Sunday, April 30 was a very exciting time for Guardians fans in Atlanta. The Fox Theatre hosted a private red carpet and early screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for the cast and crew of the film. Special guests included Jeffrey Stepakoff (Exec. Dir. for Georgia Film Academy), Chris Dodd (CEO of Motion Picture Association of America Inc.), Bert Brantley (COO GA Dept. of Economic Development), David Grant (VP of Physical Production for Marvel), Lee Thomas (GA Film Commissioner), Charles Newirth (Exec. Prod. for Marvel Studios “Ant-Man and the Wasp”), and Mayor Edward Johnson (Mayor of Fayetteville, GA).

With the variety of talent at our disposal on the red carpet, we wanted to delve deeper into these unseen characters and how they help bring projects to life. But we wanted to know what was something they wish they knew before they started their role/profession.

“How truly fulfilling in all ways and how much a true privilege it absolutely is,” stated a very humbled Jeffrey Stepakoff. “My favorite thing about my job is putting Georgians to work.”


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Executive Director for Georgia Film Academy Jeffrey Stepakoff takes questions from our reporter Brittney Level (Julia Elliott/TPR)


“Luckily at the Georgia Film Office, we have really smart people (smiling), and so I wish somebody would’ve told me ‘Hey! There’s going to be really smart people around, work with them! Learn from them!” said Chris Dodd.

The line to enter the private affair went around the building, reminding me of a similar scene two years ago when The Fox Theatre hosted an early screening of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

It was a fantastic event and everyone, including red carpet guests, were all smiles for the early screening. “There’s a lot of great experiences on this project: Working with  Director James Gunn, the music was great, there’s a great cast, and I just got to work with a great group of people” stated a very excited Lars Winther, co-producer of the film. “For me, the shoot was 19 weeks, February to June. Then we had 20 weeks of prep, so I was in Atlanta for about 10 months.”


Fayetteville Mayor Edward Johnson was kind enough to tell our Desmond McLennon the role Pinewood Studios has played in the growth of their city (Julia Elliott/TPR)


The Mayor of Fayetteville Edward Johnson was equally happy with the way things turned out: “Pinewood Studios is in the city of Fayetteville, GA and Pinewood Forest is there as well. So we’ve been very blessed that Pinewood Studios is adding to our city. A lot of the filming was done in the studio production lot, but we have a lot of back lots that were used as well. So we are thrilled to be so involved with such a project.

The event turned out to be a major success. If you haven’t had the chance to catch a movie at The Fox Theatre, you definitely should. It’s a rarity so you should take the opportunity when it comes. Aside from this private event, they always host their annual film series by Coca-Cola that takes place during the summer (not afraid to admit that “Saturday Morning Cartoons” is a favorite).

You can see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 today at theaters nationwide. You can see the rest of the pictures from the event below and read our review of the film HERE.


-Jon J.

Reporters: Brittney Level & Desmond McLennon

Photography: Julia Elliott

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