Kennesaw State professor Jeff Stepakoff to lead new Georgia Film Academy
Veteran screen writer is first executive director of joint high-demand career initiative …
Georgia (Aug 4, 2015) — Veteran screen writer is first executive director of joint high-demand career initiative
ATLANTA, Ga. (Aug. 4, 2015) — University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Hank Huckaby and Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Commissioner Gretchen Corbin today announced the appointment of Jeffrey Stepakoff as the executive director of the Georgia Film Academy.
The concept and rationale for the Georgia Film Academy was identified through Governor Nathan Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) which was launched in January 2014 by Deal and led by Commissioner Chris Carr and the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) to address Georgia’s important workforce needs. The HDCI focuses on the future needs of strategic industries in Georgia, including film, television and interactive entertainment.
Stepakoff most recently served as co-executive producer of Chasing Life for the ABC Family television network. He is also a tenured professor of film and television writing at Kennesaw State University.
“Jeff brings unique and proven experience in the film and television industry and higher education to lead the Georgia Film Academy on behalf of the USG and TCSG,” said Huckaby. “Jeff’s substantial background and insights will help us continue to anticipate the needs and trends of the film, television and digital entertainment industry and better prepare more Georgians to support this critical workforce.”
“With the entertainment industry generating new jobs, new businesses and a $6 billion impact in Georgia, it’s more important than ever that we continue to anticipate its workforce needs,” said Corbin. “Jeff understands the entertainment environment as well as the workforce development necessary to keep Georgia at the forefront of this very strategic industry.”
As the founding director of the Georgia Film Academy, Stepakoff will lead efforts to coordinate programs, curriculum and special learning experiences for students enrolled in the state’s university and technical college systems. The academy will be a virtual institution with the ability to operate where needs and opportunities exist across the state.
“I am very excited to help Georgians get the education and professional training they need to go to work in the flourishing film, television and digital entertainment industry here in our state,” said Stepakoff. “And I look forward to helping us build a sustainable and permanent industry – one that includes the full range of the business, from development to production to post-production, and everything related.”
Stepakoff has an extensive background in the film and television industry. He has 28 years of experience in writing, producing and content creation. Some of his television work includes: The Wonder Years, Sisters, Flipper, Major Dad, Beauty & the Beast and Dawson’s Creek, which he co-executive produced. He has also developed pilots for major studios and networks, such as 20th Century Fox, Paramount, FOX and ABC, working with producers and production companies such as Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries), Michael Pillar (Star Trek: Voyager, Deep Space Nine) and David Milch (Deadwood, NYPD Blue). His major motion picture work includes Disney’s Brother Bear, Tarzan and EM Entertainment’s Lapitch. He has also worked in research and digital art for entertainment companies, has written popular video games and is a bestselling novelist.
Stepakoff earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a Master of Fine Arts in playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).
He lives in East Cobb County with his wife, model and actor Elizabeth Miller, and their three children.
The Georgia Film Academy is a collaborative effort of the USG and TCSG supporting workforce needs of Georgia’s burgeoning film and digital entertainment industries. The academy will certify workforce ready employees in needed areas, connect students and prospective employees with employers, and offer a unique capstone experience for top students that will provide them a path to employment in Georgia and to remain in the state.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.