Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 Conference Shows Growth of Atlanta Film Industry

Conference attendees get hands on exposure in DSLR Photography for Filmmakers session.

ATLANTA, Ga. — The Oct. 13-14 Georgia BigPictureCon Film and Technology Conference has gotten a lot of people excited, including keynote speaker filmmaker Cory Edwards.

In an interview with Atlanta Christian radio station 104.7 The Fish, Edwards, the creator of the hit animated film Hoodwinked, said the conference is a sign of Atlanta’s growing film industry.

“What’s so great about this conference is that the city of Atlanta is becoming such a player in entertainment,” he said. “You don’t have to be in NY or LA to make a movie.”

Edwards said he loves traveling to other cities to make movies because New York and Los Angeles are very condensed, tough cities to work in where everybody is trying to do what you’re already doing. He said it was very refreshing to come to Atlanta and see how it’s growing exponentially.

“I’ll be honest, I’m new to Atlanta, I don’t know a lot about Atlanta, and this weekend has been my introduction,” he said. “It’s been really exciting to see the studios that are going up and the work that’s being done. I’ve met a lot of people that are just starting their careers and there’s a lot of excitement.”

Founder and producer Nancy Howard said this was the fourth Georgia Big Picture Conference, with previous conferences taking place in 2005, 2007, and 2009.

“It’s tough trying to make a comeback after four years away, but clearly the enthusiasm and positive feedback that we got from the attendees and speakers has been a good driver that we should continue this,” she said.

Attendees said the event was very well-organized and professional. The speakers were very well-received and provided a lot of good information. Highlights of the event included the opening keynote session Sunday where Edwards and comics stalwart Paul Jenkins, who has worked with both Marvel and DC Comics, were both keynote speakers.
“We had many more people than we anticipated,” Howard said. “We estimated over 100 people were there early on a Sunday morning.”

Jenkins spoke about the plans he’s made with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to bring more film and post production companies to work in Georgia. Edwards gave event guests a charge to take advantage of the opportunity to network and strategize for their developing careers. He also encouraged them to produce—even if they’re not sure what they need to do or don’t have all their ducks in a row, at least start “making stuff.”

Another highlight for Howard was the overall slate of speakers.  “Building our speaker list is one of my favorite parts of the conference,” she shared. “We had over 40 speakers – a great group, diverse in who they were, the expertise they brought, and their methods of teaching, but all of them were unified in their love of film, and a shared commitment to the growth of the Georgia film industry.  We even had two sets of twin filmmakers – DeWayne and Wayne Bontrager of Twiin Media, and Matthew and Jared Young of Brothers Young Productions.  Now how often do you find a phenomenon like that?”  Indeed!

Howard plans for the next conference to be in April. One of the conference’s target demographics is students, so moving it closer to the end of the school year gives conference organizers more of the school year to promote and prepare. Future conferences will feature a revamped logo and a new name—the Georgia BigPictureCon, bringing the event in line with more modern conference naming, like DragonCon or MediaCon.

“I think the conference was a great success,” said Big Picture Film & Video Foundation CFO and Conference Director Joe Howell. “We met our expectations and even exceeded them.”

The conference guests gave great feedback. People thought it very informative and wished they’d known about it earlier.

Howell thought Jenkins’ speech was one of the highlights.

“He was an excellent speaker and really advanced some of the areas that relate to filmmaking in Georgia,” Howell said.

He can’t wait for next year, in which he hopes the conference will be bigger and better.

One of the volunteers who helped make the conference possible was Roshawn Redwine, who learned about the conference through her friend and fellow volunteer, Victoria Porter. What she enjoyed most about the conference was the diversity of topics and speakers.

“It is a great way to gain so much industry knowledge as well as have an opportunity to network with so many great industry professionals,” she said.

What differentiates the GABPC from the other film events she’s attended is how accessible and hands-on the leadership was and how so many of the topics were fresh, relevant, and unique. She’s glad to have had the opportunity to participate. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

104.7 The Fish Google Hangout With Cory Edwards

Atlanta Christian radio station 104.7 The Fish held a Google Hangout with Cory Edwards, creator of the animated hit Hoodwinked and the keynote speaker of the 2013 Georgia Big Picture Conference.

In this video, he discusses the origin of Hoodwinked, the growth of film in Atlanta, how to succeed in film, and what it's like to be a Christian in Hollywood.