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May 2016

Press Release: GPP Inaugurates New Officers

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ATLANTA – Georgia Production Partnership (GPP), the state’s leading entertainment industry association, inaugurated their new slate of officers for the 2016-2018 term.

The group will be led by Co-Presidents Patricia (Trish) Taylor and Clark Cofer. Chris Escobar will serve as vice-president and Deborah Childs as GPP’s secretary. Lisa Wright was re-elected to her post as treasurer. All held previous active leadership positions within the organization.

GPP is a coalition of companies and individuals who are active in the film, video, music, and interactive game industries. Their goal is to do whatever it takes to help grow the industry in Georgia

“It is an honor to be elected GPP co-president and to have our membership of top industry leaders continue their trust in this organization to lead through advocacy and education,” said Taylor. “Film and television production is exploding in Georgia with an associated economic impact in the billions. GPP is proud of its role and mission to protect the state tax incentive, which is a prime factor in bringing in these productions, and plans to continue in 2016.”

Taylor has over 25 years’ experience in the communications and entertainment industry. Currently, she owns a marketing and public relations consulting business, is a working actor and the operations manager at Craig Miller Productions. She has served as GPP’s vice-president since 2011.

Cofer echoed her enthusiasm. “I am thrilled and honored to be elected GPP co-president,” said Cofer. “GPP offers such a great venue for industry leaders to come together and make a difference. I have spent the last four years helping grow the membership and I hope that, as co-president, I can continue make an even bigger impact for our membership and our industry.”

Cofer has worked in and around the Video Film Production Community for 23 years as an executive producer, producer, project manager, & art director. Since 2011, Clark has served on the GPP Executive Board as membership chair.

Along with the Co-Presidents, the other officers will contribute a variety of insight and experience to their leadership of GPP; Vice-President Chris Escobar is executive director of the Atlanta Film Festival, Secretary Deborah Childs is a working actor in film and television and Treasurer Lisa Wright is principal of LA Wright & Associates, LLC.

In addition to the new officers, members elected four new Executive Board members. Lisa Ferrell, Executive Producer at Resolution Media & Entertainment; Joan Karpeles, independent producer; Michelle Digaetano, licensed therapeutic on-set massage therapist; and Susan Moss, SAG-AFTRA actor, independent producer and WIFTA executive director. They join current board members Melissa Goodman, SAG-AFTRA executive director; Brennan Dicker, director of Post Media Services for Crawford Media; Linda Burns, independent producer and production manager; Fran Burst, independent filmmaker; Cameron McAllister, social media consultant and Mark Knapp, actor and IT consultant.


About Georgia Production Partnership:

Established in 1995 as a 501(c)(6) corporation, GPP was founded by a handful of Atlanta film industry pioneers and has grown to over 500 members made up of directors, producers, writers, TV and film crew professionals, broadcast and television studios, lighting and equipment companies, payroll, casting directors, talent agencies, actors, musicians, music writer/producers, union and association directors, hotel representatives and other service companies.

GPP Speaker Series — Carrie Schrader, Phoebe Brown, Christopher Hicks

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Phoebe Brown — Producer, The Founders
Phoebe Brown is an independent producer and seasoned film and television professional working in both narrative production as an on-set dresser for shows including Sundance’s Rectify, CW’s The Originals and Tyler Perry’sFor Better or Worse and as an Associate Producer for nonfiction programming for Investigation Discovery, Cooking Channel and PBS. Phoebe is co-founder of The Cross Stitch Project, a media production program for teen girls in Kolkata and Atlanta, and awarding winning Producer/Director of short documentaries Grounded by Reality, 99 to 1: Ovarian Cancer and Me and The Culinary Browns. She received her MFA in Digital Filmmaking Arts from Georgia State University. Currently Phoebe is in post production on short narrative film Leaving Charlie and pre-production on several projects including: Osman AKA OZZY, A hybrid doc shooting in April; Black Comedy, an independent romantic comedy feature; and Shuktara, a feature documentary shooting in India in October 2016. Phoebe became a member of the Producers Guild of America in 2015.

Carrie Schrader

Carrie Schrader — Co-Director/Co-Writer/Producer, The Founders
Carrie Schrader is a writer/director whose recent work includes spots for Netflix (BatDad add) and TLC (Say Yes to the Dress) and multiple projects with Mighty Fine Pictures for clients such as Home Depot, the PGA of America, and WE TV. Her short films and screenplays, including Boys and Dogs and Kids Are Weird, Mine andFirst Date, have won film festival audience awards internationally. She won the “New Voices” award at the Seattle International Film Festival, and was labeled one of the “Top Ten Director’s To Watch Out For” by IndieWire.com. She has directed 3 projects with Cherry Films: Don’t Mess With Texas distributed by Wolfe Video, written by Tricia Cooke and Ethan Coen (Where the Girls Are, The Big Lebowski); The Thorny Rose written by Kenneth Hillman; and an animated music video for Hollywood records called Rock & Roll Heaven’s Gate. She has an MFA in film directing from Columbia University.

Christopher Hicks

Christopher Hicks — Director, Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment
On February 24, 2016, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that Christopher Hicks will serve as the new Director of the Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment. Hicks has lived in Atlanta since 1996 and has led an accomplished career in the entertainment industry, working with some of the most successful national and international artists to come from Atlanta. Hicks has also been an entrepreneur, running his own production and publishing houses based in Atlanta.

Hicks served as the Executive Vice President of Island Def Jam Records, part of Universal Music Group, from 2009 to 2012, splitting his time between Atlanta and New York. In this role, Hicks was part of the team to launch Justin Bieber’s career. He reported directly to the Chairman and CEO of Island Def Jam and was in charge of the creative staff across the record label.

“I am excited to serve Mayor Reed as a member of his administration and the City of Atlanta, where I’ve made my home for the last 20 years,” said Hicks. “The film and entertainment industry is surging in Atlanta, boosting the economy in the city and across our state. I am thrilled to help advance this industry and support this growing talent pool in my new role.”

From 2007 to 2009, Hicks was Senior Vice President and Head of Urban Music at Warner Chappell, part of the Warner Music Group. He was responsible for reinvigorating the urban music division, which had once been a dominant part of the Warner Music Group business.

Hicks also founded and served as CEO of Noontime Music Publishing, and was a managing partner with CONTENT Music Group, where he consulted for Mary J. Blige and Usher Raymond. In 2012, Hicks launched his own production and consulting practice, DSRPT INC., where he advised clients from diverse industries on traditional and non-traditional brand visibility strategies. In his free time, Hicks enjoys volunteering with The First Tee, a youth organization which provides character education and healthy opportunities through golf lessons.

Christopher Hicks succeeds LaRonda Sutton in this role. Sutton was the first director of the Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment and held her post from 2013 through January 2016.

GPP Speaker Series — Billy Gabor and Ken Cook

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Billy Gabor —Managing Director for Deluxe Entertainment’s Atlanta based operations that include Beast Editorial, Company 3, C03 Sound & Method Studios. He also continues to be a Senior Colorist for Company 3.

Gabor joined Company 3 LA in 1998 and moved to New York in 2001 to found Company 3’s original East Coast location. With the New York business expanding past its footprint, Gabor contributed to the growth and design of the new office located in Chelsea that launched in August 2010. One year later, Billy moved to Atlanta to found Company 3 Atlanta as Colorist and VP of Business Development to service the rapidly growing market. With his continued success in both commercials and features, Gabor led the redesign and build of the Atlanta facility including the addition of a full-scale DCI compliant color grading theatre for feature clients. In 2014 he was promoted to MD.

Acknowledged as one of the top Colorists in the industry, Gabor has been a part of the Company 3 team for almost 18 years. His passion, creativity and integrity for his work is underscored by his longstanding relationships with celebrated Directors and Cinematographers & the country’s top advertising agencies. Gabor has contributed to numerous award-winning projects including winners of Sundance Jury, Clio, Monitor, AICP, Cannes Lion, and Emmy Awards. In addition to his work in commercials and music videos, Gabor has colored television shows and an array of feature films, including Emmy Award winning Documentaries and Academy Award nominated Shorts.

The Atlanta tri-brand facility services span the post-production pipeline from on set/near set solutions, dailies, deliverables, archiving, editorial, final color grading, VFX & finishing, sound design and mixing. Additionally, they provide remote color critical sessions between the global Deluxe owned studios and other partner sites to enable real time collaboration between artists and clients in Atlanta and stakeholders who are in other cities.

Prior to Company 3, Billy worked at Roland House in D.C. and SMA Video in New York. He began his career with Editworks after being an intern at Bosstown Recording. He is a graduate of the Film School at Georgia State University. Gabor also studied International Business and Theater at Richmond College (American International University), London.


Ken Cook — Senior Meteorologist at YOUR FORECAST NOW

Mr. Cook spent 35 years as Chief Meteorologist for WAGA-TV/FOX5 in Atlanta. During those years, he prepared or presented weather forecasts, and warnings as necessary, five days a week, during the 5PM, 6PM, 10PM, and 11PM Newscasts.

Mr. Cook is a graduate of The University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math and Meteorology. He has worked in Atlanta for more than 40 years forecasting the weather.  For six of those years, he worked with the National Weather Service (NWS) preparing public forecasts and warnings of severe weather, aviation forecasts, fire weather forecasts, and more.  He also served as the Atlanta NWS’ Disaster Preparedness Meteorologist working with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the Governor’s Office, Georgia and local school systems, and as liaison with the Atlanta area news media.

He has received numerous public service and professional awards during his tenure, including  the AP’s “Best Weather Cast Award”, Atlanta Magazine’s “Best Weather Forecaster—Peoples’ Choice Award”, Atlanta NATAS’ “Silver Circle Award”, State of Georgia “Governor’s Commendation”, The City of Atlanta’s “Phoenix Award”,  and the National Weather Service’s “Outstanding Performance Award”.

According to Mr. Cook, “After 40+ years, I understand the vagaries and nuances of Atlanta’s weather very well.  The NWS and computer forecasts are pretty good, if you don’t have money and time on the line.” This is why he has joined with Mr. Rubin at YOUR FORECAST NOW to give production and movie companies in the Atlanta Metro Area that extra edge that they need when it comes to the weather, when tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars or more are on the line during a single day’s “shoot”