Oz Magazine January / February 2024

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Contributing Editors

CAROL BADARACCO PADGET Cover Story: "SCAD Lands it's Latest Superpower", p.24 Feature Story: Green Giants, p.32 Carol Badaracco Padgett is an Atlanta-based writer who covers the professional film industry. A FOLIO: Eddie Award-winning editor, writer and copywriter, she is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s broadcast sequence and holds a Master of Arts in communication from Mizzou’s College of Arts & Science. She is also a member of Women in Film and Television Atlanta (WIFTA), and is working on her first screenplay under the guidance of Atlanta film industry mentors and friends. Her poetry of the past was chosen by Chanel for the launch of its Allure fragrance. In her downtime, she loves to watch films and live performances around Atlanta, spend time outdoors with her horse, August, play tennis, and make regular autumn trips across the Atlantic to experience the world and its cultures.

Adrena Walton Winston Andrews


Image Courtesy of SCAD

ASHLEY ROSSOLILLO Feature Story: "Assembly Atlanta. A Game-Changer for Dunwoody," p.38 Ashley is an alumna of Georgia College and State University with a BBA in Marketing. Currently, she serves as the Entertainment Coordinator at Discover Dunwoody, tasked with transforming Dunwoody into an entertainment and film industry hub. Beyond her professional pursuits, she channels her love for social media, entertainment, and marketing into insightful blogs, offering a glimpse into the dynamic intersection of these worlds.

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OzCetera: A compilation of recent news and hot projects, pgs. 6-23


My name is Winston Andrews. I am an Atlanta native, lifelong lover of film, and die-hard Falcons fan. Currently, I am a graduate student in the Accounting program at Georgia State.

/ozmagazine Oz Magazine is published bi-monthly by Oz Publishing, Inc. 2566 Shallowford Road Suite 104, #302 Atlanta, GA 30345 Copyright © 2023 Oz Publishing Incorporated, all rights reserved. Reproductions in whole or in part without express written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. This magazine is printed on recyclable paper.



Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.



6 OZCETERA A compilation of recent news and hot projects from and about the Georgia entertainment industry


38 FEATURE STORY "12 Minutes From Set to Bed" A Game-changer for Dunwoody



COVER STORY "SCAD Lands its Latest Superpower" SCAD unveils its new backlot

30 36

46 OZSCENE SCAD Holiday Spectacular 2023 WIFTA Gala



FEATURE STORY "Green Giants" ELectric Owl Studios. Georgia's greenest studio

January / February 2024


OzCetera Dashing Through the Snow's Teyonah Parris, Madison Skye Validum & Ludacris

Ludacris Christmas Movie


udacris is the star of a new Georgia and New York-lensed Christmas movie now streaming on Disney+. Direc ted by Tim Stor y, Dashing Through the Snowa follows Eddie Garrick, a divorced father and social worker for the Atlanta Police Department, who despises Christmas. When his ex-wife asks him to take care of their daughter on Christmas


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment. SINCE 1990

Eve, the two have a chance meeting with a named Nick dressed in red and hanging upside down in a chimney, leading to a wild adventure that might just be the saving grace for Eddie’s Christmas spirit. The movie is set in New York although it was mostly f ilmed in Atlanta. The production team traversed the "Peach State's Capital" to transform certain areas

into a New York replica for filming. Most notably, the crew was sighted decorating the road and shops on 64 Broad Street in downtown Atlanta. The rest of the cast includes Kevin Connolly, Janora McDuf fie, Teyonah Parris, Madison Skye Validum, Lil Red Howery, and Zulay Henao.

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OzCetera Assembly Atlanta Studios

Assembly Atlanta Opens Up


rey Television has officially opened Assembly Atlanta, a 135-acre mixed use property, in Doraville, Georgia. With 19 sound stages, the new development will quickly enter mass-scale film production while long-term plans to build a community around the studio, complete with office buildings, homes, retail outlets, parks, and an eSports facility, are underway. Atlanta has long been appreciated for its ability to mimic big cities for filming purposes at a fraction of the cost, and Assembly Atlanta is no different. The whole property including the parks and buildings are designed to be filmable. The streets are named after the unique


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locations that they are built to resemble and designed in a city grid system to create multiple routes for locals to get home when a movie is filming near their residence. “So, if you’re shooting on New York Street or Tribeca Street, you can close that street and go right around to where you live, work or play,” explained the developer, Jay Gipson. Though the film aspect plays a foundational role in the property design, there is also a strong urge to create a community-centered culture through parks, restaurants, and trails. “The public park on the outside will

have a pavilion. The pavilion can be designed for movie nights, concerts, or events that the city might have in there. We’re also doing a series of small restaurant buildings. Those buildings are exclusively for those restaurants that are sitting in this amazing food world of Buford Highway,” added Gibson. Developers expect the park to open within the year, and phase two of the project, apartments, retail, and hotels, will be underway for the next five-to-seven years. To read more about phase two and Assembly Atlanta’s local impact, check out page 38!

January / February 2024



100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta Present Award to gfa


he 100 Black Men of Nor th Metro Atlanta have presented an award to the Georgia Film Academy (GFA) in recognition of the comprehensive film, television, and esports learning event that welcomed more than 100 kids to their Fayetteville campus. “It is an honor to partner with 100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta to bring industry-aligned entertainment arts training to our youth,” said GFA’s executive director, Scott Votaw. “We are honored by this recognition and look forward to continuing partnerships in our communities.” As part of the event, the GFA offered Black youths the chance to see how film and production crews operate at Trilith Studios, the home of everything Marvel. There they got hands-on instruction from industry professionals working on production, post-production, special effects, and make-up stations. Actor Afemo Omilami and the Senior VP at Tyler Perry Studios, Mark Swinton, also joined the group to offer advice and encouragement. “Having the opportunity to see what it’s like to work in this industry behind the scenes is a phenomenal, life-changing experience that I think these young men will always remember,” added the 100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta’s president, Wayne Ellison. “We are very appreciative to GFA for helping expose our youth to something that they may not have otherwise gotten the opportunity to experience.”

Gwinnett Technical College Opens $42 Million Facility


he Georgia Technical College (GTC) has officially opened a three story, $42 million building dedicated to esports, cybersecurity, and computer information systems. Classes are currently underway using the new facility’s 29 classrooms, spanning 82,00 square feet. “We’re not only trying to bring things up to what students’ expectations are for college, but it’s also bringing up where we can deliver these programs in a setting that’s more conducive to that kind of instruction and that kind of reallife activity,” explained GTC President, Glenn Cannon. “…That gives employers a good sense of what kind of programs we’re running and the kind of employees they’re going to get. But we had been

doing it in makeshift spaces.” With the renovations complete, GTC is now looking to become one of the country’s best two-year/technical colleges by shifting their focus to new trends in the technological environment. “ Th e re a re t h re e a rea s we’re looking at for the future, two related to the new building, and we already have infrastructure ready to ramp up,” added Cannon. “ We’re looking at Ar tif icial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. Those are weaving together now and are coming on rapidly. The other next big thing is electric vehicles. You’re already seeing that in automotive programs. We’re getting ready to ramp up. When the need is there. There will be ready to meet it.”

Kevin Hart Filming in Atlanta


eacock has announced the creation of a limited series with Kevin Hart in the lead role. Fight Night, set on the day of Muhammad Ali's comeback fight in 1970, follows a fight-night party and the subsequent robbery of everyone there, promising an intriguing blend of action and comedy. Lars Jacobson's experience with projects like Day of the Dead: Bloodline


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment. SINCE 1990

adds a layer of expertise to the series while Kevin Hart will further showcase his versatility as an actor and comedian. The series boast s an impressive production team. Will Packer and James Lopez of Will Packer Productions as executive producers, known for successful projects like Girls Trip and film franchises such as Think Like a Man and Ride Along, brings a wealth of experience to the

production. The choice of Atlanta, often referred to as the "Hollywood of the South," for the filming location adds to the series' appeal. The city's reputation as a hub for highprofile movie and TV productions includes recent releases like Pain Hustlers, and Loki Season 2.

January / February 2024



New Study Examines Georgia Film Incentives Georgia has one of the most favorable film tax credits in the nation, leading to a flurry of economic development in the industry. Many have had their doubts about the viability of the incentives, suggesting that taxpayer dollars would be better spent elsewhere, but it has become increasingly difficult to deny the positive economic impac t that comes with produc tions flocking to the Hollywood of the South. According to a study by Olsberg SPI, a London-based consulting company hired by the Georgia Screen Entertainment C o a l i t i o n , G e o r g i a’s f i l m i n d u s t r y generated 8.55 billion in fiscal 2022, creating an estimated ROI of $6.30 for every taxpayer dollar spent on film while also employing north of 60,000 workers. “ Thi s s tu d y p roves t h e f i lm t a x incentive is working exactly as intended,” says the Coalition’s executive director, Kelsey Moore. “It has created high-paying jobs for Georgians, supports thousands


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment. SINCE 1990

of new and existing small businesses, and attracts billions in production spending and investment each year.” Olsberg SPI’s study has arrived at the right time, as the Georgia General A ssembly has created a task force to assess the effectiveness of ever y tax incentive/credit in the state. Many proponents are heavily lobbying for the continued existence of the film tax credits, and the results of the study raises many crucial points that suggest Georgia is better with them. They estimate that had Georgia not introduced the credits back in 2008, the state would be experiencing less than 8% of its current film activity. The study also highlights the complementary effect the roaring film industry has on studio construction. Georgia had roughly 50,000 square-feet of studio space before the tax credit was implemented. That number is now close to 6 million square-feet and

growing rapidly, generating over $1 billion in capital investments in the last ten years. This year alone, Great Point Studios b r o ke g r o u n d i n D o u g l a s C o u n t y ; Assembly Atlanta, one of the largest studio campuses in the world, and Electric Owl Studios, the first LEED Gold certified studio, recently opened their doors; and SCAD’s Savannah Film Studios has finished the first couple phases of its longterm expansion plans. “If alterations to the film tax incentive make our state no longer competitive for production, Georgians all across our state will be the ones that lose,” Moore warned. “It will leave tens of thousands of Georgians and their families without wages or benefits. It will halt the billions in capital investments, and production spending flowing to our communities and small businesses, and it will drive homegrown talent out of our state.”

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Cherokee County Christmas Movie


ith film and production crews flocking to Georgia, many local destinations are now recognizable on the big screen. One of these movies, Charlie’s Christmas Wish, premiered on Starz in November after filming throughout Cherokee County. Written, directed, and produced by long-time Georgia filmmaker Sue Ann Taylor, the Christmas flick follows Sgt. Major John Frost who returns home

for Christmas to find that his family has adopted Charlie, a little white puppy. Charlie befriends two homeless Vietnam veterans in dire need of support, leading Sgt. Frost to rally his family and local community around them for the Holiday Season. “We are thrilled that our holiday movie will be available to the 26.3 million Starz subscribers,” says Taylor. “Ultimately, we

are trying to raise spirits and awareness of the ongoing issues of homeless veterans.” The majority of filming took place in Ellijay, Canton, and Ball Ground while a local business, Jill’s Cakes and Bakes, is also mentioned by name in the movie.

Emory Minimizing Sports Injuries through Virtual Reality The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has extended a $4.5 million grant to the Emory Sports Performance and Research Center (SPARC) to establish the Georgia Initiative for Virtual Reality, Education, and Sport (GIVES) program. This program will utilize virtual reality (VR) technology to analyze scientific discoveries from EMORY SPARC, with a focus on minimizing injury risk for young athletes. The GIVES program, a school-based initiative, will leverage state-of-the-art VR technology to help youth and high school athletes train efficiently for their respective sports without risking their health. Trainers can use the resulting data to make precise decisions for which treatments to use after an injury and when


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment. SINCE 1990

a player is truly ready to return-to-play. “We will be able to train our student athletes using technology that is similar to what professional athletes use,” explained Flowery Branch High School’s Athletic Director, Jimmy Lawler. “The excitement around VR will not only help our students enjoy the benefits of injury-free physical activity and sport but will also position them for new career paths in science and technology.” Moving forward, the GIVES program hopes to foster an environment where athletes are far less concerned about injuries and can become more committed to their sports than ever. The project will kick off in Hall County at the IBM Performance Field and the Atlanta Falcons

practice facility, and the goal is to expand throughout metro Atlanta. “A s l ea d er s in di scover in g new met ho d s fo r injur y p reven t ion and school outreach care for athletes we are committed to helping youth throughout Georgia achieve their best abilit y in sports,” said the chair of the Department of Or thopaedics at Emor y and Chief Strategy Officer for Emory Healthcare, Scott D. Boden. “This starts with improving the availability of knowledge gained from injury prevention research. We are most excited with this program’s potential to uniquely engage school districts that are underserved and have limited access to these types of technologies or resources.”

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Filming in Atlanta


hostbusters: Frozen Empire star McKenna Grace has shared a new on-set photo from the upcoming blockbuster movie that wrapped up additional filming in Atlanta, Georgia this winter. In the newest addition to the classic Ghostbuster franchise, the Spengler family revisits the iconic New York City firehouse to join forces with the original Ghostbusters, who have established a paranormal activity research lab to refine their ghost-busting prowess. However, the unfortunate discovery of an ancient artifact releases a malevolent power threatening a modern-day Ice Age. A star-studded cast has joined McKenna Grace including: Bill Murray, Emily Alyn Lind, Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Celeste O’Connor, Annie Potts, Dan Aykroyd as well as director Gil Kenan. Filming took place in the UK and New York earlier this year with the premiere initially scheduled for December of 2023, but the actors and writers strikes delayed the process. Fortunately, the additional filming in Atlanta with the ensemble cast has not caused any further delays, and the film is expected to premiere on March 29, 2024. The full trailer for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire: has not been released, but fans are expecting it soon.

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OzCetera Maria HuQ

Sleek CoWork And Media Studio


tlanta is set to welcome yet another film studio as Mariah HuQ, former TV star and producer, has founded and opened Sleek CoWork and Media Studio. The new facility will operate as a one-stop-shop for film where members can collaborate and network for their projects. Sleek is complete with seven conference rooms, fitting anywhere from 2-25 people, as well as a smart conference and production room, a green screen studio with a cyc wall, and state-of-the-art nan-lite production lighting. HuQ’s talents go beyond just one side of the screen, as she is the creator and Executive Producer of Bravo’s hit

series Married To Medicine, now in its 10th season, while also starring as a lead character. She was recently honored on the CNN docuseries See It Loud: The History of Black Television, which recognized her as the first African American woman to create and executive produce an original show on Bravo. Her new studio has a prime location in the center of McDonough Square in South Atlanta, and as the Peach State continues to establish itself as one of the premiere places in the world to film TV and movies, HuQ plans to open more locations in other, smaller cities in Georgia. Currently, HuQ is working on her own talk show at Sleek

and is excited to host more productions in the near future. “It’s been a journey, but seeing the vision fulfilled was definitely worth the wait. Being a small business owner and working in the media has always been my passion,” explained HuQ. “I wanted to create a contemporary environment where other sav v y entrepreneurs or remote workers could optimize productivity and creativity. Stay tuned for a Sleek near you!” To learn more about Sleek, visit SleekCoWork.com!

Superman Filming at Trilith Studios


he DC Universe has fans excited with the announcement that Superman: Legacy will f ilm at Trilith Studios in Fayetteville, Georgia. Production will begin in March of 2024, and it's clear that the team is committed to delivering a high-quality production. James Gunn's reputation as a writer and director, particularly with his work on projects like Guardians of the Galaxy, adds an extra level of anticipation for what he'll bring to the Superman franchise,


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment. SINCE 1990

while David Corenswet is eager to bring a fresh take on the superhero. “It came to my attention before the internet got a hold of me,” said Corenswet back in 2019, "but my pie-in-the-sk y ambition is definitely to play Superman. I would love to see somebody do an upbeat, throwback (take on Superman). I love the Henry Cavill dark and gritty take, but I would love to see the next one be very bright and optimistic.” The casting choices of Rachel

Brosnahan as Lois Lane and María Gabriela de Faría as antagonist Angela Spice, a.k.a. The Engineer, further contribute to the anticipation surrounding the film. With a premiere expec ted in the Summer of 2025, fans have a bit of a wait ahead, but the promise of a new take on Superman, and the involvement of such a talented cast and crew make Superman: Legacy a project to look forward to in the DC Universe.


Dallas Austin

1996 Atlanta Olympics Documentary


tlanta Story Partners is now producing a documentary detailing the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and its economic impact on the city through the lens of former mayor Andrew Young and the CEO of Atlanta’s Olympic Committee, Billy Payne. The Games in Black & White will premiere in Spring of 2024 and features a soundtrack produced by Grammy awardwinning singer/songwriter Dallas Austin.


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment. SINCE 1990

Austin’s remarkable career has included many collaborations with renowned artists like TLC, Boyz 2 Men, Madonna, and Janet Jackson while producing more than sixty songs that landed on the Billboard Top 100. As the doc’s musical director, Austin is creating an original song as well as recruiting other artists to join the soundtrack. “When I heard about The Games

in Black & White and its focus on the friendship between Andy Young and Billy Payne, I wanted to be a part of it,” explained Austin. “The games had a huge impact on Atlanta’s hip-hop and creative community, and I’m hoping to add a bit of that storyline to the film. I see this film as a perfect way to add another verse to Atlanta’s amazing role in the global music scene.”

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OzCetera Samuel Laubscher and Chris Hunt on set Cinelease Studios & Three Ring Expand

Primal Screen Promotes Fumi Yozawato to Creative Director


umi Yozawa has been promoted to Creative Director at Primal Screen, an Atlanta-based design and motion studio. Her journey from a freelancer to an A nima t io n D i re c to r a n d n ow Creative Director highlights the studio's commitment to building talent from within. "Fumi has brought her vision to many of our clients’ most impactful projects here


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment. SINCE 1990

at Primal Screen,” said the studio’s CCO, Rob Shepps. “Her hallmark soulful style breathes life into every character and story. We look forward to the magic she will bring to this new challenge.” Yozawa's promotion ref lec t s the studio's dedication to excellence in design and animation through maintaining a toptier creative leadership team.

Primal Screen's impressive portfolio of clients, including Cartoon Network, Harry Connick Jr., Fitzco, Fred Rogers, Sesame Workshop, and SYFY, underscores the studio's exper tise and reputation as a premiere animation location in the Southeast.

Two journalists film the Georgia law enforcement riot line after being tear gassed in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. ‘Stop Cop City’ activists gathered from across the United States to attend the ‘Block Cop City’ march to the construction site for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. (Photo by Carlos Berrios Polanco/Sipa USA)


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This Is What Actors Are Getting In Their New Deal


he actors guild has tentatively agreed to terms on a new deal with Hollywood studios. The strike, one of the longest in Hollywood’s history at 148 days, put approximately 160,000 ac tors, stunt performers, voice artists, and a variety of other film workers on hold while they negotiated for a better piece of America’s $148 billion film industry. Following the new deal, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and Executive Direc tor Duncan Crabtree - Ireland announced that it features higher wages, streaming bonuses, and AI protection, creating a total package worth $1 billion in wages and benefits. At the start of negiotations, the actors union was looking for an 11% increase in wages, partly due to inflation, to which the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) countered with 5%. The sides eventually agreed on 7% with scheduled increases in 2024 and 2025. Similar to the wage increases, everyone knew streaming residuals would play a central role, especially considering the writers union recently signed a deal that includes increased foreign streaming


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment. SINCE 1990

residuals and a streaming bonus. The provisions of that deal equal 50% of the residual revenue for movies or TV shows that are viewed by at least 20% of the streamer’s domestic subscribers within 90 days of release. The actors union was initially asking for a flat 2% of streaming profits, but the AMPTP denied any attempts to secure that or any similar package. Instead, the sides agreed to a similar deal to the writers, consisting of a streaming bonus system where projects viewed by 20% or more of streamers' domestic subscribers within 90 days of release are eligible to receive money from a $40 million annual fund, totaling $120 million total for the three-year deal. The quest for AI protection was, and still is, the most hotly contested issue, although the SAG-AFTRA negotiating team feels that, “there is a robust and comprehensive set of protections for our members against the implementation of AI in the industry. It allows the industry to go forward. It does not block AI, but it makes sure that performers are protected, their rights to consent are protected, and

their rights to fair compensation and employment are protected.” Some believe the waters of AI are still murky due to a summary released by SAG-AFTRA stating that studios do not need to acquire performer’s consent when using AI for, “post-production alterations, editing, arranging, rearranging, revising or manipulating of photography and/or sound track for purposes of cosmetics, wardrobe, noise reduction, timing or speed, continuity, pitch or tone, clarity, addition of visual/sound effects or filters, standards and prac tices, ratings, an adjustment in dialogue or narration or other similar purposes.” More details are still to come, but the AI provisions seem to have room for growth moving forward, as the new contract passed with an 86% approval vote from the SAG-AFTRA National Board, and eligible members of the guild will vote to officially ratify the deal in the near future. In the meantime, the union has officially halted the strike, allowing filming and production to resume immediately.

Two journalists film the Georgia law enforcement riot line after being tear gassed in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. "Stop Cop City" activists gathered from across the United States to attend the "Block Cop City" march to the construction site for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. (Photo by Carlos Berrios Polanco/Sipa USA)

“Cop City” Documentary Underway


entureland, a California-based production company, has joined forces with Atlanta-based Tenderfoot TV to film a documentary detailing the escalating conflict around conflict surrounding “Cop City,” the new 85-acre Atlanta Public Safety Training Center currently under construction in a preser ved forest in DeKalb County. Additionally, Campside Media is creating a side-by-side podcast to further discuss the tumultuous events. Ever since former mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the development plans in the Spring of 2021, activists have bitterly contested the new facility through a variety of protests and demonstrations. The new documentary will explore this complicated situation through the lenses of the individuals entrenched in the dispute.

“ The debate over Cop Cit y is a micro cosm of w hat ’s hap p enin g in cities across the country,” explained the Co-Founder of Campside Media, Matthew Shaer. “ It brings together all these different discussions: about race, about policing, about urban development and environmental resources. I’m convinced that Atlanta in 2023 is the most interesting city in the U.S., and in Atlanta, there is no more fascinating, telling story than that of Cop City.” Mayor Andre Dickens, along with many other city officials, has continued to assert that the new training center is necessary to replace the city’s aging facilities, but environmental groups have jammed up the process at every turn through filibustering at city council meetings, forest, forest occupation, and organized protests.

In a shocking turn of events, an activist named Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran, was killed by police during an occupation of the contested land by the Defend the Atlanta Forest movement. For t y-two other protesters have been arrested for accusations of domestic terrorism. Five of them are now facing state charges. Three are facing money laundering charges in connection to bail funding. “Cop City" is uncovering a timely and relevant story that affects those in our own backyard,” added the CEO of TenderfootTV, Donald Albright. “We’re honored to partner with Ventureland and Campside, whose impact goals align with ours, and to make something the way we know best: through documentary-style storytelling, no matter the medium.” The documentary and podcast will premiere in Q1 of 2024. January / February 2024




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here in the world can a film student execute a running gurney shot into an ER? Prior to September 2023, the answer would’ve been “nowhere.” But that was before Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) opened its latest project: a powerhouse backlot on its Savannah, Georgia campus that rivals anything in Hollywood. Some may ask, what’s a backlot? It’s an area behind or next to a film studio that contains permanent exterior buildings for outdoor scenes in television or film production, as well as space for productions to build temporary sets as needed. In this case, SCAD’s new backlot adjoins the university’s 22,000 square foot Savannah Film Studios which houses three soundstages and includes lighting grids, post-production suites, a multi-purpose recording booth for automated dialogue replacement (ADR) and Foley recordings, a green room, and screening rooms. In 2021, a mammoth-sized, mixed reality LED volume stage with a 40’ x 20’ x 17’ LED screen display for virtual production was added to the studio. And now… the backlot has shot onto the scene, which SCAD Dean Andra Reeve-Rabb describes as the biggest, most extensive backlot at any university in the world. Especially notable, the backlot concept planning was done in association with Florida-based Paul Wonsek and Associates with final building designs and project implementation by SCAD Design Group. Wonsek was the production designer of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. “The genesis was, let’s create something that serves our students and our industry. Something that’s fully functioning to any production that comes to town and needs to use a backlot,” ReeveRabb says. SCAD does have an important caveat for visiting productions who use the backlot: “A team of students gets to work alongside them,” she states. This professional-production/studentteam scenario has worked out beautifully when SCAD employed the practice at its adjacent LED volume studio. An Apple TV show, Clean Slate, used the LED volume and called upon SCAD students as collaborators, the dean divulges. January / February 2024


REAL-WORLD LIFTOFF One student who has benefited from the professional-production/studentfilmmaker work arrangement is Brenden Mascherino, a SCAD senior in film and television production from Downingtown, Pennsylvania. At Savannah Film Studios, Mascherino worked on the feature film May December, starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, which gave him the opportunity to collaborate alongside director Todd Haynes – an experience the film student described as “magical.” 26

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“They handle film intentionally and are not afraid to take time and make one shot look great,” Mascherino says of the film’s professional crew. “We got to see the puzzle pieces come together.” May December was then screened at the 2023 SCAD Savannah Film Festival with director Todd Haynes in attendance. Mascherino is excited about what the backlot can offer him in the future once he graduates and steps into the real world where he hopes to work as a director of photography on narrative feature films. “I’m looking forward to coming back to Savannah…and to the backlot and making

films,” he muses. “I like the direction SCAD is going in, pushing the envelope and immersing young adults in the study of film.” Tellingly, SCAD’s backlot combines precisely the two things Mascherino may be looking for once he graduates: Savannah and everything-everywhere in terms of scene backdrops. The backlot houses an authenticlooking historic Savannah streetscape with a hardware store, a bakery/café, and a barber shop. Urban environments include alleyways and gas stations, while suburban environments include homes

and a town hall. Each setting was carefully thought out and designed, from a retail store to beautiful brownstones, a bank, Wall Street, and an ER for that running gurney shot. But why does Savannah, Georgia need a backlot with a streetscape of Savannah? “The backlot has its very own Savannah street because with all the production shooting here in Savannah, it has become more and more challenging for our students to get permits to shoot on location. So we put historic streets on our backlots,” Reeve-Rabb shares.

In the dean’s view, one of the most compelling components of the backlot is that each of these stores, shops, homes, and businesses feature fully built-out interiors. “It’s not just flat with no depth. You can actually enter these spaces and shoot within, and they’re climate-controlled,” she describes.

THE BACKLOT FROM MULTIPLE ANGLES One of the best things about adding the new backlot into the mix of production

superpowers at SCAD is that it increases the volume of student collaboration on professional film projects. Paul Stonick, Vice President of SCADpro, a collaborative creative design studio that prepares students to interface with business leaders, says this: “Students from high-ranked SCAD degree programs, ranging from film and television, acting, and production design to visual effects, animation, and immersive reality are collaborating and crossing the aisle to use the backlot, soundstages, and LED volume to create industry-ready projects.”

January / February 2024


The LED volume stage component alone has provided a wonderland of collaboration for students and has primed their interest in more. As Stonick describes, “Students working alongside industry leaders such as Deloitte, MGM Resorts, and WWE have used our LED volume stage for cutting edge visual presentations.” In addition, luxury jeweler David Yurman has engaged SCADpro to bring students from across disciplines to work on the brand’s holiday campaign, "Create Joy, Give David Yurman,’' which includes extensive filming on the volume stage. “By shooting at Savannah Film Studios, we remove all the barriers for [students]. They can focus on craft, storytelling, and narrative in an environment that looks just like the real thing,” Stonick says. Another reason their three superpowers – the film studio, LED volume stage, and new backlot – all work so well together for SCAD is simply this: Savannah is a chameleon with the power to pose as literally any place. “[The backlot's] first phase of Savannah street scenes is based on the same reason the industry chooses Savannah as a location: it’s a versatile place that can be turned into anywhere it needs to be,” Stonick notes. He adds, “So our students who are studying production design are also able to work as art directors and redress these buildings in real time.” Essentially, there’s no end to what the new backlot superpower will help SCAD students learn, no matter which creative discipline speaks to them best.



Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

By shooting at Savannah Film Studios, we remove all the barriers for [students]. They can focus on craft, storytelling, and narrative in an environment that looks just like the real thing." - PAUL STONICK

January / February 2024


WE NEED ANOTHER HERO What new and powerful opportunities will SCAD land next? Reeve-Rabb’s eyes sparkle when she says the word - “casting.” The story of her own film arts journey includes an internship in casting on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, which ignited her love for the art.


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

“Back then, SCAD would’ve been the perfect place for me,” the dean nods. She later went to work as an independent casting director in LA and New York and was a casting executive with CBS. “We’ve opened two casting offices at SCAD,” Reeve-Rabb shares – one in Savannah and, most recently, a second at the university’s Midtown campus in Atlanta.

Already superheroes, the casting offices have drawn the attention of studios and streaming platforms like Disney and Netflix. On the subject of casting – and probably everything else SCAD offers - Reeve-Rabb closes, “We’re the only university in the world that has that magnitude…we remain at the ready.”

We’re the only university in the world that has that magnitude…we remain at the ready." ANDRA REEVE - RABB January / February 2024





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ichael Hahn and Dan Rosenfelt are two guys with a major love for film and a passion for the planet. Hahn, an Atlanta native and former Third Rail Studios executive, is a real estate developer and the current CEO of Capstone South Properties, while Rosenfelt is an experienced film industry veteran with many years spent working as a producer in Philadelphia and Los Angeles before being hired by Hahn to run Third Rail Studios.

January / February 2024


Today, they’ve put their heads together as co-founders of Electric Owl Studios in DeKalb County, the world’s first fully sustainable film production facility. The new studio opened with a ribboncutting ceremony on June 8, 2023, as they launched their mission to help make the industry as a whole – historically somewhat of a carbon footprint nightmare – greener and less wieldy in the process. To do this, they’ve reenvisioned the traditional film studio and given Electric Owl a high quality boutique finish and feel – one with a decreased footprint. Components include 140,000 square feet of purpose-built sound stages, 90,000 square feet of mill and support space, 50,000 square feet of production offices, and a 35,000 square foot wardrobe and art building. Sustainable design elements at play in the studio include solar panels that offset 30% of power usage, the use of


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carbon-negative concrete, high-efficiency HVAC, bike racks and EOS electric bikes, solar powered golf carts; and other features. In the design process, they also significantly and intentionally cut back on the amount of waste the studio spews. “Some studios do this effort or that effort toward sustainability, but none have our focus. That was the genesis,” Rosenfelt says of the dream he and Hahn followed in the creation of Electric Owl Studios. Another added benefit is that Electric Owl is close to every place in town that productions want to be, according to Rosenfelt, immediately off I-285 on the East side of the city. “There’s lots of crew here, and there’s the proximity to the airports, to Midtown, to Buckhead. And there are so many diverse locations around us that give us a leg up on other studios around Atlanta,” he notes.

Seeing Green “When we started out to do this, there were two aspects: building it sustainably and then operating it sustainably after it was built,” Hahn notes from the development perspective. “The building we knew would be a challenge, and we picked LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold level certification in a program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, D.C.), so we’d have the most impact right out of the gate.” From there, the business partners looked at pricing, wondering if green building alternatives would be beyond their reach economically. “We determined we could do this for a very reasonable cost due to advances in construction and materials within the past 4-5 years,” Hahn adds. “It took us only 1% of our budget to build to LEED

Gold certification. And we’d love others to follow our lead.” There’s not necessarily a financial upside to Hahn and Rosenfelt’s green approach at Electric Owl. They don’t charge for sustainable features, like their 48 free plug-ins for electric vehicles which have gotten great response from people in the film industry. But even so, the green amenities at Electric Owl don’t go unnoticed. They help put the co-founders and their studio in a unique position to form partnerships with likeminded players, such as big studios who may be interested, universities, companies like Apple, and many others with sustainability departments that are committed to cleaning up from past years’ environmental degradation. “So we’re leading that, doing the right thing, and moving the needle just a bit,” Rosenfelt notes. “We want to be leaders in the space. And we’d love for people to take us as an example that this [level of sustainability] is achievable in their studios, even if they only do a portion.” Even after the Electric Owl facility achieved LEED Gold certification, Hahn and Rosenfelt's passion for environmentally sustainable practices and operations has only heightened. They want to do more – to pursue even greener dreams. As Rosenfelt describes, “Some things we [researched and included] weren’t even part of LEED, like adding food dehydrators in our catering buildings.” The dehydrators reduce the amount of waste by pulling water out of the food, so it takes up less space in landfills. And since rotting food releases methane gas that contributes to climate change, the dehydrators were right on-mission for the studio. For instance, when on-site caterers get to the end of a head of Romaine lettuce, the studio has them put it through the food dehydrator and uses the salvaged water for landscaping. “We also partnered with a company that picks up edible food immediately after food service and [takes] it directly to shelters,” Rosenfelt adds. Since film studios are big producers of Styrofoam waste, Electric Owl is...

January / February 2024


Michael Hahn


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...outfitted with Styrofoam condenser machines, as well. “Without them, Styrofoam would fill up our dumpsters fast. But the condensers squeeze it down into tiny cubes, and we use them over and over. Every bit helps,” Hahn says. Pollinator bee hives are part of Electric Owl, too. “We teach productions why bees are important, and we [produce] 90 pounds of honey a year to give away as crew gifts to productions,” Hahn notes, adding, “We do these things all around the studio, and we didn’t get extra LEED points for them, but they’re good for the environment, and they help people.”

Teaching Green Rosenfelt and Hahn are finding that the excitement and positivity around Electric Owl Studios is helping them share the message about the importance of environmental sustainability on a larger scale. “It starts with sustainability and extends into industry education and connecting people into this industry,” Rosenfelt says. As part of this, the co-founders are bringing in elementary, high school, and college students to learn about film and environmental sustainability. Rosenfelt describes it like this: “Look what you can do with your lives and your passions.”

Electric Owl Studios

As technology matures, he also envisions Electric Owl Studios at the forefront of virtual production. “We can really imagine in-studio filming for cost reasons and environmental reasons, so that productions don’t have to take trucks around the world,” Rosenfelt notes. “There’s a big future in virtual filmmaking within the confines of the studio.” But for right now, Hahn and Rosenfelt are poised for the flood of activity into Electric Owl Studios following the SAG-AFTRA strike. As Rosenfelt notes, “We’re all hands on deck, and we’ve put a great deal of thought into how each department operates. We did extensive research and interviews with department members

– asking them what do studios do right and what do they do wrong. We [built out] our departments in that fashion.” Rosenfelt adds, “We can fit a movie that needs massive space, but in a smaller footprint. And these productions get the attention they need [from our team] - we’re true partners to production.” When a show comes to Electric Owl Studios, he affirms, they’ll find what they need to succeed, sustainably. Next up for Electric Owl Studios (EOS): Hahn and Rosenfelt are creating EOS NYC and EOS London in 2024.

Dan Rosenfelt

January / Feabruary 2024


G A M E - C H A N G I N G


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By: Ashley Rossolillo n a resounding leap forward for the film and entertainment industry, Assembly Atlanta has recently opened its doors in the city of Doraville, Georgia. This new studio complex, born from the expansion of the renowned 3rd Rail Studios, introduces an impressive addition of 19 sound stages to the


existing three, for a total of 22 sound stages. But what sets Assembly Atlanta apart from other studios? It's not just the state-of-the-art facilities and talented crew; it's the captivating facades that transport you to iconic locations around the world, from the vibrant streets of New Orleans to the grandeur

of New York and the charm of Europe. This immersive experience is just the beginning, with Phase 2 of Assembly Atlanta promising an exciting public component that will undoubtedly leave its mark on the community and the wider region.

January / February 2024


Assembly Studios Gate 1. Courtesy of Assembly Studios

Novo Cucina

Iron Hill Brewery

The impact of Assembly Atlanta on the local community, particularly in the nearby city of Dunwoody, is poised to be nothing short of transformative. Located just 12 minutes from set to bed, Dunwoody is primed to benefit from the studio's presence in a multitude of ways. The city is home to 10 hotels, each set to experience increased occupancy as production teams, talent, and visitors seek convenient accommodations. Furthermore, the city's shopping scene, exemplified by the renowned Perimeter Mall, is bound to see a surge


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in activity, with an influx of patrons enjoying retail therapy during their downtime. As the cast and crew finish their work on the sound stages, Dunwoody's restaurant scene is ready to welcome them with a variety of culinary options to suit every taste. The city's diverse selection of restaurants will cater to the tastes of those seeking a quick bite or a memorable dining experience. Beyond hotels, shopping, and dining, Dunwoody's entertainment scene, featuring popular locations

like Ashford Lane, and the upcoming Campus 244 and High Street developments, is poised for a remarkable boost. The influx of thousands of daily workers at Assembly Atlanta, 10% of whom are anticipated to be from out of town, will ensure a steady flow of visitors looking to explore the city's entertainment offerings. With a wide range of activities and venues to choose from, these visitors will have no shortage of options for their leisure time.

Donaldson-Bannister Farm

The economic impact doesn't stop at the consumer level; it extends to job creation as well. Approximately 90% of the thousands of daily workers at Assembly Atlanta are expected to be local residents, who will be fortunate to seize career opportunities within the film and entertainment industry, boasting attractive benefits and growth potential. This not only provides stable employment but also bolsters the local economy and ensures that the benefits of this cinematic expansion are enjoyed by the broader community.

12 Minutes From Set to Bed


January / February 2024


Lawn at Ashford Lane


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The influence of studios like Assembly Atlanta stretches far beyond the city limits. The state of Georgia, already known for its enticing tax incentives, has become a hub for film and television production. With an increasing number of studios choosing Georgia as their home base, the state is creating a significant impact on the national and international entertainment industry. Not only does

it attract filmmakers, actors, and crew members, but it also stimulates local businesses and services, contributing to the state's economic prosperity. As the film and entertainment industry continues to thrive in Georgia, the potential for expansion into areas like Dunwoody is promising. The positive impact of Assembly Atlanta's opening on the community and the broader region highlights the role of

the film industry in fostering economic growth and enhancing the cultural fabric of the area. We eagerly welcome productions to Georgia and, hopefully, to the vibrant community of Dunwoody, where our diverse offerings and hospitality provide a warm and inviting backdrop for the creative world of entertainment.


January / February 2024



SCADshow Goes Aglow With FirstEver Holiday Spectacular


n a nighttime performance with an aura all its own, the Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Bee Sharps elite student vocal ensemble shared the stage this season with world-class alumni stars. A packed house celebrated the holiday experience and joined in for carols on Friday, Dec. 8 at the new SCADshow theater in Midtown Atlanta. Professional vocalists – also SCAD alumni - who returned home for the holiday performance include Candice Glover, American Idol winner (BFA dramatic writing, 2022 and mentor for the Bee Sharps) and Showtime at the Apollo winner George Lovett (BFA performing arts, 2011). Glover and Lovett were joined by Tony Award-winner Adrienne Warren of Tina: A Tina Turner Musical and award-winning stage actor Michael James Scott, who portrayed Genie in “Aladdin” on Broadway and internationally. Scott also owned the stage as master of ceremonies before a fully decked-out SCADshow house. Staging design included professional sound, lighting, and projection. and an on-stage band with strings. Music director of Broadway acclaim and accompanist for SCAD ensembles Kim Douglas Steiner provided the piano backdrop, conducting the evening’s performances straight from the stage. Performing 20+ holiday and Christmas classics, the professional alumni performances alongside the Bee Sharps capped off SCAD’s 45th year of creating star-power entertainment. The Holiday Spectacular was directed by Mike Evariste, a Tony Award-nominated producer, actor, and SCAD’s artistic director of executive ensembles. According to SCAD representatives, the Holiday Spectacular marks the first performance in what will be a yearly tradition at SCADshow in the newly unveiled, state-of-the-art FORTY FIVE mixed-use complex on the Midtown campus. Alongside SCADshow, the complex includes student residential housing, academic facilities, health and wellness components, and creative greenspace. On Thursday, Dec. 14, the SCAD Holiday Spectacular ran again in Savannah, Georgia at the historic Lucas Theatre for the Arts. Learn more about SCAD, SCADshow, the Bee Sharps, and the new FORTY FIVE complex at SCAD’s Midtown Atlanta campus at www.scad.edu/locations/atlanta.


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IMAGES 1. American Idol winner, Candice Glover

3. SCAD Group photo

2. Showtime at the Apollo winner George

4. Savannah College of Art and Design’s elite vocal group, Bee Sharps


* Photograps courtesy of Wendy Gardner SCAD University

January / February 2024



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