Speakers

Kevin Amick

Director of Education, IATSE Local 479 - Atlanta, GA

Kevin is the Director of Education for IATSE Local 479 in Atlanta, GA. He began his career in the film industry as a Set Medic in 2008. In 2012 he took a full-time position as a Local 479 Job Steward, assisting the Business Agent with the needs of the rapidly growing membership with the influx of productions coming into Georgia. By 2014 he began work as the Interim Education and Training Director, then transitioned to his current role. He currently serves as a Trustee for the IA Training Trust Fund and is an Authorized OSHA Outreach Trainer. He also serves as an Executive Board Member for the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency, Local Workforce Investment Board Area 3.

Casey Cagle

Lieutenant Governor, State of Georgia

In 2006, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle took office after serving more than a decade as a state senator. A successful businessman, he promotes economic development, supports innovation in transportation and calls for meaningful reduction in government spending. He also works to promote technical education, spread awareness about childhood obesity, and encourages healthcare reform that both supports market-based solutions and provides a safety net for those in need. 

Karen Carberry Warhola

Director, Maine Film Office

Karen is the Director of the Maine Film Office and possesses more than 20 years of hands-on production experience in the film and television industry.  Since joining the Maine Film Office in 2012, filming in Maine has increased more than 200% and direct spending by productions more than 300%.  She has worked as a freelancer at Buena Vista, a division of The Walt Disney Company, before joining their staff for a ten-year run at the Burbank, CA studio. She returned to the studio lot to manage Touchstone Television’s Prime Time Awards and their Emmy Awards campaign.  She is Board Member for the AFCI Board of Directors and is one of more than 50 Certified Film Commissioners worldwide.

Kevin Clark

Executive Director, AFCI

Kevin came to work for the AFCI in 2005.  He joined the organization as its Communications Manager, successfully rebranding the organization, before becoming the Director of Operations in 2009. In 2013, Kevin assumed the position as Executive Director. During his time as Executive Director, AFCI has diversified internationally, with 50% of the membership based outside of the United States and overseen the revitalization of AFCI University. 

Jerry Day

Jerry Day

Director of Content & Professional Development, AFCI

Jerry Day has been in charge of the AFCI Professional Development program for two years. He was a member of the organization for 10 years as a film commissioner in Northern California, the final two years serving on the AFCI Board of Directors. He was a founding member and a chairman of the California film commission coalition known as FLICS. Prior to his film commission work, Jerry spent a decade in television where he produced daily programming for CBS, Yahoo! and Tech TV. 

Lisa Day

Director of Sustainability, 20th Century Fox

Lisa is the Director of Sustainability at 20th Century Fox. In her current, role, she is responsible for developing and implementing Fox’s sustainability programs at the iconic Fox Studios in Los Angeles, Fox Studios Australia, Fox’s offices worldwide, and on every feature film and television show the Studio produces.  This includes tracking and reducing carbon emissions and water use, to incorporating sustainable materials into set design and construction and working to achieve the company’s zero waste goals. Prior to joining Fox, she worked at the intersection of media and the environment for over 15 years, first as the Global Projects Director of the Earth Communications Office and then as the Vice President of Corporate and Community Affairs at Participant Media.

Christopher J. Dodd

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.

Former United States Senator Chris Dodd is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., which serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture industry around the world. For 36 years, Senator Dodd represented Connecticut in the United States Congress and as the state’s longest serving member was recognized as one of the most widely respected legislators in Congress, earning the trust of both Republicans and Democrats. A key participant in nearly every major national policy debate over the last three decades, Senator Dodd is perhaps best known for authoring or co-authoring the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993; the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; the Help America Vote Act; and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Dodd served as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is a recognized expert on Latin America. During his tenure he interacted extensively with leaders throughout Europe, Asia, Canada and Latin America and served as Co-Chair of the U.S. – India Senate Caucus. Appointed in March of 2011 to represent one of America’s most creative and storied industries, Senator Dodd’s highest priority is to champion the creative freedoms of filmmakers by safeguarding intellectual property rights, advancing technology-driven innovation and opening global markets to the uniquely powerful medium of film.

Andy Edmunds

Director, Virginia Film Office

Andy is an accomplished musician and songwriter. He completed his studies Virginia Commonwealth University in the mid 80s, he then produced a music video of one of his songs that was broadcast on MTV. This experience introduced him to the film production industry where he ultimately settled in as a location scout until landing a job at the Virginia Film Office in 1997. “I found myself in a non-traditional area of economic development that seemed to be perfectly suited to my experience and interests. Every day I look forward to continuing to give back to the state I know and love through an enthusiastic approach to attracting clients and delivering creative solutions”, says Andy. During his time with the Film Office, he has worked with the most notable filmmakers of our time including Terrence Malick, Ridley Scott, Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg to name a few.

Randall Franks

Georgia Production Partnership, Government Relations Committee Member

Randall sits on the Government Relations Committee for the Georgia Production Partnership, a not-for-profit coalition of companies and individuals who are active in the State of Georgia's film, video, music, and interactive game industries. Randall is the former board secretary of the GPP and also served as chairman of the organization's Fast Forward Initiative that was responsible for providing out-of-area film, television and commercial producers with vital information about each county in the state production resources. 

Don Gray

Contract Locations Coordinator, New Mexico State Film Office

Don is the Contract Locations Coordinator for the New Mexico State Film Office. He is also a filmmaker, location scout and manager and contributing faculty member of The Film School at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. His films have played in more than 30 film festivals worldwide. His 2007 film Things We Do For Love was selected by the US Embassy in Kolkata, India as an example of outstanding US filmmaking for the Kalpanirjhar Film Festival in Kolkata. He has also taught the Digital Location Scouting workshop for AFCI since 2007.

Jeremy Hariton

Senior Vice President, The MBS Group

Jeremy is Senior Vice President of The MBS Group, focused on providing real estate, equipment leasing and production services solutions to clients in the entertainment and media industries. Prior to joining MBS Group, he was instrumental in the development, operations, sales and/or marketing of Atlanta Film Studios, Mississippi Film Studios, Albuquerque Studios and The Culver Studios, and provided consulting services for the development and operations of studio facilities across North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. 

Mark Henderson

Owner, Get A Grip Atlanta

Mark has been involved in graphic arts, photography and film his entire career. He is the owner of Get-A-Grip Atlanta, a crewing and equipment company that provides crewmembers and equipment for video and film productions in Georgia and throughout the world. From the designs of the Miami Heat Basketball team logo to a Director of Photography for the Special Jury Prize winning film at Sundance, Good Hair he has garnered a path through the arts and entertainment field. He has worked with recording artists: Ludacris, The Amigos, Janelle Monae, Joe Namath, Kenny Rogers and numerous others. Currently, he is also a partner in Atlanta Filmworks, the current home of the AMC's smash hit "Halt and Catch Fire" starring Lee Pace (Lord of the Rings), MacKenzie Davis (The Martian) and Scoot McNairy and Kerry Bishe (Argo, voted OSCAR winning best picture).

Cassandra Hesseltine

Film Liaisons in California Statewide (FLICS), President

Cassandra is currently the President of FLICS (Film Liaisons in California Statewide), the non-profit organization that is made up of 42 Film Commission offices who promote and coordinate filming throughout the state of California.  In addition to this statewide role, she is currently the Film Commissioner for Humboldt and Del Norte Counties in Northern California. Prior to taking on the role she worked in film and television as a producer and casting director of low-budget, indie productions that relied heavily on the assistance of film commissioners.  

 

Kevin Jennings

Chairman, AFCI and Executive Manager, Film Otago Southland

Kevin is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the AFCI and the Executive Manager at Film Otago Southland, the Regional Film Office that covers the Southern half of the South Island of New Zealand.  He has recently qualified as a Certified Film Commissioner with the AFCI and is a former Dancy Jones Scholarship winner.  He chairs the advisory committee of the Film School at the Southern Institute of Technology, and is a Trustee of the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust. He is a former board member of Film New Zealand.  He has experience in film and television, adventure tourism, as a small business owner and restaurateur. Born in Northern California, he has called New Zealand home for 28 years.

Nick Maniatis

Director, New Mexico Film Office

Nick was appointed Director, of the New Mexico Film office in 2011. Since then, he has overseen the expansion and growth of a program that has increased the number of television series from two to seven a year, with a direct spend from all productions totaling close to two billion dollars. He began his career in the film and television industry in Los Angeles, working in different capacities on such shows as Candid Camera, A Different World, and Grace Under Fire. He previously served as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Independent Power Producers and lobbied the New Mexico Legislature for an array of clients. Recently, Nick was elected the First Vice-Chairman on the Board of Directors for the AFCI.

Steve Mensch

President/General Manager of Studio Operations, Tyler Perry Studios

Steve is considered one of the most influential people in the film and TV production industry in Georgia.  He has executive experience in design, operations, strategic planning, budgeting and business development. He is the President and General Manager of Studio Operations for Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. He has had the privilege of leading the operations team during the move and redevelopment of the studio at its new location.  Tyler Perry Studios recently relocated to the historic Fort McPherson army base that was built in 1885 and occupies 330 acres of land.  Upon its final completion, the studio will be a state of the art production hub unlike any in the world. Before joining Tyler Perry Studios, Mensch was interim president at Third Rail Studios.  His international experience includes serving as president and CEO of the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis in Beijing with the Dalian Wanda Group.  For nearly a decade before that, he led the studio operations team at Turner in Atlanta. His efforts have created billions of dollars of economic impact and placed him at the forefront of some of the most groundbreaking projects in TV/Film production history.

Shawn Rafferty

Partner, Barnes & Thornburg - Atlanta

Shawn is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg’s Corporate Department in the Atlanta office. His practice primarily focuses on general commercial aviation law, aircraft finance and equipment leasing. He has more than 20 years’ experience in counseling lenders, investors, lessors, lessees, manufacturers and others in a variety of transactions. He also has experience representing major and regional U.S. airlines. He has assisted those airlines in the acquisition and sale of new and used aircraft, and in financing airline equipment. He also advises clients in various aircraft maintenance issues, aircraft modifications, aircraft conversions, simulator and training agreements, charter agreements, and airport leases. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the American Bar Association and is a founding member of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s Air, Rail and Marine Subcommittee. He is listed in Expert Guides Best of the Best (USA), Expert Guides Aviation and Who’s Who Legal. He has also achieved Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards and is recognized in EuroMoney’s “Guide to the World’s Leading Aviation Lawyers” and “International Who’s Who.”

Dan Simmons

Head of Partnerships, Creative Skillset

Dan is Head of Partnerships at Creative Skillset, the skills body for the creative industries in the UK.  He is responsible for developing partnerships and managing investment into training and education to meet industry’s skills needs. He was previously Head of Film and developed the current four-year UK film skills strategy, securing over £20 million in public investment to support a wide range of training and education initiatives, ensuring the UK film industry remains globally competitive. An Associate of the London Film School, he has produced a number of short films and is currently writing several feature scripts. He was selected as a Fellow for the creative and cultural sector’s prestigious Clore Leadership Programme in 2014/15, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. A marketer by background, before working in the Creative Industries he had a career in marketing and fundraising for a number of health organizations.

Nick Smerigan

Owner & Founder, RoadTown Enterprises, LTD.

Nick has been in the entertainment business for over 40 years in the areas of facility design, construction management, operations, sales, marketing, consulting and providing due diligence for real estate development for both private and institutional investors. He is the Owner / Founder of RoadTown Enterprises, LTD., a specialized consulting and management company focused in entertainment real estate and related industries. He is currently overseeing RoadTown's design and operations consulting for Atlanta Metro Studios, a 245,000 square foot full service production facility 15 miles south of Atlanta.  Highlights of his achievements while at the helm of RoadTown include designing and building the $91 million Albuquerque Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico; the Atlanta Film Studios in Paulding County, Georgia; and the Mississippi Film Studios @ Canton, in Canton, Mississippi. Under his direction, RoadTown Enterprises help land owners, developers, business owners and entrepreneurs design, build, operate and market motion-picture and television production facilities and their associated support businesses. 

Lisa Strout

Director, Massachusetts Film Office

Lisa has been at the helm of the Massachusetts Film Office since 2011, and has overseen over 100 major film and television productions throughout the state during her tenure. She was formerly the director of the New Mexico Film Office for nearly a decade, during its initial production boom.  She has 35 years of experience in the film industry, including 20 years as a location manager in New England, New York, California, New Mexico, Texas, and Italy.  She also managed the New York City offices of Merchant Ivory Productions for two years.  Today, she is happy to be back in her home state, working hard to create jobs and economic opportunities, and to build a sustainable film industry in the Commonwealth.

Scott Tigchelaar

President, Raleigh Studios-Atlanta

Scott is the President of Riverwood Studios, Inc. operating as Raleigh Studios – Atlanta, and President of Senoia Enterprises, Inc., the company responsible for the redevelopment of historic Senoia, Georgia. Originally from Toronto, Canada, he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Trinity Western University in Vancouver, British Columbia. Under his leadership, The Historic Senoia Project has won numerous awards, and complements the back lot infrastructure of Raleigh Studios for AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, and other productions. In 2013, he was appointed by the State of Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal to serve on the Georgia Tourism Foundation Board. 

Stephen Weizenecker

Partner, Barnes & Thornburg - Atlanta

Stephen is a partner in the Atlanta office of Barnes & Thornburg where he is a member of the firm’s Corporate Department and Entertainment, Media and Sports Practice Group. He focuses his practice on entertainment-related business including tax incentives, financing, mergers, acquisitions and intellectual property matters for film, television, and videogame clients. He is member of numerous professional organizations including: the Georgia Governor’s Advisory Commission on Film, Music, and Digital Entertainment; the Legislative Study Committee on Music and Economic Development; the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Forum on Sports and Entertainment Industries; and is Co-Chair of the Forum’s Webinar Program. In 2015 he was recognized as part of the Georgia Legal Elite, an honor bestowed to him by his peers.  He is also Immediate Past Chair of the Entertainment and Sports Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. He has been listed as a Rising Star for Super Lawyers for multiple years. A noted author, he has written several articles for the ABA’s Entertainment and Sports Lawyer.