The Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission is governed by a Board of Directors, and special committees assist in directing finance, audit and marketing initiatives. FTC Board Members are innovative, experienced leaders in production and related industries.
Carol A. Roberts attended Palm Beach Community College, University of Miami and Tufts University. Over the years, Ms. Roberts has held several official positions in Palm Beach County, including: West Palm Beach City Commissioner; Mayor of West Palm Beach; Palm Beach County Commissioner; Member of the Solid Waste Authority; Member of Tri-Rail Board; Board Member and Development Director Palm Beach Photographic Center; City of West Palm Beach Budget Committee; Chair of the City of West Palm Beach Transportation Committee; member of the City of West Palm Beach Comprehensive Plan Review Board; member of the West Palm Beach Cultural Committee; and member and Chair of the Palm Beach Health Care District. Ms. Roberts was married to Hyman J. Roberts for 59 years and is mother to six children and has eleven grandchildren.
Bob Sanders, one of West Palm Beach's well-known fundraisers and politically adept dealmakers is a leader in his community. An accountant, lawyer and businessman, he gives back to the community that has been so very good to him. Sanders, raised in a Philadelphia orphanage until the age of 8, learned the true meaning of hard work at a very early age. As a teenager, he toiled at a Philadelphia warehouse, loading and unloading pallets. After this enlightening experience, Sanders became determined to excel in school and the business world, and succeed he did. He graduated from Temple University with degrees in accounting and law. This education became the foundation for his future business successes. After law school and a judicial clerkship with Federal District Court Judge John W. Lord, Jr., Sanders became a name partner at a Philadelphia law firm and then Vice President and General Counsel of the Goodman Company, a leading national developer, where he supervised real-estate developments, such as the Phillips Point Twin Towers in West Palm Beach and the Esplanade Shopping Via in Palm Beach. After a period of 20 years, he retired in 1990 as the company's president. After relocating to Florida in 1982, Sanders established a reputation as a trusted political advisor to area politicians and notables. Mayor Nancy Graham brought Sanders, a past board member of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, out of his retirement to serve as Deputy City Attorney. In that position, Sanders was in charge of city transactions and pivotal economic development projects. Now involved in city and county politics, Sanders became determined to make a marked difference in his community. Sanders began playing the role of key negotiator and advisor, crafting deals in West Palm Beach, including projects such as the Convention Center, the redevelopment of the West Palm Beach Auditorium and baseball stadium site, and today's CityPlace, a $500,000,000 development of 72 vacant acres in downtown West Palm Beach. Sanders is a past President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches and is the current Chairman of the Downtown Development Authority. However, Sanders' passionate involvement in his community has never been limited to strictly business deals. With his gracious and approachable nature and his savvy problem solving skills, he has volunteered his time as fundraiser and chairman for several worthy causes including the West Palm Beach Library Foundation, the Adam Walsh Children's Fund, the Palm Beach International Film Festival, the Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Florida and Cities in Schools, a high school dropout prevention program.
Kenneth G. Spillias retired from the active practice of law after a career of over 42 years in law and government service. He is following up his novels, the Widow’s Walk series, with a non-fiction account of a family’s experiences in Greece and Germany during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Kenneth also remains active in civic and community activities. He has served as a Palm Beach County Commissioner from 1982-1986, chairing the board in 1984. He is also the former Chair of Palm Beach County's Tourist Development Council, Children's Services Council and a variety of other governmental and civic boards. He has served on a number of civic and community boards including those of cultural organizations such as the Palm Beach County Council of the Arts (now known as the Cultural Council) and Bob Carter's Actor's Workshop and Repertory Company. Kenneth continues to serve on the board of directors of the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County, of which he is a founding member and former President. Kenneth has been married to his wife Monica for 47 years and has three grown children and four grandchildren, with one on the way.
Douglas Rill is the Owner, Founder and Broker for "CENTURY 21 America's Choice," a full service real estate company since 1994. Douglas has over 40 Years of experience in all facets of the Real Estate Industry. In 1997, he acquired the "CENTURY 21 Academy of Learning," Real Estate School, operating over 20 years. Douglas began giving real estate advice on Public Radio in 1978, then in 1979, the show was moved to WJNO, where it became the longest running real estate show, ending in 2010. In 1985, Douglas became the Executive Producer of the video magazine, "House Detective," which aired on WPEC TV-12, for five consecutive years. Douglas has served on several Boards, including The Palm Beach International Film Festival and as President of CENTURY 21 Treasure/Palm Beach Council. Mr. Rill holds a BBA from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and a Realtor Emeritus designation from the National Association of Realtors. Douglas currently lives in Palm Beach with his wife, Angela Murray, former radio news anchor in Miami & West Palm Beach.
James L. Bearden, Esq.
James L. Bearden has more than 20 years’ experience in corporate, communications and entertainment law. Currently, Mr. Bearden is the Managing Partner of the CBR Law Group, LLLP 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.
John E. Oxendine
Mr. Oxendine has been an entrepreneur, operator, investor and lender in the communications industry for over 30 years. In these positions, Mr. Oxendine has been responsible for selecting, investigating, performing due diligence, analyzing, structuring, negotiating and closing on potential investments for the companies he has owned, operated and served. Mr. Oxendine has provided portfolio management and administrative services to these companies, including monitoring the performance of their portfolio companies, developing exit strategies, and advising them regarding the disposition of investments. Mr. Oxendine is currently Chairman, President and CEO of Blackstar, LLC and Blackstar LP, both management companies which provide consulting and management services to the communications industry. Mr. Oxendine served as interim CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of Equity Media Holdings Corporation (“EM”) from June 2008 through January 2009. EM was a publicly held media company that divested its assets in April 2009. Mr. Oxendine served as Chairman, President and CEO of Blackstar Communications, Inc. (“BCI”), a company he formed in 1987 that acquired, owned and successfully operated commercial television stations in the U.S. Mr. Oxendine formed BCI with an original investment of $100,000 in common equity and $5 million in preferred equity, and eventually bought 5 television stations at a cost of nearly $30 million. When the sale of all the stations was completed to USA Broadcasting, Inc. in 1998, the total sale value was $96 million, yielding a significant return on investment of over $35 million to Mr. Oxendine and his investors, which included Fox Television Stations Inc. (“FOX”), and Home Shopping Network, Inc. (“HSN”). From 1981-1995, Mr. Oxendine served as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Broadcap Capital, Inc. (“Broadcap”) and it’s then parent company, Broadcast Capital Fund, Inc. (“BCFI”). Broadcap and BCFI were companies that were mandated by their investors, large publicly held broadcast companies, to invest in minority controlled communications businesses. Broadcap was essentially a lender of last resort to new minority entrepreneurs in the media industry. Additionally, as part of the mandate, Broadcap and BCFI provided managerial and financial training to over 3,000 radio and television industry professionals. As Chairman and President of Broadcap and BCFI, Mr. Oxendine oversaw the companies’ strategic development, management, capital raising efforts, portfolio-company monitoring, and all investment decisions. Under Mr. Oxendine’s leadership, Broadcap and BCFI committed approximately $17 million to over 47 companies to acquire or construct broadcast properties, leveraging total capitalization in these companies to an amount of nearly $80 million. Included in the companies receiving funding and other support from Broadcap were eight Hispanic owned and operated entities, several of which were seeded by Broadcap’s investments and subsequently became significant companies in the Hispanic media industry. Mr. Oxendine was also a member of the board of directors of Paxson Communications Corporation, a large publicly held media company, and Lockhart Companies Incorporated, primarily a real estate company. Mr. Oxendine served in the U.S. Marine Corps on active duty from July 1967 to December 1968 and in the active reserve from December 1968 to July 1973. Mr. Oxendine earned an M.B.A. from Harvard University, Graduate School of Business in 1971. He received a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from Hunter College in 1965. He has a working knowledge of Spanish and French, and some familiarity with Russian. Mr. Oxendine has written several articles on venture capital and media investing that have been published in the Bar Association Law Journal, Duke University Law Review, Journal of Minority Business Finance, and Sound Management. Mr. Oxendine currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida.
Koji L. Akaboshi
Koji L. Akaboshi joined The Seagate Hotel & Spa in Delray Beach, Florida, in November 2020 as General Manager. He brings extensive luxury hotel and resort experience in various types of operations around the world including hotel openings. At The Seagate, Akaboshi is responsible for overseeing the overall operation of the Hotel and Spa, working closely with the teams at The Seagate Beach Club, Country Club and Yacht Club to ensure a seamless and consistent high-level service experience for guests. Prior to joining The Seagate, Akaboshi spent over two decades with the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, most recently as Hotel Manager for Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at The Surf Club in North Miami, Florida. During his tenure there, he led the team to obtain the Forbes 5 Star Award for the hotel and spa. Born in Brazil to Japanese parents and having spent his childhood in Chile and Ecuador, Akaboshi is fluent in English, Spanish and Japanese. He holds a B.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Management from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University. Passionate about sharing his knowledge of and experience in the hospitality industry, Akaboshi enjoys participating in guest speaker events at universities and has been invited to speak to the Hospitality Programs at the University of Denver, Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University.
Mary Lou Berger
Mary Lou Berger is a New York native who moved to Pittsburgh as a teenager and relocated to Palm Beach County (PBC) in 1989. As County Commissioner Burt Aaronson's senior administrative assistant from 1994-2012, Berger was in charge of monitoring community issues and responding to constituent concerns in Commission District 5, which encompasses West Boynton, Boca & Delray Beach. Prior to that service, she worked from 1989-1994 for the PBC Clerk of Court. Since her election to the PBC Commission in 2012 Berger has engaged in all aspects of the Florida Association of Counties (PAC) as well as the National Association of Counties (NACo). She was appointed to the FAC Urban Caucus where she serves as Co-Chair, joined the Enterprise Committee as an inaugural member and was elected to the FAC Board of Directors. In NACo she serves on the Environment, Energy and Land Use Steering Committee as well as their International Economic Development Task Force. In 2016 Commissioner Berger was nominated by her peers to serve as Mayor of PBC which awarded her the opportunity to serve on the Business Development Board and the Tourist Development Council. Berger feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as a county commissioner. Her goal is to leave county government satisfied she did everything she could to help constituents, to mentor those that come after her and to love a career that she never in her wildest dreams thought she would have. Berger's motto is "Government is your enemy until you need a friend". You cannot please everyone. You cannot solve everyone's problems. Berger has learned to study and analyze issues and combined that with the art of compromise.
Joe Capicotti is President and Owner of Throttle Up, Inc. Joe was a pilot for Jack Nicklaus before he became a Boeing 727 Pilot for Eastern and Pan American Airlines. In 1992, Joe became the Media and Promotional Director for Bowery Management Corp. From 1989 to 2002 he was TV representative and talent for Turner Productions. He then created , hosted and produced 2Xtreem Motorcycle TV which aired from 2004-2009 on Fox Sports Net. He is currently working on a new project based out of South Florida that will be shopped in the near future. Joe is married and has two (2) sons.
Alexandra has many years of experience working on commercials as well as national and international TV shows, both as a Director and Producer. As a creative executive overseeing content creation, Alexandra understands the ins-and-outs of video production -including preproduction, logistics and marketing.
Michael E. Gauger, MSW
Before becoming a True-Crime production consultant for Bunim and Murray, working on shows like 'Body of Evidence" and "Cold Case Files," former Chief Deputy Michael E. Gauger had a decorated and decades-long career in law enforcement. Mr. Gauger began as a Special Deputy Sheriff in 1970 and was later promoted up the ranks to Major of the Investigations Division. Mr. Gauger retired in 2004 but continued to volunteer at the State Attorney’s office working on cold-case homicides. A year later, in 2005, Gauger returned as Chief Deputy for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, serving as Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s second in command. Mr. Gauger retired in 2021 with 50 years of service with PBSO. In addition, Mr. Gauger has been a Guest Lecturer for the Palm Beach County Community Oriented Policing Association and taught as an Adjunct Professor at Palm Beach State College. Mr. Gauger was previously the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for JFK Medical Center and currently serves as Board Member for CARP and Fern House, and as a Trustee for the South Florida Fair Board.
Founder & CEO of JAQ JOURNEY. Author of The Diva’s in the Details. Host and producer of the luxury/lifestyle series Passport to The Palm Beaches. Formerly COO of Carolco Pictures and VP/Executive Producer of M*E Television. Writer/Director and star of Hidden Assets. Award winning producer and actress. In addition to appearing on Friday Night Lights and several independent film projects, she has produced, directed and hosted hundreds of hours of entertainment programming and news shows. Journey has interviewed scores of celebrities and hired and trained on air talent for three entertainment networks.
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 electronic media industry.
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 Board for The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. Ms. Niedland 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; and an Advisory Committee Member for 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. Suzanne is involved in developing and producing feature narratives, documentaries and theatre productions, including the revival of “Children of a Lesser God” which premiered on Broadway in April 2018. Besides her passion and support for the arts, Suzanne devotes time to creating awareness for Breast Cancer and founded the Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center at Jupiter Medical Center. In addition to her numerous other interests, she is a member of Go Red for Women of the American Heart Association and the Tiffany Circle of the American Red Cross. Suzanne began twirling around in ballroom dance lessons a few years ago, which has led to her joyfully 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. Today, he’s an author; his latest book is ‘My First 83 Years,’ which is a review of his career. Paul 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. Mr. Noble is president of the Class of 1957 at Cornell. He has also co-authored four books with his wife, Paulette Cooper, the "Pet Set" columnist of the Palm Beach Daily News. Noble and his wife are co-presidents of the Palm Beach chapter of the Circumnavigators Club.
Monte Young is a producer/writer, producing a number of feature films, including “Billy Todd's War,” “Hitters Anonymous,” and “Gasp,” filmed in Beijing in 2009. Most recently, in 2018, Mr. Young produced “The Wave,” starring Justin Long and Tommy Flanagan, and “Survivors,” a short, produced with Marco Shepherd at Centropolis Entertainment. Both films were released in 2019. Further, in 2020 Mr. Young produced the feature films, “Scarlettville,” and “The Old Way.” Mr. Young is also developing television, including “Shanghai,” “Queens of the Ring,” “Frank,” and “Stone Age,” and is currently producing a reality medical show, “Dr. East meet West,” which explores the best of both Chinese and Western medical practices. In 2018 Mr. Young partnered with Mana Animation, headed by VFX professional Dean Lyon, developing children’s animated educational series, including “Sparx,” “Bookends,” “Earth 101” and “First Pets,” as well as a live-action feature film trilogy, “Dragon Wars.” Prior to entering the entertainment industry, Monte Young worked as a finance attorney, developing and structuring infrastructure investments in Asia.