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Panel Discussion:

Georgia's Film Industry

February 3, 2020 |  12:15-1:30PM

Loudermilk Conference Center


Ryan Millsap

Chairman & CEO,

Blackhall Studios

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 man-agement 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 entitle-ments, 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.

Ryan is the Chairman of Advance DeKalb, serves on the board of the Aerotropolis Alliance, and is on the board of the Metro South CID. He frequently gives keynote addresses on the entertainment industry and real estate investing, and speaks on expert panels for entertainment, real estate, and private equity industry events in Georgia, Southern California and New York.

Ryan holds a Master of Real Estate Development degree from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Literature from Biola University. He spent one year of his undergraduate education as a visiting student in Philosophy and Literature at Oxford University in England. Ryan is a member of the Adjunct Faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) where he was a professor for seven years.

He is a licensed Georgia Real Estate Broker and a member of the USC LUSK Center for Real Estate Alumni Association.

Frank Patterson Headshot.jpg

Frank Patterson


Pinewood Atlanta Studios

Frank Patterson is a studio executive, entrepreneur and higher education thought leader. He serves as President of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, the second largest purpose-built film studio in North America, where the films Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Passengers were produced, among others.


Prior to Pinewood, Patterson co-founded and served as the CEO of Pulse Evolution Corporation, a technology company that produces hyper-realistic digital humans for live and virtual reality applications. While at Pulse, Patterson produced the immersive live production of Michael Jackson’s “Slave to the Rhythm” at the Billboard Music Awards, which featured an original performance by Pulse’s digital human likeness of the late Michael Jackson.


Patterson launched his entertainment career by founding and leading several film production companies, including Houston Cinema Group and Envisage Media, where he produced and directed straight-to-video feature film content as well as commercials and various video products for brands.


As an educator, Patterson teaches producing at Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts, where he served as dean for 14 years. He has taught at the University of Texas and Chapman University, where he also served as associate dean, and The Los Angeles Film School, where he led the school as president.


The “Hollywood Reporter” named Patterson one of the nation’s top mentors to a generation of Hollywood filmmakers. The Florida Governor’s Office recognized him for "inspiring a generation of Florida filmmakers" and for his "contribution to and support of production in Florida."


His creative and research activities are focused at the intersection of artificial intelligence and immersive technologies, with an interest in digital human agency.


Jeffrey Stepakoff

Executive Director,

Georgia Film Academy

Jeffrey Stepakoff was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an accomplished writer-producer and an experienced academic, with a twenty-eight year entertainment industry career that includes sweeping internationally-recognized credits, leadership roles in content creation and production management, and a track record of collaboration, innovation, and success in virtually all forms of commercial media.

After earning a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and then completing his Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting at Carnegie Mellon University, School of Drama, Stepakoff moved to Hollywood and began writing and producing film, television and digital entertainment.

He has “written by” or “story by” credits on thirty-seven television episodes, has written for fifteen different series, and has been a writer and/or writer-producer on eight primetime or first-run cable staffs, credited on more than two hundred episodes of popular television. The TV credits for which he is most known include the Emmy-winning The Wonder Years, Sisters, Wild Card, Hyperion Bay, The Magic School, C16:FBI, Robin's Hoods, Land's End, Flipper, Sons & Daughters, Major Dad, The Yakov Smirnoff Show, Beauty & the Beast, Have Faith, Simon & Simon, and break-out hit Dawson's Creek, where he was Co-Executive Producer. Until July 2015, he worked as the Co-Executive Producer of Chasing Life for ABC Family.

Stepakoff has also created and developed pilots for many of the major studios and networks, including 20th Century, Paramount, MTM, Fox and ABC, and a variety of production companies and producers, such as Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries), Michael Pillar (Star Trek: Voyager, Deep Space Nine), and David Milch (Deadwood, NYPD Blue).

He has also developed and written major motion pictures, including Disney’s Brother Bear, Tarzan, for which Phil Collin’s won an Academy Award, and EM Entertainment’s Lapitch, Croatia’s selection for the 1998 Academy Awards.


Stepakoff has worked for numerous entertainment companies in the research and digital arts space, such as SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment, HarperCollins Interactive, Citicorp Transactional Technology, Digital Pictures, Inscape (HBO/Time Warner), and Universal Studios. He wrote the popular videogames Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka. Creating a new storytelling model as one of the first “webisodic” shows, and the initial original content project for the digital media division of Paramount Studios, he developed and wrote Perspectives, an interactive drama series for the internet.

There are over a million copies of Stepakoff’s novels in print in twenty languages, as well.


Moderated by: Kevin Riley, Editor of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution

Kevin Riley is the Editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a position he was named to in January 2011.


Kevin is a long-time employee of Cox Enterprises, which owns the Journal-Constitution. He started his career in 1983 at the Dayton Daily News in Ohio while a student at the University of Dayton. He also writes a column in Sunday editions of the Journal-Constitution.


During his time in Atlanta, he has led a rejuvenation of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution with an emphasis on investigative and watchdog journalism. The newspaper was named a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting in 2017. The AJC won the Scripps Howard Foundation Award for Investigative Reporting in 2017, the 2012 Hillman Prize for Newspaper Journalism, and was a finalist for the 2013 and 2017 Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize, awarded by Harvard University. It also won the 2017 Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award.


Kevin has emphasized the AJC’s “digital audience-first” approach to coverage, including hyper-local content focused on communities, and he has maintained the largest reporting staff covering Georgia’s governor, legislature and state government. He was named one of “Atlanta’s 55 Most Powerful” people by Atlanta Magazine.


He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and is married to Tracy, his wife of 31 years. They have three children.

Event Location

Loudermilk Conference Center

40 Courtland Street

Atlanta, GA 30303

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