James L. Bearden has more than 20 years experience in corporate, communications and entertainment law. Currently, Mr. Bearden is of counsel at the law firm of Lewis & Thomas, LLP in Boca Raton, Florida. Mr. Bearden's current practice emphasizes the representation of individuals, corporate and business entities involved in the entertainment industry. Mr. Bearden has extensive experience in the negotiation, preparation and administration of a wide range of contracts involving music/television/film production and distribution companies, artist and entertainers, publishing, Internet companies, radio networks, boxing promotions, concert and sporting event sites and venues. Transactions in which Mr. Bearden has participated include corporate mergers and acquisitions, real estate development, civil litigation, the representation of radio and television stations, cable and broadband systems. Also, Mr. Bearden has held the positions of Associate General Counsel at Don King Productions, Inc. in Deerfield Beach, Florida, of counsel at the law firm of Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson in Miami, Florida and of counsel at The Thomas Law Group, PA, in Boca Raton, Florida. He is a graduate of the University of Detroit and of the Howard University School of Law. At the University of Detroit Mr. Bearden majored in radio, television & film production. Mr. Bearden holds memberships in the Federal Communications Bar, the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, and is also an agent/signatory of the Writers Guild of America, East and West. Mr. Bearden is admitted to practice law in the State of Florida, the District of Columbia, before the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and the US District Court for the District of Maryland.
With roots in Canada, Ian Black relocated to South Florida in 1984 to begin his hospitality career at The Inverrary Hilton Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Mr. Black has been a member of the Palm Beach County Hospitality community since 1989 and has been blessed to work with great General Managers and hospitality teams at such properties as the Marriott Palm Beach Gardens, PGA National Resort & Spa, Hilton Airport West Palm Beach, Crowne Plaza West Palm Beach, Sheraton West Palm Beach and the Jupiter Beach Resort. Mr. Black is currently a member of the management team at the beautiful and historic Brazilian Court Hotel, Palm Beach. Mr. Black has been actively involved with the Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau and South Florida Chapter of The Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission. Mr. Black has also served on the Boards of Directors of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Palm Beach Treasure Coast Chapters for which he was President from 1997-2002 and is currently President of Skal International, Fort Lauderdale & The Palm Beaches. Among his other numerous accomplishments, Mr. Black was a founding board member of the Roy Clark Celebrity which at the time was to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Penelope has been in television news and production for more than 20 years, beginning as a TV reporter for an NBC- affiliate right out of college and going on to supervise the launch of several award-winning nationally broadcast series on major networks including The Discovery Health Network, NBC Universal and American Public Television. She was responsible for hiring the staff producers & writers, creating the graphic look and working with the executive producers at the networks to finalize the series and deliver them for broadcast. She joined Newsmax in 2014 shortly before Newsmax TV was launched, helped to hire and train the staff at the facility in Florida and create some of the live news programs that air on the network. She and her husband live in Boca Raton and they have three children.
Jacqueline is an aMs. Journey is an award winning producer and actress as well as President & founder of Journey Entertainment. She is the former COO of Carolco Pictures and VP/Executive Producer of M*E Television. Recently she wrote, directed and starred in an independant feature "Hidden Assets". In addition to appearing on and several independent film projects, she has produced, directed and hosted hundreds of hours of entertainment programming and news shows. Ms. Journey has interviewed scores of celebrities and hired and trained on air talent for three entertainment networks. Journey is also an author whose first book is due out in 2017.
Mel Maron, a graduate of The City College of New York, is currently the President and Owner of JGM Enterprises Inc., which represents independent producers in film and television. Mr. Maron started his career as an office boy at MGM before rising to become the Road Show Sales Manager, where he was responsible for the distribution of the following films: Ben-Hur (1959), starring Charlton Heston; King of Kings (1961), starring Jeffrey Hunter; How the West Was Won (1962, Cinerama, Grand Prix Cinerama), starring John Wayne, James Stewart and Debbie Reynolds; The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962, Cinerama), starring Lawrence Harvey; Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), starring Marlon Brando; Doctor Zhivago (1965), starring Omar Sharif and directed by David Lean; Ice Station Zebra (1968, Cinerama), starring Rock Hudson, Jim Brown and Ernest Borgnine; and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), directed by Stanley Kubrick.
After leaving MGM, Mr. Maron became the Senior Vice President in charge of theatrical distribution for Commonwealth United, where he distributed: The Magic Christian (1969), starring Peter Sellers, and Ringo Starr; That Cold Day in the Park (1969), starring Sandy Dennis; and Julius Caesar (1970), starring Charlton Heston. Mr. Maron left Commonwealth to become Head of Distribution for World Northal, overseeing the release of Bread and Chocolate (1974), The Last Wave (1977), and Quadrophenia (1979), featuring The Who. After that, he introduced TV to the Black Belt Theatre with a package of Kung Fu films. Mr. Maron also represented Hank Saperstein, who had the North American rights to the Godzilla Franchise, where he distributed 10 Godzilla films.
Mr. Maron joined Castle Hill Productions, Inc. in 1984 and on July 1, 1987, he was named President of Marketing & Distribution. In assuming his new role, Mr. Maron opened a Los Angeles office and relocated to the West Coast. This move enabled Castle Hill to be closer to the source of independent films. Since the environment for independent cinema has changed, Mr. Maron relocated to South Florida, where dividing time between there and at Castle Hill Productions’ main office in New York, he is equally capable of following trends in the independent film market. In 1996, Mr. Maron was elected to the Executive Branch of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Since moving to South Florida, Mr. Maron has been active in the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival, and has served on the Committee for Young Filmmakers with the Palm Beach TV and Film Commission. He has also been named to the Advisory Board of the South Florida Motion Picture & Television Film Society.
Mr. Maron is currently working on television shows to be placed into distribution within the next six months. One of the shows is Journey Into Wellbeing, a series of thirteen half-hour episodes. The first episode was shot in Kentucky, but the health-based show will continue to film in Palm Beach County during the late fall and early winter of 2016. In addition, Mr. Maron is working with Monte Young (director and producer) on a slate of motion picture features and television series to be made in China and the United States. Mr. Maron is also representing Dr. Beach’s new upcoming reality show A Shore Thing with Dr. Beach, featuring Stephen Leatherman.
Bill Metzger is the former Chair of the FTC. Bill has been on the FTC Board since its inception in 1989. Bill also helped initiate the Palm Beach International Film Festival. He co-founded and serves as the Chair of the PBC Film & Television Institute. Bill co-owned a film and television production company and has over 30 years experience in various aspects of development, production, and financing in the film and television industry.
Bob Nichols, after more than three decades working as a local television news journalist, is working his way up from reporter and weatherman to lead anchorman. Bob Nichols moved into non-profit work. Bob is the former CEO/Executive Director of the nonprofit division of Grassy Waters Preserve, and owner of MediaMasters, LLC, which specializes in nonprofit management and charity auctions. Bob also plays a vital role as a member of BRIFT’s (Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theater) Board of Directors. During his 32 years in television, Bob established a reputation as a leader in community service. He is personally responsible for raising over $13.5 million dollars for local and national charitable organizations either by his prowess as an auctioneer for charity galas, or his service on the boards of 15 local and national nonprofit organizations and Bob is a licensed Florida Auctioneer. Bob is also the National Chairman of the Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, a national charity headquartered locally, which has touched nearly 250,000 troops overseas with "We Care" packages. During his career in the news business, Bob was selected Anchorman of the Year three times by the Association of Women in Radio and Television and garnered three Emmy nominations. You can still see him on television; hosting a variety of local business and real estate programs. Additionally, Bob appears as spokesperson in many South Florida TV commercials.
Suzanne Niedland is the Managing Director of BusEye Films, LLC, based in Jupiter, Florida. In addition to serving as a Director for The Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission, she also serves on the Boards for The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, and Iplan S.A. She is the Co-Chair of the Kennedy Center International Committee of Arts; a member of the National Committee for the Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center; an Advisory Committee Member of The DeVos Institute for Arts Management. Ms. Niedland is a current appointee, by Governor Rick Scott, to the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council (FFEAC), which serves as an advisory body to the Department of Economic Opportunity for insight and expertise related to the entertainment industry in Florida. Suzanne earned her Master’s degree in Documentary Filmmaking from the University of Florida. Currently, she is working on a documentary about her journey in dance, as well as another documentary about her friend, Burt Reynolds. Suzanne is also collaborating with fellow board member, Monte Young, on several narrative feature films. Besides her passion and support of the arts, Suzanne devotes time to creating awareness for Breast Cancer and Heart Disease in Women. She founded the Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center at Jupiter Medical Center and is a founding member of Go Red for Women of the American Heart Association. Suzanne began ballroom dance lessons a few years ago, which has led to competing around the country in the Pro/Am division.
Paul Noble, a 5-time Emmy award winner, was in television work for over 45 years. He began his career at WGBH-TV Boston as producer and director. He produced Eleanor Roosevelt's NET series "Prospects of Mankind", "Invitation to Art" from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and many specials and series. At Channel 5 in New York, first for Metromedia and then for Fox, he produced or executive produced "Midday Live," "Dr. Ruth," "The Alan Burke Show," and "The Bishop Sheen Show." He also hosted "The Fox 5 Movie Club." For eleven years, he acquired and scheduled movies for Lifetime, Television for Women. He is a past president of the New York chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (the Emmys), a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He is a graduate of Cornell University and has a Masters in Communications from Boston University. He has also co-authored four books with his wife, Paulette Cooper, the "Pet Set" columnist of the Palm Beach Daily News.
Gregory Ross has specialized in the communications field for over thirty years, beginning his career with a focus on both editorial and commercial photography. Early on he trained under the Director of Time Life Magazine and assisted a photographer for UPI. After four years working as a photojournalist, Gregory opened Ross Studio, a creative marketing and communications firm which has served a diverse host of clients ranging from business to the fine arts, in Florida, New York and California.
Throughout his business career, Gregory has reserved a special place in his heart for what he refers to as, “giving back”. He has applied his experience in communicating messages, stories and visuals towards pro bono assignments for foundations and charitable organizations around the world. His work has exhibited in galleries and public shows, is part of private collections, and in part – is archived with the Smithsonian Institute. He has served as Creative Uses Consultant for Polaroid Corporation, Lecturer for Fuji USA and Beta Tester for Fuji Professional Products. His current affiliations include the Board of Directors, Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission and the National Press Photographers Association.
Presently, Gregory Ross is Director of Operations for The Paley Foundation, a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Palm Beach County, Florida. His responsibilities include raising awareness through marketing and speaking engagements for the important message and causes of The Paley Foundation and directing special events and fundraising programs.
Monte Young is a writer, producer, and director of independent feature films. In the past four years, he has written a number of screenplays, two of which he has produced, Billy Todd’s War and Hitters Anonymous, directing the latter. Prior to entering the entertainment industry, Monte worked as legal counsel/project developer for Ambassador Group International. After three years with Ambassador, Monte partnered with a prominent Chinese national and founded Summit Environmental Resources in which he developed a number of environmental related infrastructure projects in China (co-generation and combined cycle power plants, water purification and treatment facilities), at one time having more than $800 million USD under development. Monte made a significant career change to pursue a more creative career in the entertainment industry. Further, he utilized his experience and contacts in China, again teaming up with his Chinese partner from Summit to form a joint-venture film production company with a Chinese government organization. The joint-venture will produce a number of feature films in mainland China, targeting both the U.S. and the vastly expanding Chinese markets. Monte is a member of the New York State and District of Columbia Bars, as well as the D.C. Entertainment Law Section.