By Brian Brooks | Indiewire August 19, 2009 at 6:12AM
Event and arts entertainment groups Gen Art and Rock Media & Entertainment have announced they will merge, effective September 15. Both companies will continue to produce a broad array of entertainment work, and the combined group will be changed to RMGA LLC. RMGA will specialize in film, fashion, art and music and will continue to produce programming under the Gen Art and Rock Media brands. The newly formed RMBA will be run by the four principals and founders from the two companies as partners; Scott Rosenblum of Rock Media will serve as RMGA's CEO, Gen Art CEO Ian Gerard and Rock Media's Nicole Purcell will act as the company's co-presidents, and Gen Art's resident Stefan Gerard will be RMGA's COO.
Gen Art's SVP, Jeffrey Abramson, will continue to oversee events and content, including Gen Art's annual Gen Art Film Festival, which will have its 15th edition April 7 - 13, 2010 in New York City. The organization's Aaron Levine, who was recently appointed Associate Director will also continue in his role, stirring the festival as well as other Gen Art screening series and cinema circle programs. The organization will also maintain its recently announced partnerships with Amazon.com and Fox Searchlight Pictures.
"It's been a tough year for Gen Art like other organizations. We rely on corporate sponsorship and our advertisers," said Abrahmson to indieWIRE Wednesday afternoon. "So we had to slim down our shop while saving face and maintaining our programming and we think we succeeded and we put ourselves out there. Rock Media was a good match, they saw an opportunity to merge with us and fulfill their desire for growth and they wanted to take on a great organization like Gen Art which has a great team that has stuck it out through thick and think for so long." Abrahmson added Rock Media has preliminary contacts with publishing company Hachette as well as Premiere.com, which the merged group hopes will lead to further expansion of their reach, but added Gen Art's core will remain.
The mission of Gen Art is not changing, showcasing emerging talent is still the same, but with our relationship with Rock Media, we hope to further that with artists and increasing audiences."
Despite the downturn, Abrahmson, who has spearheaded programming for Gen Art's New York film festival showcase for years before heading to L.A. as senior vice president was determined the event would go on in 2010 before the merger with Rock Media signaled a fiscal relief.
"It's our 15th anniversary, and come hell or high water, we were going to have this festival no matter what. There was no way we weren't going to do this. We knew people were concerned about our well being, which is great. Rock Media will continue to do thier programs and we'll do what we do, but as far as further events, we know we have complimentary objectives."
The group's first joint event will be Gen Art's 15th Anniversary Fresh Faces in Fashion show on September 15th as the grand finale of the Style360 shows, taking place September 12 - 15. In addition to other events in the fall, Gen Art also expects to return to the Sundance Film Festival with a slate of programming including the return of "7 Fresh Faces in Film" and the Kenneth Cole Black party which celebrates "Champions of Independent Film."
Described by RMGA as a "merger of partners," Rock Media will provied $500,000 in financing to cover short term liabilities and operating capital for Gen Art in 2009. The combined new entity RMGA would be assuming all of Gen Art's outstanding liabilities. Together, the new group will have 25 full time employees based out of Gen Art's current offices in New York and Los Angeles as well as Rock Media's office at the Eden Rock Hotel in Miami, which will open soon. Freelancers will continue to produce at events in Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. RMGA expects 2010 revenues to be $12 million-plus.
Scott Rosenblum and Nicole Purcell founded Rock Media in 2007, producing and participating in a variety of entertainment programming including Rock Fasion Week this past April in Miami.