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Nov. 1 – Paula Dean’s new show ‘Positively Paula’ roars back with three weeks completed


PHOTO:  Paula Deen and son Bobby Deen, on set of new TV show 'Positively Paula' now airing nationally.

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

November 1, 2016 – Under the heading ‘It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over!’ Savannah’s own chef and cooking show star Paula Dean has returned to ‘network’ television with a new network television show, already picked up in 300 U.S. markets and an audience projected at over 48 million viewers, according to those close to the show.

In 2015, she launched her own digital cooking show and library of endless recipes for all occasions and events, and a re-designed website, to stay in touch with her loyal fans.

But, she’s back on the air with a more conventional ‘network’ show titled, “Positively Paula,” now airing in more than 300 U.S. markets on CBS and other affiliates.  Details on the show can be found at

In Savannah, Positively Paula airs on CBS 11 WTOC on Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m., and on Comcast channel 262/888 high def on Friday and Saturday’s at 1:30 p.m.     

Production is being handled by Royal Academy Films, and it is being shot in Savannah, with Deen surrounded by a loyal group of production professionals who have been with her for years.

Dean lost millions in network shows and product endorsements and placement deals as a result of a human resources lawsuit brought against her and her company where it was alleged that she made comments to an employee that were inappropriate, and engaged in discrimination in the workplace.

The suit was later settled out of court, when she switched legal representation to a new Washington, DC firm and new publicists were hired; many believed that her first round of legal and PR assistance mishandled her representation on multiple fronts. 

Last year, she launched her own show on a digital-only network to get back into the business. That website is  

Her new TV show takes place in her Savannah home and will feature her friends, family and surprise guests, according to press accounts. It began airing on local channels around the U.S. on October 15.

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Oct. 28 – River Oaks Film Studios opens ‘Expansive’ Space of Savannah’s Growing Film Industry

Savannah Business Journal SPECIAL REPORT

October 28, 2016 - Local entrepreneur Rodney Dickey (pictured) announced this week the opening of River Oaks Film Studios which will offer over 150,000 sq. ft. and 29’ ft. ceilings for production space in Savannah to help accommodate Savannah’s growing film industry.

Just in time for the Savannah Film Festival, Dickey and his youngest daughter, Allison, came up with the idea for the studio after planning an expansion of his third-party supply chain solutions company, A&A Heritage Solutions, LLC.

Allison will return to Georgia after spending several years in California working in various roles within the film industry to help manage the studio and eldest daughter, April, who owns a PR company based in Nashville, Tenn., will act as publicist.

The facility is located at 198 Gulfstream Rd., Savannah, Ga. 31408.

“The plan is to build six sound stages, but also provide the flexibility to accommodate the needs of multiple productions as they make plans to film in the Savannah area,” explains River Oaks Film Studios Pres. Rodney Dickey.

“We are excited to add River Oaks Film Studios to Savannah’s inventory of infrastructure for the growing entertainment industry in our region. The creation of this soundstage will bring even more productions to the Savannah area and help us reach the next level,” said Beth Nelson, Executive Director of Savannah Area Film Office.

Georgia has seen a boom in film production since 2008 when new legislation offered 30 percent tax credits to production companies. In 2016, Savannah added a local film incentive that is offered on top of the state incentive to help grow the industry in the region.

The film and television industry is responsible for more than 79,000 jobs, roughly $4 billion in wages and has helped bring 120 more films to Georgia in the last seven years (according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution), reports the Film Savannah office.  

In 2015, the film and television industry was responsible for more than $58 million spend in the Savannah region.

The new studio will bring a bigger percentage of that to the Savannah area and provide a more stable environment for creatives to find full-time work including graduates of SCAD – studio space has been a major goal of the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) since taking over responsibility for the Savannah Film Office from the City of Savannah back on July 1.

Dickey brings over 35 years of experience in the warehousing and operations industry to this new venture, River Oaks Film Studios. The Mississippi-native relocated to Savannah in 2010 as the President of OA Logistics; a company he once owned and grew from 100,000 sq. ft. to over 4.5 million sq. ft. of operating space.

Dickey brought two of those major warehouses to Savannah. After 12 years in that position, he resigned and formed A&A Heritage Solutions, LLC. in January and R. Dickey Enterprises, LLC., a real estate development company.

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It's Savannah Film Festival Weekend! Festival attendees to Get Exclusive First Look at Season Two of ‘Underground’

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

October 19, 2016 - Savannah Film Festival attendees will get an exclusive first look at season two of WGN America’s critically acclaimed hit series “Underground.”

Scenes from the Underground Railroad thriller, filmed on location in Savannah, will be unveiled, offering a sneak peek at how the epic journey continues. The panel will include a discussion and audience Q&A with the cast members Aldis Hodge, Amirah Vann, Aisha Hinds, executive producer and director Anthony Hemingway, production designer Meghan Rogers, costume designer Karyn Wagner and director of photography Kevin McKnight.

Produced by Sony Pictures Television, season two of “Underground” will premiere in early 2017.

“Underground” will be shown on Sunday, October 23 at 2 pm in the Gutstein Gallery, 201 E Broughton St., Savannah, GA 31401

WGN America’s “Underground” tells the story of revolutionaries of the Underground Railroad who use their ingenuity, power and perseverance to attempt the greatest escape in history despite the dire consequences that awaited them on the other side. Starring in the season two cast are Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights”) as Rosalee; Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures) as Noah; Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) as August Pullman; Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”) as Cato; ‎Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”) as Elizabeth Hawkes; Amirah Vann (“Girls,” And So It Goes) as Ernestine; Marc Blucas (“Blue Bloods”) as John Hawkes; Aisha Hinds (“Under the Dome,” “True Blood,” Star Trek Into Darkness) as Harriet Tubman; Jasika Nicole (“Fringe,” “Scandal”) as Georgia; Michael Trotter (“Rosewood”) as Biographer; Jesse Luken (“Justified,” 42) as Smoke; DeWanda Wise (“Shots Fired,” How to Tell You’re a Douchebag) as Clara; Sadie Stratton (“Code Black,” “Boy Meets World”) as Patty Cannon; and special guest star John Legend as Frederick Douglass.

WGN America, the flagship entertainment network of Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) is nationally distributed in nearly 80 million homes via cable, satellite and telco, with high-quality entertainment programming including the breakout hit series “Outsiders,” “Underground” and “Salem." The network also brings its audience a strong slate of popular first-run syndicated series and blockbuster movies.  Through Tribune Studios, the creative development arm of Tribune Media, original content is produced for WGN America and Tribune local stations nationwide.

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Oct. 20 – SCAD to Honor Film Industry Leaders, and Announces Special Guests as FILM FESTIVAL kicks off Satiurday

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

October 20, 2016 - The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has announced its honorees, guests and the complete film line-up for the 2016 Savannah Film Festival which begins this Saturday.

Mahershala Ali will receive the Discovery Award, Sam Claflin and Molly Shannon will receive Spotlight Awards, and Miles Teller will receive the Vanguard Award.

Held in downtown Savannah, the Festival runs from Saturday, Oct. 22 to Saturday, Oct. 29, attracting thousands of tourists to the city, and enjoying strong support from area residents.

Mahershala Ali will receive the Discovery Award on Friday, Oct. 28. He will participate in a Q-and-A following the screening of "Moonlight." Ali can currently be seen starring in Netflix and Marvel Entertainment’s Luke Cage. His film credits include "Kicks," "The Free State of Jones," "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2," "The Place Beyond the Pines," "Go For Sisters," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." His TV credits include "House of Cards," "The Wronged Man," "The Alphas" and "The 4400." He will next be seen in Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures, opposite Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, and Kevin Costner.

Sam Claflin will receive the Spotlight Award on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Claflin will participate in a Q&A following the screening of "Me Before You" with director Thea Sharrock and producer Alison Owen. Claflin’s credits include "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1," "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2," "Friday," "The Riot Club," "Love, Rosie," "The Quiet Ones," "Snow White and the Huntsman," "The Huntsman: Winter War." "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Mary & Martha," "White Heat," "United," "Pillars of the Earth," "Any Human Heart" and "The Lost Future." He has just finished filming "My Cousin Rachel" alongside Rachel Weisz and Holliday Grainger and in 2017 will star in Lone Scherfig’s "Their Finest" alongside Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy.

Molly Shannon will receive the Spotlight Award on Monday, Oct. 24. She will participate in a Q&A following the screening of "Other People." Shannon spent six seasons as a member of the repertory company on "Saturday Night Live." Her other credits include "Miles," "Me & Earl & the Dying Girl," "Life After Beth," "Scary Movie 5," "Hotel Transylvania," "Bad Teacher," "Superstar," "Marie Antoinette," "Year of the Dog," "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," "Evan Almighty," "Igor," "Little Man," "Scary Movie 4," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "A Night at the Roxbury," "Analyze This," "Happiness," "Never Been Kissed," "The Good Boy!," "Serendipity," "Osmosis Jones," "The Santa Clause 2," and "Wet Hot American Summer." Her TV credits include "Raising Hope," "Enlightened," "Getting On," "Super Fun Night," "The Spoils of Babylon," "Up All Night," "The Middle," "Web Therapy," "Glee," "Neighbors from Hell," "Kath and Kim," "Cracking Up," "Will & Grace" "Sex and the City," "Seinfeld," "Pushing Daisies" and "30 Rock." Her television movies include "More of Me," "12 Days of Christmas Eve," and "The Music Man." She can currently be seen in the HBO comedy, "Divorce," opposite Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church. She recently wrapped production on "The Greens Are Gone," starring Catherine Keener and the late Anton Yelchin.

Miles Teller will receive the Vanguard Award on Tuesday, Oct. 25, and participate in a Q&A following "Bleed for This" with director Ben Younger and the World Championship boxer Vinny Pazienza. Teller recently starred in "War Dogs," alongside Jonah Hill with Todd Phillips directing. His other credits include "Rabbit Hole," "That Awkward Moment," "Divergent," "Whiplash," "The Spectacular Now," "Project X" and "Footloose." Teller recently wrapped two films, the Steven Spielberg produced "Thank You for Your Service" and "Granite Mountain" with Josh Brolin and Jeff Bridges.


The festival hosts a Conversation Series, which are moderated discussions with directors, actors and below-the-line talent whose films are receiving awards attention. The following moderated Q&A’s are scheduled including: writer Eric Heisserer for "Arrival;" film critic Leonard Maltin and SCAD Cinema Circle for "La Belle et la Bete (Beauty and the Beast);" writer/producer Craig Shilowich and producer Melody C. Roscher for "Christine;" actor Rodrigo Santoro for "Dominion;" director/actor Avan Jogia and actor Josh Charles for "The Drowning;" director Matt Trynauer and producer Corey Reeser for "Jean Nouvel: Reflections;" director Damien Chazelle for "La La Land;" director David F. Sandberg for "Lights Out;" director/writer Ricki Stern and film subjects Celeste Corcoran, Kevin Corcoran, Sydney Corcoran and Tyler Corcoran for HBO Documentary Films’ "Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing;" editor Affonso Gonçalves for "Paterson;" director/actor Demián Bichir for "Refugio;" director and producer Roxy Shih, producer Brandon Tansley and actor Michael Nardelli for "The Tribe;" director Mike Mitchell, co-director Walt Dohrn and production designer Kendal Cronkhite for "Trolls."

WGN America will host three panels featuring its hit series during the festival. On Sunday, October 23, WGN America’s "Underground" offers an exclusive first look at season two and a panel discussion with cast members Amirah Vann and Aisha Hinds, executive producer and director Anthony Hemingway, production designer Meghan Rogers and costume designer Karyn Wagner. On Wednesday, October 26, WGN America’s "Outsiders" presents an exclusive first look at the second season with a panel discussion with cast member Christina Jackson, creator and executive producer Peter Mattei and executive producers Peter Tolan and Michael Wimer. On Friday, October 28 WGN America’s "Salem" Season Three hosts its premiere followed by a Q&A with cast members Shane West and Elise Eberle, and creators and executive producers Brannon Braga and Adam Simon.


In the annual competition screening event, over 155 films will match up in the categories of narrative features, documentary features, animated shorts, student shorts, and Global Shorts Forum selections.

Documentary narratives include "Happy: A Small Film with a Big Smile," "The Freedom to Marry," "Indivisible," "Olympic Pride, American Prejudice," "The Revival: Women and the Word," "She Started It." Feature competition films include "American Fable," "Like Cotton Twines," "Po," "The Space Between," "The Sweet Life" and "Swing Away." Jury members for the competition include Andy Cohen (producer), Marvet Britto (owner of The Britto Agency), Liz Vassey (actor), John Halperin (award winning documentary producer, writer and director) Sam Lansky (Time Magazine), Josh Ludmir (VP of Business and Legal Affairs, Participant Media), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) and Laura Morgan (President, The Laura Morgan Group).

About the Savannah Film Festival

The festival, and the competition, provides students with opportunities as unique as the movies on the screen. It’s a chance for SCAD students to exclusively connect with leaders from the entertainment industry through master classes, coffee talks, lectures and panel discussions and a chance for Savannah, a premier film hub, to promote quality movies produced by independent and studio filmmakers.

Tickets and passes are available for purchase online at, by telephone at 912.525.5050, or in person at the Trustees Theater, located at 216 E. Broughton St., Savannah. Visit the Savannah Film Festival schedule for a complete list of films and screening locations or follow the festival on Facebook and on Twitter @savfilmfest and use the hashtag #SAVFF.

Copyright 2016, a publication of Coastal Empire News, Savannah, GA. All Rights Reserved.

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Oct. 16 – Savannah’s own Tytan Pictures is one of the ‘Hot’ companies in the local film scene


PHOTO:  (L to R) Dr. Pam Gaudry and Scott Jacobs at the Illumination Awards in May when the film she had championed won. Photo by Andre Wolman.

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

October 16, 2016 - The entertainment industry is a hotspot of innovation locally, and Savannah-based Tytan Pictures, with offices in Savannah and Atlanta, and co-owned by Scott Jacobs (pictured right), is one the leaders.

In June, Jacobs – along with his team and his father Ray Jacobs - cut the ribbon on a new project:  turning the old Putnam State Prison in Eatonton, GA. into a movie studio.  In March, the Eatonton City Council agreed to allow the Downtown Development Authority to lease the old prison to Tytan Pictures.

The film-production company has buzz circling around them nationally, as well.  Also in June , their film “Love, Sweat + Tears,” the game changer film about menopause, romance and women’s health “at a whole new level,” they state, won the JURY Award for best film at the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona, AZ on June 3, 2016.

The film features the late Joan Rivers, Rev June Gatlin  and Jenny McCarthy. Dr. Pam Gaudry (who is on a mission to educate all women about their health) was on fire and super passionate at the awards ceremony, according to Jacobs.

But, back to the company's plans in Georgia, the prison “was closed 12 years ago because it cost more to operate than larger, more modern prisons. Its closing cost Putnam County millions of dollars in lost services,” according to news stories published at the time by the The Eatonton Messenger.

After the ribbon-cutting, Stone said Tytan is not going to invest a lot of money to renovate the prison, “because film makers will want to change it. The sign says ‘Prison’ but they can and will make anything out of it – a school, a hospital, a prison, etc.,” he added.

“This will be an active film set people are going to love,” he told The Messenger.

Tytan also plans to transform a former aluminum plant on Oak Street in Putnam County for use as a sound stage and post production offices.  However, renovations on the aluminum plant will not begin immediately, either, because it already is slated to be used as is for a movie in the fall.

Ray Jacob is the father of Tytan cofounder and creative director Scott Jacobs, and the company’s executive vice president of brand strategy. He will be Tytan’s full-time representative in Eatonton and will work on branding the city, a stipulation of the Downtown Development Authority’s contract with Tytan.

Savannah attorney Charles Bowen, an actor, entertainment lawyer and founder of the Savannah Film Alliance, attended the June ribbon-cutting, and works closely with Jacobs on projects.

“A rising tide floats all boats and we’re going to all work together to bring more (movie makers) into Georgia,” according to Bowen.

The first movie to be produced in Eatonton by Tytan Pictures is “King Seed, The Movie.”

“The King Seed” is an action/thriller motion picture that will bring film makers from the U.S., England and Italy together in Georgia this fall, Pisano said. The cast already has been selected, and features actors who live in Georgia.  The PG13 movie will be directed by Italian Director Antonio Baiocco. There is a Facebook page for “King Seed, The Movie,” for the latest information.

Jacobs also owns Tytan Creates, a Savannah-based ad agency and creative firm. 

Copyright 2016, a publication of Coastal Empire News, Savannah, GA. All Rights Reserved.

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