This past weekend, the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) concluded its 40th annual Cineposium conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Film commissions from more than 22 countries including Argentina, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia and Uganda were represented during the three-day production infrastructure focused and economic development conference.

The event commenced with an opening reception on Thursday, September 24 at the McPherson Mansion in Roswell, Georgia.  The state’s Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagleprovided opening remarks to a crowd of over 100 attendees.

On the second day of the conference, Friday, September 24, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. provided the keynote address with an emphasis on the economic impact of the film and television industry in Georgia and across the globe at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.

“A combination of strong incentives and a fantastic home-grown talent pool has catapulted Georgia into the top ranks of motion picture and TV production. Motion picture and television production accounts for 25,000 direct jobs here in Georgia. Generating $1.7 billion in wages,” said Senator Dodd during his speech to conference attendees. 

Dodd added, “For our international visitors here, I am delighted to report that international locations—staples in blockbuster feature films are increasingly a backdrop for certain American-made television series, too. There has never been a better time for us to make movies and TV shows together—here in the USA and across the globe.”

Kevin Clark, Executive Director of the AFCI moderated Friday’s first program session, Building Facilities that included – Jeremy Hariton, Senior Vice President of The MBS Group; Mark Henderson, Owner of Get-A-Grip Atlanta; Steve Mensch, President / General Manager of Studio Operations at Tyler Perry Studios; and Nick Smerigan, Owner and Founder of RoadTown Enterprises, LTD as panelists. The group provided discourse on the challenges and opportunities of building a production facility and the economic conditions needed to entice both new developments and repurposing existing properties.

The final general session of day one, Building Crew Base featured moderator, Karen Carberry-Warhola, Director of the Maine Film Office and included panelists – Kevin Amick, Education Director for IATSE Local 479; Dan Simmons, Head of Partnerships at Creative Skillset based in the United Kingdom; and Nick Maniatis, Director of theNew Mexico State Film Office discussing public workforce development and film school programs, the union process and incentivizing on-the-job training by productions during the 90 minute session.

On Saturday, September 24, the final day of the conference, Raleigh Studios-Atlanta President, Scott Tigchelaar presented an exclusive case study examining the economic benefit of AMC Networks’ “The Walking Dead” production on the town of Senoia, Georgia at the historic Senoia United Methodist Church as seen in Paramount Pictures’The Fighting Temptations. Tigchelaar discussed the development of the town over the past 17 years; how they manage production demands while keeping the town functioning for its citizenry and that the area has now become a global film tourism destination.

Stuart Huggins, CEO of Digital Chromatics sponsored the Drones Update session on Saturday. Huggins presented his company’s digital imaging and mapping system technology followed by Shawn Rafferty, Partner at Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, who discussed in detail the new FAA UAS Rule Part 107 and other regulations that effect the film production industry and what film commissioners should be aware of.

Lisa Day, Director of Sustainability at 20th Century Fox facilitated the Building Green program session and discussed waste reducing methods that include double-side printing, reducing carbon emissions and water use, incorporating sustainable materials into set design and construction.

The Building Network program session was moderated by Jerry Day, Director of Content for the AFCI moderated the three panel session that included  - Lisa Strout, Directorof the Massachusetts Film Office; Randall Franks, Government Relations Committee Member with the Georgia Production Partnership; and Cassandra Hesseltine, President of Film Liaisons in California Statewide discussed the importance of the collaborative effort between film commissions, liaisons and legislators to up support film productions.

Actor William Fichtner who is in Atlanta filming Finding Steve McQueen made a special appearance following the Building Facilities session on day one of the conference. Fichtner reiterated the importance of film commissions and share his experience working with New York State legislators to increase film incentives in the state. GRAMMY Awardwinning singer and actress, Ann Nesby (The Fighting Temptations) served as a musical guest and shared her experience working on the film in Senoia at the start of day-two of the conference.

“For four decades, Cineposium has served as the marquee event for film commissioners to provide education and training along with face-to-face access to industry leaders,” said Clark, AFCI Executive Director. “This year’s conference in Atlanta brought in 22 countries and over 25 US states to examine the state of Georgia as a model for AFCI Members and production industry professionals.”

Cineposium 2016 was hosted by Oz Publishing, Inc. and Barnes & Thornburg, LLP. Clark also announced that Cineposium 2017 will be hosted in Los Angeles. 

For additional information about Cineposium 2016, a complete list of program topics discussed and background information on this year’s speakers and panelists, visit –