PANAVISION ATLANTA HOSTS A GRAND OPENING
By Suzanne Lezotte
On Saturday, April 30, 2011, Panavision held an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Panavision Atlanta facility. Located in west mid-town, the facility has been servicing shows since mid-March, including features “Joyful Noise,” lensed by David Boyd, ASC, “Odd Life of Timothy Green,” shot by John Toll, ASC, and series including “Drop Dead Diva,” lensed by David Makin and “Army Wives,” shot by Bob LaBonge. Four pilots have also been supported including “Partners,” shot by Bing Sokolsky, ASC, “Hart of Dixie,” shot by Bob Gantz, “Big Mike,” shot by Rohn Schmidt and “Necessary Roughness,” lensed by Lisa Wiegand.
Over 175 people from the creative community came out to celebrate Panavision’s arrival back into the city of Atlanta. The crowd consisted of producers, directors, DPs, camera operators, camera assistants, loaders and grips. Prominent people from the Atlanta community included Jeff Genthner, SVP and General Manager, Fox Sports, Michael Seigman, VP of Production Services, BET, Jon Hilsman, Local 600, Jon Hayden, President, AFTRA Atlanta, Kofi Oliver, field producer for “The Mo’Nique Show” and cinematographers Bill Wages, ASC and Jon Swindall. Locals such as camera assistants Clyde Bryan and Suzanne Trucks were in town as well. Several crews were in town shooting and stopped by to say hello including: Michael Satrezemis, Paul Varrieur, Lee Blasingame and Bonnie Blake, to name a few. Other notables included Tony Guarino and Michael Shah from Paramount, cinematographers Lisa Wiegand, Matt Leonetti, ASC, Alexander Gruszynski, ASC and Mark Simon.
To kick off the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Panavision’s COO, John Suh, addressed the crowd. “My colleagues and I are very proud to be here today for the opening of our Panavision Atlanta facility. We are a company that is dedicated to providing the creative community with the tools to help translate a creative vision from imagination to visual images.” John pointed out that “we have to thank our customers: camera crew members, directors of photography, crane operators, producers and all those who have worked in this area to build a base of production. Without those of you who provide the skilled talent, there would be no business here.” John Suh handed the microphone off to John Schrimpf, VP, US Regional Operations, Atlanta, Dallas & New Orleans, who acknowledged the staff that worked so hard to get the Atlanta facility up and running: Ann Deguire, General Manager, Mindy Bee, Marketing Executive, Ian Ruppieko, Service Technician, Terrence Schiffer, Service Technician, Helen Pilgram-Noble, Sr. Prep Tech, George Zalasko, Shipping & Receiving, and Vatrice Gibb, Rental Desk Coordinator. “The extraordinary effort it took to get this place up and running in such a short time was incredible. And it’s a tribute to the staff.” John Schrimpf also pointed out a few industry notables who had come to support Panavision, including Kathleen Bertrand, Senior Vice President, Community and Government Affairs of Atlanta. John Schrimpf introduced Stacii Jae Johnson, The Commissioner of Mayor’s Office of Film, Television, Music and Digital Media Development. Stacii stepped in for Mayor Kasim Reed, who was called to Washington D.C. and was unable to attend the event. Mayor Reed recorded a touching tribute to Panavision that was played for the crowd.
After the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, guests stayed to network and tour the facility. Cameras were set up on the main prep floor, including a Genesis and a Millennium XL while Chris Konash, Manager, HD Engineering and 3D Technologies, gave demos of the Element Technica Pulsar 3D rig with Sony P-1 cameras. Steve Krul, Marketing Executive, Remote Systems and Matt Berning, Technocrane Technician, showed off the 30-foot Super Technocrane mounted with a Genesis camera, which was stationed outside the loading dock. Other Panavision personnel in town for the event included Margit Elo, President, US Operations, Phil Radin, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, David Dodson, Sr. Vice President, Sales-Television, and James Finn, Marketing Executive, Regional Operations.