By Solange Warner, Chairman, World Chamber of Commerce
Photography: John Sands, Cromwell Parkes
What a great time to live in Atlanta! The film and television industry set a new record high in Georgia, spending $4.4 billion, during fiscal year 2022. The Georgia Film Office, part of Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), reported “Georgia hosted 412 productions, represented by 32 feature films, 36 independent films, 269 television and episodic productions, 42 commercials, and 33 music videos between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.”
The World Chamber of Commerce (WCC) is at the heart of it all by organizing events, such as “The World Chamber of Commerce Film and Commercial Real Estate Summit,” promoting the film and television industry.
WCC Event speakers included Oscar Award Winner, Lou Gossett Jr., who delivered a powerful speech about how some people, today, reminded him of “a plane that is about to crash, and people inside the plane are fighting who should be in first class.” Lou continues, “we have to work together to save mankind!”
The room was electrified when Lou made his entrance, and by his meaningful words. Moreover, the WCC offered him a tribute, presenting him with the “World Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.” The WCC Award, previously presented to legends such as Ambassador Andrew Young, was presented for Lou’s many accomplishments, including the historical Academy Award for Supporting Actor,” first of its kind for an African American Actor! Musicians from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performed as part of the tribute with ASO’s Maestro, Juan Ramirez.
The WCC Event attendees were part of such a meaningful moment for the film industry, and the night had just gotten started!
The WCC Event program continued with more memorable moments. Then, the WCC presented the prestigious World Chamber of Commerce Global Hero Award to one of the top leaders of the film industry, Stratton Leopold, Film Executive Producer for “Mission Impossible III,” “Captain America,” Sum of All Fears,” “Star Trek,” and the list continued with blockbuster movies that have impacted the world, for generations. This giant of Hollywood humbly adds he was the Executive Vice President for Paramount Pictures, one of the most powerful positions in the film industry. During his speech at the WCC Event, Stratton discussed his experience producing one the most successful films in history. He added “I was impacted by becoming aware about human trafficking, and how devastating it is to countries, while filming in different parts of the world.”
Furthermore, Stratton has been an intricate part of developing the Georgia Film Tax Credit. All Georgians owe him a token of gratitude for what this means to our economy.
The Consul of Greece, Theodoros Dimopoulos, presented the WCC Award, since Stratton’s background is from that beautiful country. Presently, Stratton produces movies, in addition to managing his family enterprise, Leopold’s Ice Cream. The brand has been around for over one hundred years and the taste is amazing! If you would like to meet one of the most important Film Producers in Hollywood, you may be lucky to find him in one of his Leopold’s Ice Cream Stores, in the historic district of Savannah, GA.
For people that attended the WCC Event interested in learning about Film and Commercial Real Estate in Georgia, they were in for a treat. After meeting the previous two Hollywood legends, attendees listen to one of the most successful industry leaders in Georgia, Rahim Charania. He is the Founder of Three Ring Studios. Recently, “Cinelease Studios-Three Ring built a $144-million studio expansion in Covington”, according to Georgia.org. And we all must thank Rahim for the creation of Three Ring Studios. Hopefully, this expansion means Georgia’s economy will continue growing and generating new jobs in the Peach State.
During the World Chamber of Commerce Film and Commercial Real Estate Summit, Rahim Charania answered questions about both the film and Commercial Real Estate industries. He discussed the positive impact these two industries have created for the Georgia’s economy. He stated the film tax credit has allowed all this growth in Georgia and it will continue to grow at an exponential rate, if Georgians continue to support it. There is too much invested in film studios, which they remain constantly “sold out,” to contemplate stopping the progress in Georgia. In addition, Rahim discussed how he was able to make Three Ring Studio a reality, the first of its kind, where the public and private sector worked together for the betterment of Georgia’s Economy. The good news is Rahim sees the trend to continue developing in the Peach State.
We truly should be thankful of all the Film and Television Producers bringing their productions to Georgia, as it is impacting thousands of Georgians for the better, and our overall economy.
The World Chamber of Commerce Film and Commercial Real Estate Summit presented the WCC Recognition to Ambassador Amina Smaila, Consul of Nigeria as well. Nigeria’s film industry, or better known as Nollywood, produces around 1,000 film per year.
Moreover, the WCC recognized Consul of Liberia, Cynthia Blandford, and the International Focus (iF) Magazine, for the meaningful work in the entertainment industry, keeping the integrity of a print and digital publication, and supporting the business community.
The Master of Ceremony for this meaningful event was John Lemley, radio personality, Host and Producer for “John Lemley’s City Cafe at GPB, and Daily News with Nancy Grace.
Solange Warner, World Chamber of Commerce Chairman, spoke about human trafficking awareness. According to the U.S. Department of State, Forced labor, is the largest sector of trafficking in the world, which includes domestic servitude, child begging and even removal of children’s organs. Solange said “There are around 300,000 children sold as slaves, by human traffickers every year. Here in Georgia, the State created the first “Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit” to stop predators. We all must work together as a community to help eradicate human trafficking. We need to become vigilant in our cities and even in our neighborhoods. Additionally, we can become involved by helping shelters with children human trafficking victims. Become part of the solution, let us work together to stop human trafficking in Georgia and hopefully one day in the world.”
Photography: Cromwell Parkes www.cromwellparkes.com
World Chamber of Commerce: www.worldchamberc.org