintaining a close relationship with the community and local businesses is Mr. Ryan’s way of raising awareness about the independent arts and giving back to the community. He has worked with and mentored many talented individuals and employed over 300 cast and crewmembers including musicians, painters and sketch artists since 2012. To his credit, his films have won multiple awards in several categories including Best Actor, Best Short film, Best Feature film, Best Soundtrack, and most recently Best Director.

While accepting his commendation, Mr. Ryan stated, “Independent artists are an essential part of bringing the community together.” He further explained, “Artists feel compelled to do what they do because their creativity refuses to lie dormant inside them.” He concluded by encouraging all in attendance to support the arts by visiting a gallery, film festival or book signing.

District 5 Freeholder Carlos Pomares presented the Commendation on behalf of the Board and noted his interest and advocacy for the arts. Additionally, Freeholders Robert Mercado, Rufus Johnson and Vice President Wayne Richardson were also on hand to share in the presentation.