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film. tv. entertainment.


STAFF Publishers:


CONTRIBUTORS Christine Bunish

Feature Story: The Big Ground Game, p. 40

Christine Bunish has been a writer and editor covering the professional film, video, broadcast and advertising industries for more than 25 years. She was a writer at Broadcast Management/Engineering and World Broadcast News and an editor at Millimeter before going freelance. cbunish@gmail.com

Tia Powell (Group Publisher) Gary Powell

Editor-in-Chief: Gary Powell

Associate Editor:

Zachary Vaudo


Michael R. Eilers Martha Ronske Kris Thimmesch

William Hollis

Voices: The Malcontents, the Prospering and the Ambitious, p.53 William is an Atlanta native. He spent several years working across departments in production in order to gain a batter understanding of the whole process. He is presently writing and acting to learn more about the other side of the camera in the hopes of directing his own features someday.


Christine Bunish William Hollis Isadora Pennington

Creative Director: Kelvin Lee

Isadora Pennington

Production and Design:

Cover Story: 30 Years of 479, p.34

Isadora is a photojournalist and multidisciplinary artist. Born in Nashville, TN, she spent her early life moving often between states on the East coast, before settling in Atlanta to attend Georgia State University, where she got her BA in Studio Art. She has worked as a designer and photographer for local print publications, and has also discovered a joy for writing, specifically when it’s about artists and their work. A lover of all things creative, she stays busy with new projects that span a broad spectrum of mediums. www.isadorapennington.com

Kelvin Lee Michael R. Eilers Ted Fabella (Oz Logo Design)

Cover Image: Bill Mayer

Bill Mayer

Cover Artist Bill Mayer is a multi-award winning illustrator who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies. He works in illustration, advertising, design, character development, editorial, consulting and has won hundreds of national and international awards. Mayer’s recent accomplishments include five gold medals, three silvers, and two bronze in Society of Illustrators events across the U.S. www.thebillmayer.com

www.ozmagazine.com www.facebook.com/ozmagazine www.twitter.com/ozpublishing www.instagram.com/ozmagazine (404) 633-1779 Oz Magazine is published bi-monthly by Oz Publishing, Inc. 2566 Shallowford Road Suite 104, #302 Atlanta, GA 30345 Copyright © 2017 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.


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Oz Magazine

Seeks Next Generation of Artists

See page 58




50 Eat, Drink, & B-Indie: Behind the Scenes with ATLFS


A compilation of recent news and hot projects, from and about industry leaders.


50 New Mavericks Film Series 51 re:imagine/ATL Final Showcase: Film & Social Justice



Cover Story

30 Years of 479: A Look at the history and members of Atlanta’s IATSE Local




How I Got Into The Business

53 Voices

The Malcontents, the Prospering and the Ambitious

Feature Story The Big Ground Game: Touring Some of Atlanta’s Studios and Stages





Let Me Give You My Card

Oz Scene

46 The 2016 WIFTA Gala


48 Fox Casting Mix and Mingle 49 Georgia Film Academy Graduation and OneYear Anniversary


Next Generation Presenting Georgia’s emerging artists



January / February 2017



A Good Man Features A Good Man


tlanta producer Ed Richardson, one of the founders and managing par tners of Atlanta Metro Studios, is now in active development on a feature film adaptation of Georgia native Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find. Richardson is producing with Mike Sears (A Warrior’s Heart) and David Zander (Spring Breakers). The screenplay for the feature adaptation was written by Benedict Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald previously adapted Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood for director John Huston, and among many other f ilms, Fitzgerald was also the screenwriter of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, known as the highest grossing independent f ilm of all time. Additionally, Fitzgerald has a deep connection with the literary source material and its author. His parents, Robert Fitzgerald (translator of Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey) and Sally Fitzgerald (O’Connor biographer) were close friends of O’Connor. In fact, O’Connor lived, wrote Wise Blood and occasionally baby-sat in the Fitzgerald home while Benedict was growing up in Ridgefield, CT. Flannery O’Connor is widely recognized as one of the most important American writers of the 20th century. She left an indelible mark on American literature, far transcending the borders of her native South. O’Connor’s writings offer deep insight on the fallen nature of


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

mankind through original sin. Throughout her writing life, O’Connor won numerous awards, among them grants from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the Ford Foundation, as well as a fellowship from the Kenyon Review. She was a six-time winner of the O. Henry Award for Short Fiction and was posthumously awarded the 1972 National Book Award for Fiction for The Complete Stories. Although the award is usually given to a living writer, the judges deemed O’Connor’s work so deserving that an exception was made to honor her lifetime achievement.

In November of 2009 at the 60th National Book Awards ceremony in New York City, Flanner y O’Connor was selected as “The Best” of all previous National Book Award for Fiction Award Winners since 1950. Of the 77 previous National Book Award for Fiction winners since 1950, O’Connor was chosen over finalists including William Faulkner, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Thomas Pynchon and Ralph Ellison. Richardson’s production of the film adaptation of A Good Man is Hard to Find is slated to film on location throughout Georgia in 2017.


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January / February 2017


OZCETERA Dan Rosenfelt in Main Space A

Third Rail Studios Hires Dan Rosenfelt


hird Rail Studios, Atlanta’s newest full service TV and feature film production studios, has hired Dan Rosenfelt as its president of operations. An experienced studio and production company executive, Rosenfelt ran Riverfront Stages in Los Angeles for the past f ive years. At Riverfront, some of his clients included Scandal, Brooklyn NineNine, Castle, How to Get Away With Murder, Criminal Minds, NCIS and the upcoming Netflix series GLOW. Prior to running Riverfront Stages, Rosenfelt worked as a film and TV development and production executive for George Clooney and


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures, where he helped develop projects such as The Ides of March and the Academy Award winning Argo. Rosenfelt was also previously VP of development for Paradox Enter tainment (Lionsgate’s Conan the Barbarian remake) and director of development for Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road Pictures, where he worked on I Am Legend, The Da Vinci Code, and Hancock. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Rosenfelt began his career working in physical production in Philadelphia, scouting locations for projects such as M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Third Rail Studios,” says Rosenfelt. “We’re going to set the bar very high here. We aim to make world class customer service, technology, and ease of use for productions the defining traits of Third Rail Studios.” Since coming aboard Third Rail Studios, Rosenfelt has brought in father-son buddy comedy, An Actor Prepares, starring Jeremy Irons and the New Line feature film Rampage, starring Dwayne Johnson, which will occupy the entire facility into mid-2017.


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January / February 2017



DigitalGlue Opens in Atlanta


igitalGlue, a leading equipment, integration, and software development provider for the production and distribution of digital video, has opened a new studio office in Atlanta. With its innovative new space, DigitalGlue of fers customers equipment demos, training, VR (Virtual Reality) and post production facilities, expanding beyond the company’s traditional role in broadcast contribution and distribution. Located near Atlanta’s Westside area, close to such popular areas as Midtown and Atlantic Station, the company’s new offices are nestled within a film and television studio with 27,000 sq. ft. of studio space featur-

ing production facilities and other amenities such as a training/conference room, a dedicated post-production room, and multiple Silverdraft supercomputers for immersive Virtual Reality, BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve, and 3D animation. “This new facility is way beyond a traditional sales office,” says Tim Anderson, CEO of DigitalGlue. “What we are providing to this flourishing TV and film production community in Atlanta is a complete DigitalGlue workflow laboratory. We want customers to come in, try out new technologies, tools and solutions, learn more about how to use them, and even be able to complete projects in our post pro-

DigitalGlue’s expanded services include TV production and post.

duction suite. No one else is doing anything like this. We’ve created a complete, end-to-end technology environment that demonstrates to industry professionals how they can save time and add value.” With construction on the new space now completed, DigitalGlue plans to hold a multiday grand opening for broadcast, TV production and post production professionals and vendors. Not all details regarding the grand opening have been released, but it will feature full product line demonstrations from the company’s numerous vendors.

Still from Second Chances

Mad Hat Creative Wins Foot Locker and ASICS Campaign


tlanta-based production company Mad Hat Creative’s film, Second Chances, was named the winner of Foot Locker and ASICS America’s “Real Lives. Real Runners.” campaign for 2016. “Real Lives. Real Runners.” is a national contest that invites filmmakers to capture inspirational running stories in short, documentary-style films. The winning film from Mad Hat Creative was broadcast during cover-


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

age of the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on ESPN and ABC. The Mad Hat Creative team that conceptualized and created the winning film includes director Sean Brown, director of photography Misha Mazor and producer Stephanie Martucci. Their film tells the story of Matthew Williams, who was training to run in the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon in honor of his late father.

Williams is in his sixth year of sobriety and during his journey, running has been more than just exercise – it has been a time of reflection, meditation and gratitude. He shared his story in hopes of empowering young adults to defeat addiction and get a second chance at life. Second Chances can be viewed on the Foot Locker YouTube channel.


L to R: Chief Technology Officer Irtaza Barlas, User Experience Consultant Carol Bales, CEO John Adcox, Chief Creative Officer Don Dudenhoeffer, and advisor Suresh Sharma

Gramarye Media Knows Franchises


tlanta startup Gramarye Media, Inc. a company incubated through Georgia Tech’s Flashpoint business accelerator, is applying rigorous disciplines to content discovery for film, television, games, virtual and augmented reality, and other media. “Studios are increasingly risk-averse, so they are turning to sequels and remakes,” Gramarye CEO John Adcox said. “However, without exception, the executives we talked to agree with J.P. Morgan analyst Vasily Karasyov, who said the cycle of sequels and remakes has played out, and presents a growing risk to film industry profitability.” For the most part, executives perceive original content as too risky, because it lacks brand awareness. “At Gramarye Media, we take a new approach,” Adcox explained. “We discover and incubate original content … giving

potential franchises a track record and a built-in audience.” The Gramarye Media team selects content slates with both storytellers and investors in mind, molding each potential franchise with unique characteristics that drive financial results. The company employs an incubation process, along with expert mentors and proprietary technology, to discover and vet original content for tent pole franchises. In addition to submitting portfolios of stories to a rigorous incubation process led by an “A-list” team of industry professionals, Gramarye vets each property directly with audiences, using a proprietary technology and social media platform. “We publish each property as an ‘eBook 2.0’ app for tablets and smartphones,” Adcox said. “These immersive reading experiences make help audiences get

utterly lost in a story.” Gramarye Book apps combine text, video, music, games, audio narration, social media, and more to make a beautiful and engaging reading experience. While the book apps generate significant revenue, the true “gold” is in the ones that stand out with audiences, measured by sales, community participation, viral shares, game decisions, and more. “The interactivity allows us to mine rich preference data through primary observation of user interaction with a specific story — not a comp — eliminating the bias and unreliability of traditional analytics,” per CFO Jon Wroblewski. “Thus, we can mitigate much of the risk of developing a potential event transmedia franchise.”

January / February 2017



CATMEDIA’s First Feature in the Can


ATMEDIA’s entertainment division is producing its first fulllength feature film, Mnemosyne. The film, which began production in February 2016, is currently in post-production. Writer and director William Warren originally wrote Mnemosyne as a five-act play. “The story was actually a combination of two different ideas I had at different times,” Warren explained. “Years ago I was driving home from Virginia listening to NPR, and I heard a story about scientists who had seemingly implanted memories into some lab rats. And that idea kind of stuck with me for a while as something I wanted to write about. Years passed, and one night I was watching TV and a commercial came on concerning a show about a cult on an island. It looked pretty awful, but I thought—I can do something like that. So I opened up my laptop, and about 10 months later I had a very rough, very long play typed out. Little did I know that three months later I would be working to produce it as a movie.” Mnemosyne is a southern-gothic thriller that delves into the world of a mysterious, sequestered commune. It follows the story of Cam, the son of Pastor, the tyrannical yet charismatic leader of the island. When Cam’s sister, Reilly, falls ill, he must find a way to get her to safety or watch her die. Together with his friend, Hannah, Cam discovers the sinister nature of the island. A harrowing game of memory and manipulation unravels—revealing that things are not always what they seem. Mnemosyne is slated for distribution in early 2017.


Gala, Anyone?


By Zachary Vaudo


Telling compelling brand stories


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

he 5th Annual Georgia Entertainment Gala will convene in Februar y at the Georgia World Congress Center for a night of elegance and showcasing the immense talent that Georgia has to offer in the entertainment industry. The Georgia Entertainment Gala has garnered the support of a number of community leaders, brands, and organizations to provide a unique celebration with live entertainment, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and more. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will also benefit two charities: Camp Dream and Kate’s Club. Leading up to the Gala, the Georgia Highlight Award winners have already been announced via the Gala’s Facebook page, including Ted Turner, Barbara Garvey (East Coast Talent Agency), actress Logan Browning, and Deidre McDonald (BronzeLens Film Festival).


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January / February 2017


OZCETERA SAG-AFTRA members on the Insomniac Games, Inc. picket line in Burbank on November 17. Photo Credit: SAG-AFTRA

The Video Game: SAG-AFTRA STRIKE By Zachary Vaudo


he SAG-AFTRA video game voice-acting strike from October continues. SAG-AFTRA’s Interactive Committee called the strike after failure to reach a conclusion with multiple gaming companies on a new Interactive Media Agreement. Major changes to secondary compensation, care for vocal stress, involving stunt coordinators on performance capture jobs, and transparency on projects are the key issues. “The video game corporations are trying to convince our members and the public that video game actors actually support the last proposal that these companies made,” says an official statement from SAG-AFTRA. “In fact, our members have voiced their opinion of this proposal by going on strike. The game corporations and their representatives cannot unilaterally determine when we have a deal. They have no business even talking about our ratification process. No action can be taken by the union until the member negotiators — performers who regularly do this work — have a deal they believe is fit to recommend.” Numerous pickets were organized throughout November and December outside the studios of WB Games, Insomniac Games, Voicework Productions, Electronic Arts, and many more, drawing near 1000 combined picketers. SAG-AFTRA has received support from other organizations, including AFL-CIO, the Actors Equity Association, British Equity, Equity New Zealand, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, and The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Australia. SAG-AFTRA has updated its website with a full list of struck and non-struck games and companies. Keythe Farley, chair of the SAG-AFTRA Interactive Committee

SAG-AFTRA member Phil LaMarr, LA Local EEO Committee Member Michelle C. Bonilla, and member Tom Kenny show their support

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris 14

Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin and member Clancy Brown


January / February 2017


OZCETERA Still from Paradise

Still from Sand Storm

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Kicks Off


he Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) has unveiled the first wave of films to be included in its 2017 lineup, which returns from Tuesday, January 24 through Wednesday, February 15. Audiences can look forward to another outstanding lineup of foreign and independent films, continuing what is now a 17-year tradition of excellence from the world’s largest Jewish film festival. The films unveiled today personify the tone of the 2017 festival, with topical films like The Freedom to Marry; “faces you know” as featured in The Last Laugh; premieres includ-


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

ing Across the Waters; Oscar nominees from Russia and Israel (Paradise and Sand Storm); and biographical legends in documentaries like Bang! The Bert Berns Story and legendary times, as reflected in On the Map. And in keeping with AJFF’s programming philosophy, to use film to spark dialogue and discussion, festival screenings include discussions with filmmakers, actors, academics and other experts, making AJFF more than just a trip to the movies. “The 17th annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival will feature 76 feature-length and short

films from around the globe,” says Kenny Blank, executive director for AJFF. “We’ve always believed in the power of film to bring people together, across cultures, and spark meaningful dialogue amongst audiences. Now, more than ever, we need the film arts to foster understanding through shared experiences. This selection of diverse films represents not only a wonderful celebration of cinema, but a coming together of community that inspires, informs and entertains.”


January / February 2017


OZCETERA Blain McLaren, Blake Myers and Jill Gevargizian (winner of best short film for her film The Stylist)

Zombie Cat Changes Stripes


ombie Cat Productions, the production company behind films and TV such as Pepper’s Place, Magic the Gathering: The Musical, and the upcoming Kaylee Age 8, changed the name of its physical workshop to Zombie Cat Studios. The name change will accommodate the multiple artists who work out of the location and switch to an artist co-op workshop model. “The shop is really about all of the individual artists who are under one roof and how we can accomplish just about anything that comes through the door,” Zombie Cat Productions president and Zombie Cat Studios shop director Molly Coffee said. “It was necessary to shift that focus more towards them and remove any confusion with my personal production company.” Zombie Cat Studios, which has also housed the art departments for shows like The Carbanaro Effect and Stan Against Evil, features fabricators, welders, podcast creators, screenwriters, as well as several puppeteers, including the puppet collective Ninja Puppet Productions. “Zombie Cat Studios provides this group of talented artists and engineers a safe and challenging space to create and develop unique concepts, projects, and entertainment properties,” Ninja Puppet Productions artistic director Raymond Carr said. “We each have our own brands and voices and we want to define them better while knowing that we’re stronger together.” The new name is effective immediately, and will be implemented across the company’s branding and online presence moving forward.


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Buried Alive’s Big Challenge


his year’s Buried Alive Film Festival was the biggest in 11 years. With five days of programming that included 10 features and 75 short films that showed the best of independent new horror films from around the globe. This year’s festival featured the first ever Buried Alive Sinema Challenge, with local filmmakers pitted against each other in a 13-day filmmaking challenge that produced nine local horror films. The festival also included a performance by Atlanta’s Blast Off Burlesque, with a bloody dance interpretation of Brian DePalma’s Carrie that was a huge hit with the audience before they saw the fully re-mastered film. Best Feature Film was awarded to Mitchell Altieri’s The Night Watchmen. Best Short went to Jill Gevargizian’s The Stylist, while Best Animated Film went to João Miguel Real & Jerónimo Ribeiro Rocha’s Macabre, with many more awards presented.

The Night Watchmen director Mitchell Altieri, with actors Gary Peebles, Dan DeLuca, Kevin Jiggetts, Ken Arnold, Dan Franko, and Donald Imm

Photos by Lucas Godfrey

Deborah Gonzalez Opens Letterbox Legal


etterbox Legal (LeLe) opened its downtown Atlanta office in the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI), Atlanta’s Home for Social Impact, in November 2016. “We want to make ourselves an integral part of the vibrant entertainment scene in downtown Atlanta as well

as throughout Georgia by providing as many access points for clients as possible,” says executive director Deborah Gonzalez, Esq., adding, “from virtual through our portal, to brick and mortar with our new office – we are where our clients are and where our clients want to be.” CCI is a collaborative and productive space that welcomes local social entrepreneurs and small non-profits to work and host events. While LeLe utilizes technology to provide inspired and effective legal services and advice from experienced legal professionals at affordable rates to independent entertainment professionals across the state of Georgia, they are excited to contribute to this collaborative community by scheduling networking events, legal clinics, workshops, and panel discussions in the coming months.


Emerging Cinematographer Awards


he International Cinematographers Guild (ICG, IATSE Local 600) has named 10 honorees for the 20th Annual Emerging Cinematographer Awards (ECA), screening them at SCADShow in Atlanta. The short films originally premiered in Los Angeles at the Directors Guild of America Theater. Previous screenings have been held in New York. The films were selected by a panel of ICG members from across the countr y and can be seen by a wider audience at film festivals. Steven Poster, ASC, president of the ICG, said, “I am continually amazed and delighted by the high standards in these short films. It shows, once again, that our camera crews are the best trained and most professional in the world. And we are grateful to our generous sponsors, who come back year after year, knowing that these young filmmakers are their future customers.” Jimmy Matlosz, who has been chairman of the Guild’s ECA committee since 2008, added, “Every new year brings about a new crop of potential ECA winners, and every year our members continue to raise the bar and give us hope and inspiration for the art and future of cinematography.” The purpose of the ECAs is to nurture talent within the Guild and to give promising cinematographers the crucial exposure they need to succeed in the motion picture industry. The ECAs are open to any member of the Guild who is not already classified as a director of photography. Members are asked to submit films they have photographed with a running time of 30 minutes or less. The ICG is the only organization in the entertainment industry that offers its up-and-coming members the opportunity to be recognized and to further their careers in this way.

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MBS Acquires Hollywood Rentals


olly wood Rentals has announced it s merger with MBS Equipment Company, effective immediately. MBS has assumed responsibility over Hollywood Rental’s vendor accounts. “In a very short window of time, MBSE built a global lighting and grip company now servicing more than 150 stages, from Hawaii to London,” said Stacy Andrew, Hollywood Rentals’ accounting manager in the company’s statement. “They are the largest lighting and grip company in the world and we are pleased to be a part of their dynamic growth story.” Hollywood Rentals has opened itself for any questions regarding the change; all billings and vendor inquiries can now be directed to the Accounts Payable division of MBS Equipment, at the Manhattan Beach, CA location. MBS Equipment will be contacting existing vendors and clients to set up new accounts for ongoing business.

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January / February 2017


OZCETERA Brent Brooks, one of the partners in newly opened Blank Stage Studios

Blank Stage Studios Opens


lank Stage Studios opened its doors January 7 on Highway 92 in Woodstock. The brainchild of Brent and Lilian Brooks and partner Anthony Michael, the multi-purpose 4,500 square feet theatrical, film, television and music performance/instructional studio is 21 years in the making.


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

“As the Atlanta film and television market continues to thrive and grow, it’s no secret that ‘show business’ is often plagued with competing interests, divisiveness, and all-out cut-throat maneuvering,” says Brent Brooks. “However, the refreshing forces of connection, collaboration and creativity have collided to

form the three foundational pillars of Blank Stage Studios” The studio hopes to build itself into a “Julliard of the South.”


Jim Suss of Harry Norman, Realtors® Designated A Luxury Specialist


eading residential real estate associates from the world’s top luxury network gathered in Washington, D.C., for Christie’s International Real Estate’s 2016 Luxury Specialist Conference, where attendees such as Jim Suss, with Harry Norman, Realtors® Cobb Marietta office, received the designation of “Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist” from Christie’s Education. Jim Suss is the first Realtor within Harry Norman, Realtors® to achieve the Luxury Specialist designation and he is the only Luxury Specialist in the state of Georgia for Christie’s International Real Estate, additionally making him the only Christie’s Luxury Specialist in the Georgia film industry. “The conference was an absolutely terrific experience,” says Jim Suss. “It was an honor to receive this prestigious designation and to be a part of this international network of Realtors!” The conference included a myriad of panels, seminars, and presentations by luxury experts, including Christie’s specialists, focused on a range of topics — from selling strategies and marketing techniques to current trends in luxury goods and design. Approximately 200 professionals throughout the world took part in the conference.

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The United States of Virtual Reality By Zachary Vaudo


cer Starbreeze, Google, HTC VIVE, Facebook ’s Oculus, Samsung, and Sony Interactive Entertainment have banded together to create the Global Virtual Reality Association, a non-profit organization of international headset manufacturers with a goal of promoting the growth of the global virtual reality (VR) industry. The GVRA will develop and share best practices for the industry and foster dialogue between public and private stakeholders around the world. GVRA seeks to promote responsible development and adoption of VR around the world. The association’s members will develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together as the technology progresses, while also serving as a resource for consumers, policymakers, and industry interested in VR. VR has the potential to be the next great computing platform, improving sectors ranging from education to healthcare, integrating into gaming and the entertainment industry at large, and contributing significantly to the global economy. The GVRA will work to “unlock and maximize VR’s potential and ensure those gains are shared as broadly around the world as possible.”

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January / February 2017


OZCETERA 200 ton Chiller

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arris Diversif ied has added 100 - and 200-ton chillers to its inventory. “When our customers speak, we listen,” says Harris Diversified in an official announcement, “especially from the film industry. Because we are such a strong customer service driven company, every year we are constantly evolving and

adding different types of A/C, heaters, generators and lighting source equipment based on the needs of our clients. As there is a demand we will always continue to increase our inventory and always put our customers and their needs first.”

Harris Diversified previous used primarily 25-ton HVAC units for most stage and locations jobs, but recently expanded with the rising demand for chillers for stage A/C.

Loupe Celebrates a Year of Streaming Art


oupe, the streaming art gallery ranked as the #1 Lifestyle App on Apple TV, held a private party at Aisle 5 in Atlanta. Over 120 local artists, investors and technologists came to celebrate the startup’s one-year anniversary, launch of web streaming, and success of the GeoArt Atlanta channel, one of 18 Loupe channels and the only one exclusive to artists with ties to Atlanta. Over 1000 consumers download the Loupe app each week, spending nearly two and a half hours per session exploring art from around the world. This extended experience—versus the less than 8 minutes per session spent on competitor sites—validates Loupe’s stickiness and proves that consumers are now experiencing art the way they do music—through streaming experiences that enable them to explore, bookmark and discover art.

Khalilah Birdsong’s piece “11-11” on display at the Loupe party 22

Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.


January / February 2017


OZCETERA Rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges poses outside Chicken+Beer with some hungry fans

Ludacris Brings Fliers Chicken+Beer


ackmont Hospitality, Inc., in partnership with notable Atlanta musician, actor, and restaurateur Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, unveiled the restaurant Chicken+Beer at Concourse D of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Named for Bridges’ third album, the 90-seat restaurant is Jackmont Hospitality, Inc .’s second independentl y developed concept at Hartsfield-Jackson International

Daniel Halpern, CEO and Co-founder of Jackmont Hospitality Inc. and Ludacris

Ludacris and Andrew Tabb Jr. the excutive chef of Chicken + Beer 24

Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Airpor t, following One Flew South, which opened nearly a decade ago. Daniel Halpern, CEO and Co-founder of Jackmont Hospitality Inc., consistently places a premium on celebrating the importance of locally developed concepts. Chicken+Beer will empower the cultural and social landscape as part of the world’s busiest airport. Halpern specifically sought out Bridges’ partnership to

liaise with the Atlanta community and restaurant industry. Design elements were created in partnership with Green Olive Media. The restaurant kicked off with a ribbon cutting in December featuring honorary speakers Mayor Kasim Reed, Chilly Ewing (director of concessions, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport), and Bridges. Photos taken by Chucky Kahng

Ludacris cuts the ribbon, marking the opening of Chicken+Beer, alongside Mayor Kasim Reed and Roosevelt Council

Chilly Ewing, director of concessions

Chicken+Beer is located in Concourse D, Gate 5 of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport


January / February 2017



M. Cole Jones

Caroline Osborne

Cal Bowdler

New Faces at Atlanta Film Society


he Atlanta Film Societ y (ATLFS) has appointed three new members to its Board of Directors, along with five new officers and committee chairs. Joining the Board of Directors are Caroline Osborne, Cal Bowdler, and M. Cole Jones. “Caroline, Cal, and M. Cole will bring distinct and diverse areas of thought leadership and backgrounds with a common energy to serve our mission to lead the community in creative and cultural discovery through the moving image,” said Walker Anderson, ATLFS co-chair. Osborne works in revenue growth management with The Coca-Cola Company, where she leads the long-term revenue growth strategy for coffee and tea with the North American operations of Coca-Cola. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics and romance languages, magna cum laude, from Washington and Lee University and an MBA in International Business from The Moore School of Business of the University of South Carolina. Having grown

up in Atlanta, Osborne also adds a distinct local perspective to her international outlook. A former NBA first-round pick, Bowdler was selected by the Atlanta Hawks as the 17th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. After three seasons with the Hawks, he traveled abroad, playing three more seasons in Italy before retiring. From there, Bowdler transitioned into entrepreneurship, starting his own business, Downtown Auction Company. After seven years as an entrepreneur, he entered the corporate arena and currently works for Comcast/NBC Universal in builder relations and new housing development. Bowdler holds a Bachelor’s in exercise science from Old Dominion University. A tech entrepreneur, Jones is a recognized business leader in the local Atlanta community. He is the co-founder of covello, where he works with companies to build non-traditional, disruptive partnerships that encourage collaborative growth. The clientele of covello includes start-

The Demo Man


ohn Sharaf Photography recently held a hands-on demo of new cameras, lenses, and lighting recently. Demos included the ARRI SXT rollout; the Codex Vault, FW Drive and Codex Production Suite Workflow; the Fujinon Premier 18-85, 24-180, and 75-400 lenses; the Hive Plasma 1000 WATT Wasp; and the Visionsmith “Relamp” 2K.


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

ups such as Snapchat and large conglomerates such as Chick-fil-A, JBL Audio and Harman/ Kardon. In 2015, Jones was named to the list of Top 40 Under 40 for Georgia Trend magazine. He is also a partner with NextGen Ventures. Jones holds an MBA in marketing from East Carolina University. New officers and committee chairs include: Alix Rice, ATLFS co-chair; Eric Bromley, ATLFS treasurer and finance committee chair; Ashley Epting, events/hospitality committee chair; A sheem Khondker, ATLFS secretar y and marcom committee chair; and Barclay Taylor, governance committee chair. Ray Benitez and Rebecca Shrager continue to serve as industry committee co-chairs. “The new additions and new leadership are a representation of our commitment to continue to push our structure to grow and evolve in our effort to fulfill our mission, for the benefit of both our filmmaking and film-loving audiences,” added Anderson.


Members of AMP

Bill Ivey, Tom Anderson and Brad Gilbert


he first ever meeting of the Association of Media Professionals (AMP) gathered Thursday, December 8th at A-Studio (courtesy of Michael Zarrillo at Utoka) to learn what this new organization might bring to the greater

AMP Amps Up Atlanta area. During the mix and mingle, AMP co-founders Brad Gilbert and Lisa Lockhart addressed the group, sharing the mission statement and announcing the membership chair categories. Members suggested future

Co-founders Lisa Lockhart and Brad Gilbert

meeting topics and introduced themselves. AMP spun out of remaining members of MCA-I, after its disbanding in late 2016.

January / February 2017


OZCETERA Josiah Burnett filling out a voter absentee ballot

Shearer Scores Big


omposer/producer Greg Shearer of Street Level Sound scored some big hits to close 2016, winning the bid from Dallas agency The Richards Group to score a new :60 TV spot for the megalithic health insurance provider Humana. The spot began airing nationally in Q4 of 2016. Additionally, Shearer scored five new promo spots for the east coast convenience store Wawa. The Wawa spots were also produced by the Richards Group. In other SLS news, Shearer was contacted by producers of the MTV show Catfish to come up with some new music based on a piece he produced for the show in 2015. In its fifth season, the award-winning documentary covers the phenomenon of online dating and its perils. “It certainly is gratifying to get that comeback call based on your previous work for a client,” says Shearer.

Thom Gonyeau, Chloé Dems and Stephen Pruitt.


ountain View Group (MVG) recently won a total of 18 awards for their client work on behalf of General Electric, CSM Bakery Solutions, Alcon, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and North Carolina Division of Public Health. The LACP Awards focus on identifying the best in communications practices around the world. Entries include hundreds of the most well recognized organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to non-profits. MVG was recognized with seven awards, including the coveted


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Craig Miller Gets Out the Vote


raig Miller Productions collaborated with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp to “Get Out the Vote” for the 2016 Election Season, producing four multi-language election videos for this campaign. The videos feature children exercising their right to vote in Georgia. These tutorials are voiced in English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese and encourage Georgia voter registration, absentee voting by mail, advance in-person voting, and Election Day voting.

Big Wins for MVG platinum (receiving 99/100 points within its competition class) for a project produced for GE Power and its Brindisi Service Center. At the IABC Atlanta Golden Flame Awards Mountain View was recognized for communications excellence with four gold and two bronze designations. “It is always an honor to share these awards on behalf of our clients with our strategic and creative teams,” said Chloé Demeunynck, MVG associate producer and project manager. “In addition to our legacy

All videos are viewable online on the BrianKempGA YouTube channel. “I want every eligible Georgian to have the information they need to take part in the electoral process,” stated Secretary Kemp. “These new resources will help voters who are non-English speakers know how to register to vote and prepare to cast their ballot.” Kemp initiated this project with Craig Miller Productions to ensure every Georgian is informed on Election Day. Kemp has also been working with minority advocacy groups to promote the videos in various communities across the state.

MVG wins at the IABC Atlanta Golden Flame Awards

work in media production, we were really able to show some of the progressive work we do, including social media content strategy & analytics for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as environmental design for CSM Bakery Solutions.” The MarCom Creative Awards tapped MVG with five awards – two for CSM Bakery Solutions and three others for GE Global Research, and GE Energy Connections.


AND THE AWARD GOES TO … • Named “America’s Friendliest Cities” by Rand McNally • Named “Best Place in Georgia” by the Georgia Planning Association for its downtown area • The Georgia Municipal Association recognized Valdosta in Summer 2015 as one of 12 communities in Georgia that have effectively utilized public art and culture as a tool for community and economic development. • Named “Top 200 Great Locations” in the South for Aviation and Aerospace • Named ESPN’s “Titletown” for our football heritage Our Economic Development team is ready and willing to welcome you to our community, and to help make your next project a success.

Contact Tim Riddle at the Valdosta-Lowndes Tourism Authority at 229-219-4403 January / February 2017 www.visitvaldosta.org




Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.


Santa’s Boot Camp By Zachary Vaudo


en Feinberg, Atlanta actor/filmmaker and founder of the Creative Studios of Atlanta Film Academy, has released his locally produced family comedy Santa’s Boot Camp. Winner of the Director’s Gold Award at the International Family Film Festival, Santa’s Boot Camp tells the tale of six bratty children recruited by Santa Claus into his elf boot camp while the other elves are on strike. Co-written with Kelly Nettles and Mimi Fontaine, Feinberg’s modern-day take on Santa includes insight on how elves use social media and modern technology to put together the “naughty” and “nice” lists; asks its characters to confront real-life issues of bullying and stereotyping; and even takes Santa to task for being a little too old-fashioned about what Christmas means in a modern, multicultural world (one of the demands of his elves is for Santa to expand production to include more gifts for Jewish kids and other faiths). Feinberg says that the more universal themes of the story remain clearly in focus despite the modern twists: “Santa Claus is a universal symbol for unconditional giving and creating good will, so we see him as that much more than a specifically Christian symbol. We wanted it to have a universal feeling and the message that no matter your religion, you need to think about your actions as a person.” Santa’s Boot Camp was released in November and is available on Amazon Video. Atlanta Workshop Players screened Santa’s Boot Camp at the Barefoot Playhouse in December.

January / February 2017



Blackhall Lands a Monster Production By Zachary Vaudo


lackhall Studios (neé Valhalla Studios) has signed Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, according to local sources. The film, a follow-up to the 2014 feature directed by Gareth Edwards, is slated for 2019 release. Ryan Millsap, executive chairman of the board at Blackhall, would neither confirm nor deny the report. But in a December 2016 interview with Atlanta Business Chronicle, Millsap

named the Godzilla sequel as one of the productions it was in talks with. Warner Bros. and Legendar y ’s 2014 Godzilla starred Aaron Taylor-Johnson, CJ Adams, Ken Watanabe, Byran Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen. It was directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), but Edwards departed the production amicably in mid-2016; he has since been replaced by Michael Dougherty, according to IMDB. The

film is rumored to feature other legendary monsters such as Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. Godzilla: King of Monsters is slated for March 22, 2019, following Legendary’s Kong: Skull Island. Legendary will unite Godzilla and King Kong in Godzilla vs. Kong, set for a May 29, 2020, release date.

2016 Coca-Cola and Regal Film Program winner Ameer Kazmi

Coke, Regal, and Film Schools: The Classic Combination

RJR’s computer servers form the background of MacGyver

Follow the Money . . . and the Computers


JR Props received some major screen time in Georgia productions recently. RJR’s computer servers and electronics were featured in episodes of MacGyver, 24: Legacy, and Timeless. Meanwhile. RJR’s signature prop money was featured in Netflix’s upcoming programs Ozark and Naked, along with the upcoming feature film Logan Lucky.


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.


he Coca-Cola Co. and Regal Cinemas joint student film competition, the CocaCola and Regal Film Program, is underway for film schools across the country, including Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and Morehouse College. The six-month initiative provides students with hands-on roles managing all aspects of f ilmmaking, from developing scripts and managing the creative process to casting and production. “Bringing this program back allows us to continue the great tradition of supporting the industry and the next generation of writers, directors and producers,” said Andrew McMillin, senior vice president of Coca-Cola Trademark Brands, Coca-Cola North America.

“We are excited to work together with these students and empower them to tell a story through their lens.” Morehouse and SCAD join 25 colleges and universities across the country eligible to compete in this year’s competition, which launched last quarter. The five finalists chosen will receive a $15,000 stipend to make their own 35-second short film with the winning film unveiled at CinemaCon (March 27-30) in Las Vegas. The film also will be screened in Regal theaters this spring. The 2016 winner was Blindfold by Ameer Kazmi, from New York City’s School of Visual Arts.


Pay or Don’t Play: IATSE Tackles NonPaying Productions


he Local 479 has had its hands full with productions in Georgia failing to pay talent and crew. In October, production halted on Finding Steve McQueen after Sessions Payroll Management failed to receive funds to pay out cast and crew. The 479 escalated the issue to IA International. In December, the production Superstition: Final Chance also halted production due to a lack of funds, with cast and crew not being paid for the final two weeks of production. IATSE representative Theresa Khouri informed 479 members that they were “pursuing legal action for material breach of contract, as the production failed to meet payroll...as required by their agreement.”

Inertia Films Releases Liberty & Slavery


tlanta’s Inertia Films has released its newest documentary, Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers. The documentary explores the paradoxical nature of the founding of America, balancing the “unalienable rights of man” against the ownership of slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. The film has made rounds at film festivals already and is available for purchase online.

January / February 2017



Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

By Isadora Pennington


n late 2016, IATSE Local 479 celebrated its 30-year anniversary with a grand gala at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Midtown. The event was one for the record books, replete with plenty of delectable food, an open bar, a staggering number of tasty cupcakes, a DJ blasting tunes, and a packed dance floor. Hundreds of attendees bore witness to a 25-year pin ceremony for veterans of the organization, emotionallystirring speeches, and even some very entertaining dance-offs, all to celebrate the longevity of the union. As an outsider, being present at this sophisticated event was a tremendous honor. The crowd was an interesting mix, especially given that pretty much everyone there is truly a character in

their own right. Spirits were high, and conversations with strangers came easily. A familial vibe and inclusive tone imbued the evening with a sort of magic. The members of this union are all incredibly hard workers and team players, and they truly appreciate the efforts of others, which makes them a chummy bunch who treat one another like family. If you ask just about anyone, working full time in the film industry can be at once fulfilling and challenging. The work is positively dreamy for those who have a passion for film. The magic of production, of being part of a team that brings a story to life on screen, that’s what drives many professionals into their chosen careers within the industry. But it’s not always red carpets and Hollywood glitz

. . . sometimes the real world catches up to you, and it becomes necessary to take care of details like health insurance and retirement. So how do career professionals within the world of film and television manage it all? For many, it’s through affiliations with unions and workers’ associations that help to bridge the logistical gaps for industry folks. One such organization that is hard at work making careers in film more viable for Atlantans is Local 479. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) is a labor union representing over 130,000 technicians, artisans and craftspeople in the entertainment industry. With 375 IATSE locals spread between 13

January / February 2016


Members and attendees of the 479 30th Anniversary Celebration

International President Matthew D. Loeb congratulated the Local on its 30th anniversary

geographical districts in the United States and Canada, the union provides numerous benefits to its members. In the film world, where job security doesn’t exist and nearly everyone could be considered a freelancer, IATSE has responded to the needs of its constituents by providing resources that would otherwise be out of reach for many industry professionals. Those resources include health insurance, retirement funding, worker’s compensation, disability programs, and negotiated base pay for productions. Additionally, the networking gained through attending IATSE events and participating in sponsored workshops and classes help those who are just getting into the industry to learn to meet the work standards set by directors and producers. The union serves many different professions, and each individual craft falls into one of four categories: stagecraft, motion picture and TV, broadcast, and tradeshow. The Georgia union falls into the 7th IATSE district in the United States, and represents those working within the categories of construction, paint & scenic, props, set dressing, greens, wardrobe, grips, electric, special effects, sound, video assist, craft service, first aid, script supervisor, hair and makeup, production office, art department coordinator, and projection. All of Georgia is represented by Local 479 with the exception of the city of Savannah. While being a member of the union is not a job-placement guarantee, and it is understood that members must rely upon their own connections within the industry to get new leads, they do put out casting and crew calls when they get wind of them which can be a much needed safety net for professionals who are seeking their next gig.

A few of the members found some time between gigs to speak with Oz about their experiences with the Local 479; some who have been members for many years, and some who have just gotten started. One such member, Kathleen Tonkin, has been a member of the 479 for 30 years, and was bestowed with a pin awarded during the 30th anniversary party. Tonkin is an explosives special effects specialist and the owner of East Coast Films, a full-service production resource facility. The company offers services that 36

Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

We are like a family, our whole industry is”

Kathleen Tonkin

range from architectural fabrication to scenic artistry, and from custom props to mechanical special effects. In productions, when making an action film or anything that requires extensive special effects, there are a couple of ways to achieve it. There’s mechanical, which is what Tonkin does—that’s any mechanized prop that is physically made and able to move along with atmospheric effects like rain, sleet, snow, fog, etc., and then there is computer generated, which is CGI and other digitally added effects. “I really love special effects, always have. It’s fun!” said Tonkin. She has an impressively long resume that includes work on big name productions such as Me, Myself & Irene, A Walk To Remember, 21 Grams, Quantum Break, and most recently Daytime Divas. Tonkin’s family history includes four generations of film industry professionals dating all the way back to 1924, and even her father was a grip. Clearly, a love for movie magic runs in Tonkin’s blood. The work itself is very rewarding, but is not without its challenges. There are some especially demanding aspects to working in mechanical special effects beyond the long hours and unpredictable schedules. “It’s a very tiring field,” she said, noting that she lives her life differently as a consequence of her line of work. “I don’t have long nails, I have short hair,” she continued with a laugh. For Tonkin, these style choices are more than just for looks; it makes the work easier. She also hinted at an on-set singed hair incident that played a part in that decision. Tonkin was born in Manhattan, raised in Queens, and eventually ended up across the river in New Jersey where she was living when she first saw the hiring call for a production in Georgia

Atlanta is clearly the place for me” Nigel Kim

for the 1992 film, Freejack. Starring Mick Jagger, Emilio Esteves, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins, Freejack is a time travel saga into the futuristic world of . . . 2009. It was on that set that Tonkin met the man who would become her husband, and later the president of the 479, Robert Vazquez. Throughout the years, Tonkin has accomplished many things in addition to beefing up her resume with lots of cool productions. One such accomplishment is becoming the Sergeant at Arms for the 479, as well as serving on the executive board. For Tonkin, being a part of the union is not just good for her continued career prospects: it’s also a crucial part of her daily life. “We are like a family, our whole industry is,” she said, noting that she has been able to curate the team she has worked with for many years. That kind of familial support is key for not only finding and keeping good work, but also for surmounting the sadness of personal tragedy, as with the passing of her husband a few years ago. Working in mechanical effects is often difficult and trying, and not everything “tests out” as Tonkin explains it. First, you must build the internal structure of a prop and ensure that it moves; then you add the aesthetic elements to the piece. Some of Tonkin’s most memorable films have presented unique challenges. When asked her favorite production to work on, she will tell you that it was working on the set of Dreamer, a 2005 film starring Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell about racehorses. For that production, Tonkin had to create a mechanical horse that would behave in a realistic manner. “I guess you could say we are the MacGyvers of the industry,” laughed Tonkin. Throughout the process of

developing, manipulating, testing, and applying mechanical props for production, it’s important to remain cognitively engaged. “You have to use your brain a lot,” she said.

Beyond just a basic understanding of one’s role on set, and a technical understanding of the equipment to be operated, it’s also important to continue to expand one’s understanding and education of film productions. Nigel Kim, an IATSE member since August of 2016, cites a desire to learn and network as driving his desire to join the union. “I realized you really need a handson experience to learn,” said Kim. It was at the early age of twelve that he first came to understand the “how” of film production. As a first-generation Korean immigrant, Kim realized that his parents were not really going to be able to educate him on how to be an American. That’s where his love for film was truly born, when his family opted to rent movies in an effort to learn the culture and ways of their new home. Most of the films they watched were either action, fantasy or sci-fi. Kim was obsessed with spaghetti westerns. “It was the grandness of it all” that really appealed to Kim about spaghetti westerns. His favorites include Tombstone and Magnificent 7. “There was an attention to detail that they put into those films that you don’t often see in productions today,” Kim said. As a young man, he quickly realized just how crucial special effects were to productions. He cites one case in particular on the set of Aliens, where designers had to create the illusion of twelve pods with the budget for only six, and they did so by using creative thinking and a mirror. “How is January / February 2017


Elizabeth Evans

that not magic?” he remembers thinking. Kim was born in Kennesaw, lived in Atlanta for a time, and then attended Birmingham Southern University in Alabama before ultimately returning to seek industry work. He prefers to work in special effects, props, and set decoration, with a special affinity for the greens department (plants, trees, and flowers). Recently, Kim has worked on The Walking Dead as well as his own independent film concepts. It has been through networking and working with other creatives that he has developed a sort of filmmaking crew. “My endgame is I want to be a director,” he said, asserting that Atlanta is a good place to be for burgeoning directors and film professionals. “I don’t know why I didn’t just come back here to begin with, Atlanta is clearly the place for me,” said Kim.

As Georgia’s film industry has flourished, the city has been increasingly drawing talented and passionate film professionals for many years. Elizabeth Evans is a set lighting tech who joined the 479 in late summer 2015 and has since worked as a day-player on productions such as the Originals, Stranger Things, Survivor’s Remorse, and will soon work on the set of the Jumanji remake. Originally hailing from Kentucky, Evans’s path started with attending college at SCAD in Savannah. It was during her time there that she first came to know Atlanta. “I thought I was going to hate it,” Evans laughed. “But really, this is the perfect mix of city and country.” She cites connections and networking that she gained through participation with the 479 as the main reason that she has 38

Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Joy Phrasavath

found success so early on in her career. “I need that small town feel,” she said. In that way, Atlanta is the perfect place for Evans. It’s only a short drive to get outside the city for hiking and natural excursions, but also replete with a thriving metropolitan city vibe. When asked what aspects of union membership have been the most beneficial for Evans, she cites plenty of practical and logistical aids, such as health insurance, worker’s comp, and retirement. “I think it has given me a step up when I didn’t know how to do those things myself,” she said. “You don’t feel like you’re just floating.”

“Our union is super cool,” said Joy Phrasavath, a set painter and scenic artist who has been a member of the union since 2012. With a background in the arts, sign painting, event coordination, and construction it should come as no surprise that Phrasavath found himself working in the set dec area of many Atlanta productions. His experience includes work on films such as 5th Wave, Triple 9, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Too Close to Home, and Game of Silence. Phrasavath made the point that not all unions allow members to explore other areas of interest within film production, but that in Georgia you can try working in multiple departments. This flexibility makes weathering the unpredictability of working in film better for specialists by allowing for supplementary work on set. He opines that while everyone has to start somewhere, it’s very feasible to make the necessary connections and find work within the Georgia production scene. “It’s one degree of separation,” he said.

Phrasavath’s learned from some of the best in the industry, though much of what he knows about set dec is self-taught. He had just mastered wallpapering on his own when he was called upon to do just that by scenic charge Carol Francoso for a film called +1. It was on the set of that production that Phrasavath first really found his stride working as an on-set painter. Years later, Phrasavath found himself working on the sets of Mockingjay Part 1 and 2 and still honing his craft. “On every show you learn something new,” he said, adding that a level of humility and commitment to getting the job done are necessary to mastering the skills of this work. Much of what he has learned has been on the fly, and is thanks to the leadership of some of his union mentors throughout the years. “A good lead will teach you.” Of all the techniques and applications that being a set painter uses, it’s ageing and specialty finishes that Phrasavath enjoys the most. Those effects can include making faux marble and concrete, making wood look like metal, and making a space appear as if it has endured wear and tear consistent with the story. As he thought back on his work, Phrasavath remarked, “it’s really interesting, you know, because you can’t really apply this skill to the real world.” Ultimately, he says, “you are trying to mimic nature.” Though Phrasavath is originally from Laos and grew up in St. Petersburg, he has been a Georgia resident since he was a student at the Atlanta College of Art back in the 90s. As such, he has seen changes come through the city, and has come to appreciate the 479 as a resource. Working in the entertainment industry

They protect you” is often a dog-eat-dog world, and it helps to have support. “They protect you,” Phrasavath said.

For many film professionals, being a member of the union becomes a lifelong partnership of sorts. Throughout the years, as industry folks work long hours and attend regular meetings and events, they come to know and form a bond with one another. One such longtime union member and film professional is Andrew Duncan who has been involved with the 479 since 1996. These days, Duncan is primarily a consultant to the union, providing assistance for the development and maintenance of their website and social media accounts. Duncan hasn’t always been in this type of role. Originally, he was in props, and has worked on many productions such as Sweet Home Alabama, Remember the Titans, Radio, Run Ronnie Run, Stroke of Genius, and Dumb and Dumberer, just to name a few. As a young man growing up near Riverdale, Georgia, Duncan was initially skeptical of joining the union. “People in the south tend to not be union-friendly,” he explained. There is an underlying distrust of unions and labor organizations that seems to be more inherent within the communities where Duncan grew up, and as such, it took a bit of convincing before he ultimately became a member of the 479. “Ultimately, as I talked to people back in 1996, I realized that the actors, producers, and directors all have their guilds which were essentially a union,” Duncan said, and noted that once he joined it became clear that “the benefits are there.” When Duncan initially joined the union, its membership was pretty small

at around 200 to 300 members. “It was very touch and go,” he recalls of those early days. In contrast, now 479 has their own building, they host classes, are able to teleconference across the country, and hold regular meetings throughout the year. “It’s booming,” said Duncan. The union’s membership is now above 2,000 and continuing to grow. Duncan’s experience is varied, with a background that includes work for a local architectural design company, graphic design support, and program management. As a vendor and contractor, he is able to maintain a role within the union while working in a more administrative type of role, rather than just as a member and prop master. “It’s more fun the younger you are,” said Duncan of working on set. The difficulty of leading a balanced life as a full time film professional is something that he can appreciate from personal experience. “Your schedule is not your own,” he continued, and mentioned the decline of working with actual film as a detriment to his personal enjoyment of the work. “Things have changed. When I left, nobody was shooting digitally,” Duncan continued. Working on the set of a production shot with film requires a high level of attention to detail and forethought in order to execute properly, and when you film digitally it is much easier to redo a scene in a million different ways. That shift to digital has changed the approach to production from within, and also has “affected the discipline on set.” Despite having developed some hang-ups about production, it’s pretty clear that in his prop master heyday, Duncan had plenty of interesting experiences on set. One of his favorite productions to work on was Sweet Home Alabama starring Reese Witherspoon. Some parts were fun and funny, while others were harrowing - he recounts one time in particular when he briefly lost Witherspoon’s prop wedding ring. It was a Tiffany ring made with cubic zirconium especially for the film, and therefore was an item that the company did not feel comfortable having in the hands of the public. Luckily for Duncan he later found that ring in the parking lot, and no harm

Andrew Duncan

came of the temporary misplacement, but the memory has clearly made a lasting impact. It was also on the set of Sweet Home Alabama that Duncan had the honor of repeatedly throwing pork femurs into a body of water for the production. “That was a terrible day; driving home from set smelling like pork,” he recalls. However, despite the mishaps and odors, Duncan laughed as he thought back fondly on the production of that film. “It was so much fun that by the end of it, our AD Louis D'Esposito was going around joking that ‘the next person who says this is the best show ever to work on is fired!’” Working in film is a challenging, consuming, and incredibly rewarding career for many industry professionals. Throughout the journey, from the first internship to the top of the credit list, it can be very beneficial to join groups and organizations that support you, your craft and your industry.

January / February 2017


Major studios and backlots in Georgia pave the way for big production budgets. By: Christine Bunish


f all the tax-incentivized states outside the historical production hubs, Georgia has the greatest possibility of a long-term, sustainable film and television business,” says Brian Livesay, who with Ed Richardson and John Rooker is a managing partner and co-founder of the new Atlanta Metro Studios. Georgia’s prime position can be attributed to three things, notes Richardson: “Strong government leadership, education that helps build a long-term crew base, and local developers and comrades-in-arms at

the other studios. The studio infrastructure here is the third leg of the stool. Without all of those things working together we’d end up in a dystopia.” Here, Oz takes a look at some of these third-legs, touring the many fine studios in the state of Georgia.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS Since its launch, Pinewood Atlanta Studios has been on a building boom. The purpose-built complex located on 700 acres in Fayetteville opened in February 2014 with five sound stages, mill and vendor space and production offices. Shortly afterwards, another 18,000 squarefoot stage opened. Twelve months later five

Brian Cooper Pinewood Studios


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

more stages made their debut, along with a 15,000 square-foot stage dedicated to the on-site Georgia Film Academy. Now, in Phase Three of the build, six additional stages are poised to open in January 2017. Among them is the mammoth 40,000 square-foot Stage 17, which boasts 55-foot clear height. Pinewood offers 300,000 square feet of production facilities adjacent to the stages with workshops, offices and meeting rooms. Over 400 acres of backlot feature open space, woodlands, a pond and swamps. A separate media park, which Pinewood encourages all area productions to use (not just those on the lot), includes such leading vendors as Chapman / Leonard Studio Equipment, Hollywood Trucks Georgia, MBS Equipment Company and Panavision. The world’s only Home Depot Studio Store is also a tenant. “We’ve been very blessed to work almost to capacity since day one,” says Vice President of Operations Brian Cooper. “AntMan was our first film then Captain America: Civil War and the just-released Passengers, plus the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming. We

Eagle Rock Basecamp Breezeway

Eagle Rock's four connecting stages under one roof

currently have one project on the lot and another coming in with Phase Three.” Cooper is “very excited” about the opening of Stage 17, Pinewood’s largest soundstage. He also cites the launch of the complex’s fourth hybrid stage designed to host live television and independent features. A 20,000 square-foot production office with a New York brownstone façade will offer additional exterior shooting options, Cooper notes. And a 76,000 square-foot concrete pad, supplied with power, fiber and water, is available for green screen and VFX shoots. “With the opening of Phase Three, Pinewood Atlanta Studios will become the second-largest, purpose-built production facility in the U.S.,” says Cooper. Pinewood came to Atlanta with a strong studio heritage in the UK and quickly made a name for itself with “the quality of our stages, their ease of use and our very service-oriented approach,” Cooper notes. “We’re building a one-stop

shop, with all the amenities and the media park.” Pinewood is also home to the staterun Georgia Film Academy, which just graduated its first class of 40 students. The school offers a one-year certification program to recent grads and career changers alike. “It has a very diverse student body,” says Cooper. “The Academy runs internships on productions at Pinewood and all across the state.” Cooper believes that “as Pinewood grows, the Georgia market grows and that benefits all of us. All the studios in Atlanta work very closely together in terms of the Georgia production incentives and what it takes to maintain the industry here.”

Eagle Rock STUDIOS Located on 35 acres just 15 minutes from Buckhead, Eagle Rock Studios Atlanta opened in April 2015 with 470,000 square feet of stages under one roof. Three of its four stages each measure approximately

30,000 square feet with one about 28,500 square feet; ceiling heights are 27 feet. A covered breezeway-base camp provides easy access to the stages and offers over one-quarter mile of interior base camp parking. A member of the DeKalb County Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Commission, Eagle Rock also has more than 150,000 square feet of flex space and two floors of production offices. Cinelease is on the lot, and other support services are a phone call away. Although Eagle Rock was converted from warehouses, “everything is purposebuilt for soundstages,” notes Beth Talbert, Vice President of Studio Operations. “Before the stages were built, we made a point to go to every department on a production and talk about their needs. We worked very hard to build to their requirements so it would be easy for them to come in and start working.” The studio’s comprehensive services mean clients don’t have to make a lot of a la carte choices. “All the power and AC

There's always room for improvement... Beth Talbert - Eagle Rock Studios

January / February 2017


Atlanta Metro Interior Stage

We try to be in tune with productions because we come from production. Brian Livesay - Atlanta Metro Studios

are in place; lighting and grip is on the property,” says Talbert. “Three office hubs have fully-furnished space. And flex space offers support for construction, storage and gold rooms.” Eagle Rock’s covered breezeway protects cast and crew from the elements, whether the Georgia heat or cold and inclement weather. Eagle Rock’s list of clients include Jason Bateman’s Netflix series, Ozark, Sony Pictures Television’s Powers series, two seasons of OWN’s Greenleaf series, 20th Century Fox Film’s upcoming Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, and the Garry Marshall feature Mother’s Day. Currently on the lot is the new feature based on the popular YA book series, Darkest Minds. Eagle Rock also has two stages at its Stone Mountain facility where Lifetime’s Devious Maids series just wrapped its fourth season. For the last 18 months the studios have primarily hosted single-camera TV and film projects, but Talbert says Eagle Rock is “actively working on getting multi-camera scripted and unscripted shows,” too. Recently, Talbert was in LA where she found that both Game Show Network and Nickelodeon were looking to bring multicamera shows to Atlanta. Eagle Rock is well positioned to accommodate those shows, she notes. While its facilities are still close to brand new the studios are always tweaking infrastructure and services based on feedback from clients. “There’s always room for improvement,” she says.


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

ATlanta Metro STUDIOS Phase 1 of Atlanta Metro Studios was completed in March 2016, and its six soundstages have been fully occupied by productions ever since. Located five minutes, or as Brian Livesay likes to say, “one song” from the airport, the complex comprises 30 acres of the former Shannon Mall in Union City. The facility is 20 minutes from midtown Atlanta. Phase 1 features 135,000 square feet of purpose-built soundstages. Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 are each 20,000 square feet. They’re separated by soundproof, moveable partition walls which, when all are open, create an 80,000 square-foot stage, “the largest purpose-built soundstage in North America,” according to Livesay. Stages 5 and 6 are each 27,500 square feet; when their soundproof, moveable partition wall is opened the combined space is the second-largest purpose-built soundstage in North America. Grid height is 40 feet throughout; Stages 1-4 and Stages 5 and 6 have uninterrupted grids. The space is “quite malleable,” Livesay notes, and can easily serve films, episodic television and streaming series, commercials, game shows, even rehearsals for live touring. Its first tenants were the just-wrapped Sony Pictures feature Jumanji, a reimagining of the 1995 film, and the new Fox series 24: Legacy, a spin-off of the hit

24, which makes its home at the studios. Atlanta Metro Studios also boasts 50,000 square feet of mill/flex space and 60,000 square feet of production offices. On-site vendors and services include Hollywood Trucks Georgia, Herc Entertainment Rentals for heavy equipment, MBS Equipment Company, Scott Smith’s Atlanta Entertainment Rentals for high-quality vehicle rentals, Pam Swofford’s Production Housing, and Studio Wellness message therapy. Six acres of open areas afford additional shooting options. “Both of our tenants have done large exterior green screen work there,” Livesay reports. Livesay believes Atlanta Metro Studios stands out for being purpose built for film and television and for the influence he and Richardson have had on the facility. “We both come from the production world: Ed is a producer and I’m a production designer. So we’re intimately familiar with the workings of a studio,” says Livesay. “We’ve tried to be predictive and not reactive to the needs of our clients. If they want to do something like dig a hole in the stage floor or have a big exterior explosion in the parking lot, we can usually say yes. We try to be in tune with productions because we come from production.” Atlanta Metro Studios Stages 1-4

Phase 2 of Atlanta Metro Studios is already on the drawing board. Plans call for it to “just about double the size of our stage, mill and production office facilities,” Livesay reports. “We’re hopeful of breaking ground on the expansion in 2017.”

EUE/Screen Gems Studios Stage 1

EUE/Screen GEMS STUDIOS In 2010, EUE/Screen Gems was the first major, brand-name studio to arrive in Georgia. Located just minutes from the airport and downtown, the family-owned company has been a familiar name in the industry for more than half a century. It brought its legacy to a local heritage site, the hundred-year-old Lakewood Fairgrounds, where it has revived the oncederelict property and restored the original Mission Revival architecture. EUE/Screen Gems Studios Atlanta now boasts 10 soundstages: seven carved out of old fairground buildings and three purpose built. The latter number includes Stages 7 and 8, which offer a combined 37,500 square feet of column-free space, 40 feet to the grid, and Stage 10 with 30,000 column-free square feet, 40 feet to the grid. The 33-acre site also has 250,000 square feet of production space and 50,000 square feet of furnished office space. EUE/ Screen Gems Studios Lighting, Electric & Grip (LEG) opened a new 20,000 squarefoot warehouse this year and launched a collaboration with California-based MBS Equipment Company to service on-site and location productions. “What distinguishes us is our location, between the airport and downtown, and expertise,” says Executive Vice President Kris Bagwell. “We feel lucky to have saved a historic place – the fairgrounds were the home of summer entertainment in Atlanta for a hundred years, and now we’ve brought them back year-round in the modern era. We have some of the largest

stages east of the Mississippi.” Business has been “fantastic” since the studios opened, he reports, with projects including Hunger Games: Mockingjay parts 1 and 2; two of the Divergent films and two seasons of USA Network’s Satisfaction. The just-released feature Passengers shot in Stages 7 and 8, whose combined space made it larger than any other studio in Atlanta at the time. Currently, a new feature occupies the larger stages and a streaming series fills the rest. The complex is booked through mid-2017. “In capacity and occupancy the studio business is more like a convention center than a hotel,” Bagwell explains. “You can’t operate at 100 percent occupancy all year; 80-90 percent is a great year. It’s a difficult business to forecast. Shows don’t tend to book way in advance: a TV series once called us hoping to start shooting two weeks later.” Bagwell muses about a studio-building “bubble” but says building new infrastructure is still trending. But it’s important for all players to realize that “this is very much a service business, not a warehouse business,” he says. EUE/Screen Gems Studios Atlanta effectively services clients with an extensive inventory of its own lighting.

“Eighty percent of the time we can fill production needs with our own equipment, but we have a relationship with MBS for gear we don’t have,” says Bagwell. While building a “true backlot” may be “down the road for us,” the former fairgrounds property offers location possibilities of its own. “The Last of Robin Hood, a feature about Errol Flynn with Kevin Kline and Dakota Fanning, shot exteriors with our buildings doubling for the Paramount lot in the 1940s,” says Bagwell. The Hunger Games features also erected sets in the lower parking lot. The complex recently added 10,000 square feet of additional office space. Its master plan calls for three more stages on no specific timetable. “We’re more interested in doing it well than trying to get too big too fast,” notes Bagwell. “Your reputation is everything in this business, and we want people to know we’ll take care of you at EUE/Screen Gems.” Bagwell also chairs the Georgia Studio & Infrastructure Alliance, an

Kris Bagwell - EUE/Screen Gems Studios

January / February 2017


education and advocacy group. Eagle Rock Studios and Atlanta Filmworks Studio are also members of the Alliance. “We can’t take any of this [production boom] for granted,” he says. “We spend a lot of time with legislators explaining that studios are the modern equivalent of factories, and this is an industry in which America leads the world. Nowhere, including New York, has as much infrastructure on the ground as Georgia. We have a chance to be the biggest place east of California producing entertainment. But we have to keep our nose to the grindstone and not get cocky.”

ATlanta Filmworks STUDIO/ studio space atlanta Just 15 minutes from downtown, Atlanta Filmworks Studio features a 20,000 square-foot column-free stage with 42-foot clear-span ceiling, more than 16,000 square feet of production offices, 3,000 square feet of executive offices and 20,000 square feet of mill and flex space. Its sister facility Studio Space Atlanta has three studios comprising 8,000 square feet plus a full kitchen, client lounges, production offices and conference room. Pre-lit cyc wall packages, diffused lighting packages, a basic lighting package and photo strobe package are available as well as additional lighting and grip gear, microphones and 5-, 3- and 1-ton grip trucks. Studio Space Atlanta opened in 2008 and runs 24/7 servicing commercials for advertisers such as Zaxby’s and Graco, corporate videos, still photographic shoots and music videos. It also hosts interview segments for many reality television shows, like Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. “We put a lot of money into catering to TV clients,” notes Daniel Minchew, owner of Studio Space Atlanta. “In the past two years we added more soundproofing and silent AC; all the ceiling lights are on dimmers. There’s not a lot more to do –


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Studio Space Atlanta green screen studio

We want to make shooting here as comfortable and easy as possible. Daniel Minchew - Atlanta Filmworks Studio

we built out the facility by listening to our clients. We want to make shooting here as comfortable and easy as possible.” Minchew joined with partners Glenn Murer and Mark Henderson to launch Atlanta Filmworks Studio in 2013. “It’s a medium-size stage,” he says, “but being column-free is a huge deal, and you can do anything you want in there with the 42-foot clear ceiling. We’ve been lucky to be the primary shooting location for AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire for its entire run: The show came in for its first season as soon as we opened and is booked with us through January 2018. That’s been a big plus for us.” It’s been fun to watch the metamorphosis of Halt and Catch Fire from season to season, Minchew reports. “They built a Victorian house in the studio, then ripped that out and did a cool warehouse interior,” he says. “They even shot behind our facility in a wooded area and turned the parking lot into the exterior of a bowling alley where they were having a party. “When the show first came in they told us what they wanted, so we built out the stage to meet the needs of the

production,” Minchew explains. “But once in place, their requirements can transfer over to any show that follows.” Production in Georgia shows no signs of leveling off, he notes. “It seems as soon as a new studio opens it’s filled up right away. As many studios as have opened during the last two or three years there’s still a need for more space.”

Third rail STUDIOS One of Georgia’s newer film and TV production studio, Third Rail Studios, has opened four miles north of Buckhead, less than 10 miles from midtown Atlanta and adjacent to MARTA for easy transit. Third Rail Studios features 60,000 square feet of column-free soundstages with a 41-foot height clearance. Adjacent is 37,000 square feet of flex space and an additional 28,000 square feet of production offices. There’s also room to house some exclusive vendors and preferred partners, such as MBS Equipment Company. The studios “are purpose-built and can be configured with removable walls to form

Dan Rosenfelt - Third Rail Studios

three 20,000 square-foot stages or a 20,000 square-foot stage and a 40,000 square-foot stage,” he explains. “We looked at production in Georgia and felt there was a need for a purposebuilt studio on the north side of town,” says President of Operations, Dan Rosenfelt. The studio complex will be complemented by the future development of The Yards with residences and eateries. “We felt it was a very viable location.” Third Rail’s first client was the fatherson buddy comedy, An Actor Prepares, starring Jeremy Irons. The independent feature is shooting on 20,000 square-foot Stage 1 and using considerable amounts of flex space. The New Line film, Rampage, based on the classic video arcade game

There couldn’t be a better time to be in the studio business. and starring Dwayne Johnson, will occupy the entire facility from early to mid-2017. Rosenfelt, who has extensive experience in every aspect of production, including running the boutique Riverfront Stages in LA for five years, intends to make customer service the defining feature at Third Rail Studios. “At the end of the day a studio is a big box for a production to live in, but what separates one studio from another is the quality of its stages and the extent of its customer service,” he says. “One hundred percent of our job is to make sure clients have a great experience.” Rosenfelt sees no end in sight for production growth in Georgia. Recent top-

level meetings with production companies and studios in LA yielded reports of more shows headed this way, he says. “There are so many avenues out there now. Amazon and Netflix are not slowing down. Content is so valuable to all outlets. There couldn’t be a better time to be in the studio business.” He’s pleased by the camaraderie he’s found among the studio community in Atlanta. “Everyone understands that it’s up to all of us to ensure that productions have a positive experience here. I’ve been impressed by everyone I’ve met and by the capabilities of all the studios. But there’s no resting on our laurels. We all have to be actively involved in telling Georgia’s story to the industry.”

January / February 2017


OZ SCENE Awards Presentation

November 11

The 2016 WIFTA Gala


undreds of industry notables gathered at the Wimbish House for the 2016 WIFTA Gala, celebrating women in film and television in Atlanta. This “Roaring 20s” themed gala honored five very special ladies whose talent and dedication have played a key role in expanding our state’s industry. Gala Chairwoman Lorielle Broussard produced an event filled with sumptuous flavors by Party

Execs, festive spirits from Red Brick Brewery, Kano Wines and D’usee Cognac. WIFTA President Cheryl Jenkins presented beautiful Frabel statues to each of the honorees: The Georgian Award to Lee Thomas (Georgia Film Office), the Outstanding Contribution Award to MaryAnn Hughes (The Walt Disney Studios), the PowerBrokHer Award to Valerie Meraz (Turner Entertainment

Antonette LaBaz, Gwen Hughes, Nora Frankovich

Networks), the Woman To Watch Award to Trish Stanard (The Vampire Diaries), and the Rising Star Award to stuntwoman and actor Jwaundace Candece. The celebration also put WIFTA’s growth and success in the spotlight, a rich reward for the vision and hard work the board of directors and members alike.

From The Vampire Diaries: Star Barry, Dena Barry (in black hat), Tony Griffin, Amanda Griffin, Trish Stanard (Honoree), Amy Chance, Cassandra Bogue

Katie Barnes and Kevin Bar (Pinewood Atlanta Studios)

Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries), Ann DeGuire (SIM Group)

Cheryl Jenkins (WIFTA President) and Terry Hooks


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Melissa Goodman (SAG-AFTRA) & casting director/producer Shay Bentley Griffin

OZ SCENE BJ Arnett (WIFTA Board Member) with CAU Students

WIFTA President Cheryl Jenkins welcomes guests

Tyler Edgarton (Mailing Avenue Stageworks) & his wife Holly Hughes

Kris Bagwell (EUE/Screen Gems Studios Atlanta), his wife Tammy Shackleford, & Bill Vassar (EUE/ Screen Gems Studios Wilmington, NC)

Jwaundace Candece acceptance speech

Trish Stanard (Honoree)

Lisa Moore (WIFTA Board Member) & Dr. Mark Beaty

Steve Mensch (President, Tyler Perry Studios) and his wife Danila

Tammi Tanaka Jones (WIFTA Social Media Director), Ronnel Blackmon (Host), Kate Lord (Host)

Kristy Clabaugh (WIFTA Board member) with Eric Clabaugh

Kat Phillips (WIFTA Board Member) with Dr. Eric Springman

January / February 2017


OZ SCENE Greg Cole, Jessica FoxThigpen, and Taylor Kalupa

Adam Stasevich, Mackenzie Jaggers, Janice Harris, TJ Jackson

November 10

Eddie Gadrix & Audrea Jones

Fox Casting Mix and Mingle

T Marny Midkiff & Danny Winn

he first Fox Casting Mix & Mingle event was held at the renowned 57th Fighter Group Restaurant this November. This first-of-its-kind event was the brainchild of Fox Casting owner & principal casting director, Jessica Fox-Thigpen. “I wanted to do something to give back to the acting community” Fox-Thigpen said, “It’s their hardwork and dedication and the tireless efforts of their agents that allow me to do what I do.” The 1940’s era World War II canteen made a unique setting for a unique party: among the

foxhole sandbags, B-52 airplanes and jeeps, agents and actors could be seen dancing and catching up with former cast mates from the numerous series, features and industrial work cast by Fox-Thigpen and her associates. “I’m hired by producers, but it’s the relationships I have with the many agents and actors that drives our success,” Fox-Thigpen says, “We rely on actors & agents as much as they rely on us. It’s a true collaboration!” Fox Casting aims to make this an annual celebration and keep the party going in 2017 and beyond.

Tommy McNulty & Catherine Dyer Anthony Neves, Pacey Walker, Lakisha Smith, Rich Robertson, Patricia McRae Jessica Fox-Thigpen & Alex Zuko

Brea Shaffer, Diane Bray, and Catherine Dyer

Eric Bello, Heroni Bello, Coni Carey, Ben Peck,

Richard Lanford, Jordan Blair Brown, and Santos de la Rosa

Jessica Fontaine, Tiffany Black, Patrice Jackson, Rebecca Lines, Jana Van Dyke, and Melissa Lowe Jamie Mikes, Kimberly Hamilton, Eric Esquer, Amber Erwin


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Jeff Rose, Karen Boles, & Susan Justice


Executive Director Jeffrey Stepakoff (Georgia Film Academy) presenting the GFA production certification card

December 7

Georgia Film Academy Graduation and One-Year Anniversary


he Georgia Film Academy celebrated its first anniversary with a graduation of its first class of 209 students. The celebration was held at the GFA’s Sound Stage A at Pinewood Studios kicked off by Executive Director Jeffrey Stepakoff, who celebrated the Film Academy, saying “there is no program like this anywhere in the country.” Additional speakers included Chancellor Hank Huckaby of the University System of Georgia, who thanked Stepakoff for all of his work and announced his retirement at the end of 2016; Commissioner Gretchen

Bobby Crowe III

Corbin of the Technical College System of Georgia, who acknowledged the legislative branch that made the Film Academy possible; Kate McArdle, Director of Film Workforce Development for the Academy; and select graduates of the program. Attending graduates received their GFA certification cards and put on a demonstration of their learned skills, under the supervision of instructor Dan Kelly. By the end of the year, 610 students are projected to have completed GFA course one, and 212 will complete on-set production internships.

Nathan Henneberg-Verity

Jenn Kelly Mike Minor

Students of the first graduating class holding up their certification cards

Commissioner Gretchen Corbin

Director of Film Workforce Development Kate McArdle Recent graduate Joseph Gagliardi

Chris Graf and Matthew Estrada, guided by instructor Dan Kelly

Alonzo Thrower

Kenya Morgan Karen Brent

January / February 2017


OZ SCENE Alex James, Cal Bowdler, Asheem Khondker, Rebecca Shrager

Ebony Blanding & Christina Humphrey

November 15

November 19

Eat, Drink & B-Indie: Behind the Scenes with ATLFS

New Mavericks Film Series


TLFS held the last Eat, Drink & B-Indie of 2016 in November, simultaneously launching its #30Kin30Days Kickstarter campaign for the 2017 Atlanta Film Festival! Atlanta Film Society staff, board members, and Filmmakers-in-Residence were present to introduce themselves and answer any questions guests had about year-round programming, the upcoming festival, and the Filmmaker-in-Residence program. This 4th annual Kickstarter campaign seeks to raise $30K for ATLFS to bring filmmakers from all over the world to the Atlanta Film Festival.

Alex James, Molly Coffee, Jon Watts, Brantly Jackson Watts


tlanta Film Society presented the 2nd annual New Mavericks Film Series on November 19, hosted this year at the historic Plaza Atlanta Theatre. An open mic panel, happy hour mixer, and closing reception punctuated two shorts blocks: "The Herstory of the Female Filmmaker" and "Belle Raisers: Southeastern Shorts." Tickets to the screenings and panel were paywhat-you-can by suggested donation. The Supermoon SoirĂŠe reception was free and open to the public in celebration and support of women who champion each other on both sides of the lens.

Ebony Blanding & Amber Bournett

Ren Doughty & Julia Doughty Alex James, Christina Humphrey, Kristy Breneman, Christopher Escobar


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

Christina Humphrey, New Mavericks Co-Founder

OZ SCENE Thaddeus Roberts (Grady HS videography teacher) and Susanna Spiccia (Executive Director of re:imagine/ATL) pose with the Grady class and 11Alive volunteers

December 6

re:imagine/ATL Final Showcase: Film & Social Justice


e:imagine/ATL and Grady students debuted their social change videos at a special “Final Showcase Film & Social Justice” event at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. More than 80 community members attended the event to watch the videos and hear more about the impact of youth homelessness, engaging in open community dialogue and learning about how they can get involved through civic engagement and service. During the Showcase, students and volunteers from co-sponsors 11Alive and FOCUS Brands shared their experiences and highlights of the re:imagine/ATL program.

Special guest, Malika Whitley, founder and CEO of the nonprofit ChopArt, gave a first-hand account of her experience with homelessness and spoke about her work with youth around the globe. Attendees had the opportunity to purchase a ColorATL book during the event, with each sale resulting in a book donation directly to local youth facing hardship. In addition to the students’ film screenings, attendees were invited to participate in Dale Adams’ One Night virtual reality demonstration, which allowed them to experience what it’s like to be homeless in

Grady students Melissa Brown and Parker Persons (center) with Miriam Asfour (left, Marketing Manager Digital and Community Engagement, 11Alive) and Jon Gordon (right, VP of Creative Services for FOCUS Brands)

Atlanta. A special screening of the full-length documentary The Homestretch, chronicling the story of three homeless teens, closed out the event. The Final Showcase brought together a diverse audience in support of both the student’s film project, as well as the significant issue of childhood homeless in Atlanta. re:imagine/ATL’s in-school film program and work in the community would not be possible without the support of 11Alive and FOCUS Brands. The videos are available to watch on re:imagine/ATL’s YouTube Channel.

William Massey (ColorATL) with community members

Dale Adams (left) of Architek One shows Jeff Sprout (11Alive) One Night Virtual Reality experience of being homeless in Atlanta

January / February 2017


HOW I GOT INTO THE BUSINESS How did you get into the business?

David Joseph Cook Digital Media Producer/ Visual Effects Designer Northeast Georgia History Center djcook_1982@yahoo.com

It was 1993 and Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park had hit theaters. At that time CGI was still in its infancy. There were still many movies that just couldn't make believable creatures jump on screen. But Spielberg broke that mold. That movie proved there were no more limits to storytelling. At 11 I watched with wide eyes as I tried to imagine what stories I could tell. I promised myself that I would get involved in filmmaking, one way or another. I did pursue some acting during college, as well as some independent film work and background work, but I always found myself going back to being behind a camera or a video editing suite. After a few independent films, I was taken in as an apprentice by Dewayne and Lawayne Bontrager from Twiin Media. They shaped me into a better filmmaker, as they had me operate almost everything, from camera and lighting, to directing, video editing and visual effects. If there was something I didn't know how to do, I made sure to teach myself as quickly as possible. They made sure to always emphasize that I pay attention to the story I am trying to tell, how best to frame that story and not worry so much about what fancy effect to use.

How did you get into the business? I started out by looking for extra jobs to get myself in front of the camera. I did that for a year before I started standing in for kids because of my size. I still do that from time to time, but I started shadowing the production assistants on set and volunteering on indie projects to PA for them in order to get experience. Last year I started training for stunts because of my size and my background, and I plan to stunt double and act as my career one day.

Gabrielle (Gabby) Stein Production Assistant www.facebook.com/ gabrielleLstein

Since as far back as I can remember, I have loved playing dress-up – but more importantly I loved dressing my sisters. I would put them in “costumes” and have them preform a silly dance or play for the family. When I was about 13 I created an actual costume for my youngest sibling that included making my own pattern and sewing the thing together. I had to remember what I had seen my mother do and try to mimic her. Moving forward through the years, I did many jobs but somehow found a way to insert costumes. It wasn’t until I moved to Atlanta that I found an actual world where making costumes was an actual career, between the cosplay world, cons, and the film industry…Atlanta was the place to be. Teaming up with my mom (my original teacher) we decided to create a company where we can create custom pieces for people but also run full wardrobe for film. I absolutely love what I do and am so grateful for the opportunity to continue to be a part of the costume world.

Learn everything you can, and never be afraid to “see what you can do.” Also, never let anyone tell you that you can’t. Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

achieved getting my SAG card and be doing stunts and acting jobs by now.

Do you have a word or quote or mantra you live by? My favorite quote from Buffy “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” It’s the truth. So just live, for you. You can only create your own destiny, whether or not you let things get in your way is up to you.

Stunt woman.

What’s the best advice you can offer to young people in your profession?


This might sound a bit simple and cliché, but I live by the simple mantra of "believe in yourself and you'll become that which you want most." I use this mantra if I feel like I'm holding off on work that needs to be done. It reminds me of who I am and what my behavior should be as a filmmaker. If I'm slacking off on work, it's a good way to remind me that, that is unacceptable behavior.

Work on as many projects as you can, indie and non-union included. Work for free, and work your butt off. You never know who you are going to meet and work with/for. It’s really gotten me far in this industry, and I’ve built a great reputation for myself.

How did you get into the business?

Wandering Dream Studios wanderingdreamstudios.com

Do you have a word or quote or mantra you live by?

If you weren't doing this, what would be your dream job?

I would have started in the industry a lot earlier, and instead of hopping on the PA train to AD town, I would have gotten into my stunt training sooner so I could have

Independent Costume Creator/Designer

Let your passion drive you and never give up. This job is not for the faint-hearted as the saying goes. If you are wanting to do this job only for money or fame, then you're in the wrong line of work. If there is one constant that I've noticed from all the wonderful people I've met during this journey, it's that they all have an insatiable love and passion for their work and for this art. That's what keeps them moving, and that's what keeps them working.

What’s the best advice you can offer to young people in your profession?

If you had it to do all over again, what would you change?

Jo Veitenheimer

What’s the best advice you can offer to young people in your profession?

What makes your job cool or fun for you? The people I work with. All of them. The behind the scenes point of view I get to see. Different things from the props we use, to the actors we have, to the locations we go to. I’ve gotten to work with several people who worked on the Buffy TV series, which is my all-time favorite show, and that is definitely a perk for me. And I currently work on a vampire/werewolf/witch show, and that is my area of nerd. We get to bring the shows you love to life, 5 days a week (sometimes more).

What makes your job cool or fun for you?

The ability to create and play and then see the finished work on people. In the film world, I make a costume and a lot of time and energy goes into it, but it’s still just a costume. However, when the actor puts on the costume and suddenly “becomes” that character, it’s a whole new level of awesome.

What’s your favorite memory from a project? We were asked to create the wardrobe for an independent Star Trek movie. Spent months making the uniforms that were very, very similar to the Original Series uniforms. My internal nerd was beyond excited. We finally get to see the set and start filming day one. First thing, the person playing the captain puts on his costume and in seconds you see him transform: he WAS the captain. He walked onto the bridge and in that moment I realized I was living my dream: I had helped create the captain for Star Trek. Few days later we were filming a “disaster scene” and I got to destroy a few of those shirts.



Malcontents, Prospering Ambitious THE


By William Hollis

It amazes me how few people take advantage of the free resources out there.


here seem to be a lot of mixed feelings about the film boom in Georgia so indulge me and read my perspective. In my humble opinion, though not without its faults, the film industry is a net positive for our Georgia economy. I spent several years working as a production assistant in various departments on projects large and small. I got a firsthand look at the requirements of a production and its impact long after principle photography has wrapped. During that period, I met numerous people outside of the film industry that fell into one of three categories: the Malcontents, the Prospering and the Ambitious. The Malcontents are made up of neighbors angry that the asshole next-door is making money blocking the street, local denizens who feel an inexplicable sense of propriety over public property, ill-informed tax payers and the would-be Prosperous who lack the initiative to figure out how to make money off this economic phenomenon. The Prospering are those within and without the industry who have already figured out how to make this profit generator work for them. They are comprised of the writers, producers, actors, crews, realtors and local businesses who are digging the lower cost of living and doing business that Georgia provides. These people understand the difference between filming and development which is tremendous.

The Ambitious are those that recognize a good thing when they see it. They just haven’t figured out how to turn a profit off yet. These are the nice ladies I meet on a plane who own a hair salon and want to know if they can cut hair on the movies. “No,” I reply. “You’re not in the union. But, what you could do is buy a lot of product wholesale and sell it back to a movie gearing up.” Throw in delivery and remember that when they want something they want it yesterday and you’ve got a nice little side business. These are the people I really want to help. Maybe it does take an insider’s viewpoint to know how to make the boom work for them though. A little guidance and Y’allywood can attain permanence instead of being considered a quaint joke among the LA elite. Keep in mind China is launching a huge incentive and you know that labor is cheap. Movies and TV shows are ridiculously expensive to make and there is no loyalty in the project-to-project business. If the tax credits go, so do the productions. As far as state revenue is concerned, one has to think long term. You can’t look at the books and expect a production to be pumping money into Georgia right away. You have to look at the projected numbers. Since productions always run over budget anyway, those projections will err on the side of underestimating tax revenue. It amazes me how few people take advantage of the free resources out there. Whether you’re a 20-something film grad trying to break into the industry or an outsider hoping to do business with a show, NETWORK. Find the groups online and go to the free events. With the mountain of responsibility and the short time frame that insiders have to do it, you need to be fresh on their mind and available if you want to get in on the action. A buyer for SetDec doesn’t have time to track down the info of that nice guy who owns a second hand furniture shop in Little 5 points, so keep business cards on you, exchange info and follow up. On a final note, your last day of the job is the interview for the next one. William Hollis hopes to turn his love of writing and acting into a directorial career. January / February 2017





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January / February 2017



Nikki A. Eva Nikki A. Eva is from California, but now proudly makes Atlanta, GA her home. She has a degree in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. Working in various mediums such as acrylics, inks, and digital, she brings beauty to things that would otherwise be completely terrifying. She's always had a deep love of art, and her unique creepy style has earned her attention from around the world. In addition to her art, Nikki has developed other talents in set and costume design. She brings her unique dark sensibilities to events like Netherworld Haunted House and shows like NBC's Constantine. She also does prop building, including her award-winning Splicer masks styled by the video game BioShock. Nikki's unique characters have begun to take their own life as she is beginning to pen a dark style children's book series aimed to help educate children on mental health situations like anxiety. www.nikkiaeva.com

Rémy Vincent Rémy is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in Illustration / Communication Arts. Rémy has an international background having been brought up in the United States, France and Switzerland. Rémy's work ranges from more graphic and humorous in nature to more serious black and white drawings. His work also ranges from more simplistic thought provoking images to highly detailed patterned illustrations. Rémy has a story he wants to tell and uses his illustrations to express themes close to him: politics, humor, fashion and music. Rémy draws influence from all areas of his life, even the smallest instant can spark an idea.  www.remyvincentillustration.com


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Oz Magazine January/February 2017  

Oz Magazine is about people - the many fascinating people who make Atlanta a major player in the visual communication industry - and the cre...

Oz Magazine January/February 2017  

Oz Magazine is about people - the many fascinating people who make Atlanta a major player in the visual communication industry - and the cre...

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