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June 2
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Events Category:


Linda Burns
Lee Thomas
Mike Akins
Ryan Millsap
Jeremiah Bennett

How the GA Creative Industry is Adapting: Productions Planning Re-Entry

June 2 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Georgia Production’s June Virtual Monthly Meeting:

“How the GA Creative Industry is Adapting” will be a panel discussion posted on Facebook Tuesday, June 2nd. Join us with special guests who will discuss where Georgia’s production stands and what it may look like once it resumes during COVID-19. The meeting will be moderated by Linda Burns, Producer and Line Producer, with panelists as follows. Mike Akins, IATSE 479 Business Agent,  Lee Thomas from the GA Film Office, Jeremiah Bennett, Television Producer and Ryan Millsap, Blackhall Studios CEO.

SUBMIT QUESTIONS AHEAD by Monday, May 25th to Marketing@georgiaproduction.org to ensure that they are answered. This will not be available on the day.

Linda Burns is an Atlanta-based film producer, line producer, and production manager. She sits on the executive boards of Atlanta Film Society and is the former GPP Education Chair. She reads scripts, provides coverage and develops projects including script breakdown, budget, schedule, pitch, propose, close, negotiate, spend, reconcile, research, network, strategize, market, collaborate, consult, wheel, deal and deliver. From script to screen, digital to film, union to non-union, large to small, she does it all! Always on time. Always on budget.

Lee Thomas is a Deputy Commissioner at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and division director of the Georgia Film Office. A native Atlantan, Lee received a Bachelor of the Arts in Radio -TV -Film from UGA, a Master’s Degree in Film Studies from Georgia State University, then entered the Tisch School of the Arts Doctoral Program in Cinema Studies at New York University. She returned to Atlanta in 1996 to work for the Georgia Film and Videotape Office as a project manager, and then became a location specialist for the office in 1998.  After finding locations for film and television projects for 12 years, Lee became director of the film division in 2010. 

Mike Akins was born and raised in Oklahoma.  He served in the United States Navy from 1975 to 1979. He earned a BS in 1983 and MS 1986 from Oklahoma State University.  Since 1987, he has worked as a Key Grip, Dolly Grip, and in other various capacities in the Motion Picture industry in Georgia.

In 1998, Mike became the business agent for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Local 479, which has grown during his tenure to be one of the largest film trade organizations in the United States.  In his capacity as the IATSE Local 479 business agent, he was an architect of and instrumental in the initial movement to pass state film tax credit legislation in 2005 and an enhanced law in 2008.  He continues to hold the position of Local 479 business agent after 20 years.

Recognizing his role in the entertainment industry, Governors Sonny Perdue, Nathan Deal, and Brian Kemp have all appointed Mike to serve on their Governor’s Advisory Boards.  Mike also currently serves as an Executive Board member on the Georgia Screen Entertainment Coalition, which is part of the GA Chamber of Commerce.


Jeremiah Bennett is an international award-winning movie and television producer. His passion for media started young, and at thirteen he began running sound and lighting at his local church.  During his early career, Jeremiah produced many award winning indie films that have been featured in festivals around the world. Over the last few years, he has worked on shows for international television networks including Al Jazeera, WEtv, Discovery Channel, and Food Network, and corporate team at BET Networks. He was a producer for TLC’s hit reality series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. He also produced the feature films including “Hear Us” “Crimes and Mister Meanors”. Jeremiah is the chair for the Atlanta chapter of the Producers Guide of America and a member of the Television Academy. He founded and serves as president & chairman of the board directors for the ME Film Festival. Currently Jeremiah manages the post audio houses Westside Studios, Charleston Sound Studios and serves as the executive producer and CEO of Glass Door Studios, a film, television and new media production company.

Ryan Millsap is the Chairman & CEO of Blackhall Studios and the Founder and CEO of Irinda Capital Management, LLC, which is transitioning to Blackhall Capital. In his role as Chairman at Blackhall, Ryan oversees the long and short term strategy of the studios, staying involved on a daily basis to provide leadership and direction for the company and its assets. Blackhall’s production clients include Disney, Sony, Warner Brothers, Universal, Lionsgate, Legendary, Paramount, and HBO. “Venom”, “Jungle Cruise”, “Dr. Sleep”, and “Jumanji” have all been filmed at Blackhall.

Ryan has played a principal level role in the capitalization, acquisition, and management of more than $1.2B in real estate assets, including more than 12,000 apartments in cities across the nation from Savannah to Los Angeles, and numerous other real estate ventures including opportunistic investments in raw land entitlements, retail, office, and industrial. Since 2008, his companies have acquired $800MM in real estate assets, primarily via arranging joint venture arrangements with several prominent pension fund advisors, university endowments and a publicly traded REIT.