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by Brian Brooks
August 19, 2009 6:12 AM
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Gen Art Combines with Events Group Rock Media

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.

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11 Comments

  • pegu | December 4, 2009 1:52 AMReply

    Got an email stating that Gen Art and Rock have separated ... I guess the marriage didn't work out as planned. They're fighting for their lives once again to keep things going I suppose. Good luck.

  • BruceL | August 21, 2009 6:13 AMReply

    My film The Wedding Weekend (then called Shut Up & Sing) went to about 12 film festivals and GenArt was one of the best experiences I had. By featuring only one film a night, packing a huge theater, having a Q&A after, and then throwing a party for all, they give filmmakers a rewarding experience they will never forget. I am indebted to them for their support at the festival and well beyond, as they fulfill their mission to bring new filmmaker voices to the public. Long live GenArt!

  • genartjeff | August 20, 2009 6:31 AMReply

    @thereelstory - please be careful what you post.

    That link you posted points to a "rumor" page on Gawker with unbelievable misinformation and lies - posted by a disgruntled individual seeking to ruffle feathers. There is not a single alumni filmmaker of Gen Art that would substantiate the claims. All of our filmmakers were paid their jury prizes and testimonials pour in every year from every single filmmaker expressing their gratitude for what we have done for them and continue to do for them. It is for this reason more than any that we pour our hearts and souls into providing such a unique and focussed platform for filmmakers to showcase their work.

    You can see this comment below posted by one of this year's winners this year on the Gawker page as well if you click on the "show hidden threads" link at the bottom of the comments:

    "Well I can't speak to the rest of the claims in this, but I know at least one to be completely untrue. I actually won the Jury Prize at Gen Art in April and was absolutely paid in full. A while ago.

    Gen Art is a fantastic film festival. They stand above almost all other festivals I've been a part of in how well they treat their filmmakers and what they do to continue to support their careers. People who have been involved in past Gen Arts have stayed so intimately involved in it each year because they treat us like a big family and go out of their way for us.

    I hope people don't believe everything they read. I wish there were more Gen Arts out there. Their dedication to supporting young talent is something to be applauded and their programming is superb. Gen Art was an honor to be a part of."

  • thereelstory | August 20, 2009 6:29 AMReply

    genartjeff, several respectable individuals commenting on indiewire are anonymous so its unfortunate you question validity. if your issues are really with the gawker piece, voice your comments on their forum and question their facts.

    gen art has had problems paying people beyond the last year, the comments here are to merely point out you aren't being entirely truthful. not blog fight.

    before you attack another comment you might consider homework was done or a personal experience was had.

  • RichReader | August 20, 2009 6:21 AMReply

    Over the past 5 years I've contributed some of my film and art creations to Gen Art competitions. My experiences with Gen Art have always been very good, especially with Jeff and Aaron. Having seen my work exhibited in more than twenty film festivals around the world, I know what the normal expectations should be. Gen Art excels at building caring and considerate permanent relationships with the alumni filmmakers and contributing artists. I'll continue to enter my work in their competitions, and enjoy the bond of professional growth and social networking friendship that naturally flows from participating in each others concerns.

  • ericescobar | August 20, 2009 6:13 AMReply

    Ouch. What a bummer to see GenArt getting slammed in the blogosphere. As a GenArt filmmaker alumni, I just can't let this pass without saying something. Jeff and the rest of the GenArt crew have tirelessly promoted my short films, the work of my friends and former students.

    GenArt has organized and sponsored events here in San Francisco, and shown the work of SF filmmakers all over the country. All this amazing work has been done at no cost to any of us filmmakers. And then there are all the free film screenings, parties and tons of other filmmaker-centered events. Granted, I have never received money from GenArt, but I can't begin to calculate how much they've invested in my direction.

    It's tough times for American arts organizations, especially the ones that work in indie film. I hope that GenArt will continue it's program and support for independent filmmaking.

  • saskiawb | August 20, 2009 5:02 AMReply

    oh and one more thing- IMHO 'not getting paid on time' is trumped by 'getting paid in the first place'.

  • saskiawb | August 20, 2009 5:00 AMReply

    Hey- just chiming in here but I think that one article on Gawker (notorious for being the go-to place for disgruntled ex-employees, by the way) and some vague hearsay does not constitute an argument against GenArt. Like all arts institutions, corporations, governments and groups of people, GenArt no doubt has its issues, but I can attest to the fact that taking care of its filmmakers is not one of them.

    In truth, of all the festivals, GenArt has often been described to me as being up towards the top of the pile by the many filmmakers I've known who've exhibited there.

    So... Just saying. It's easy to destroy a festival as too this or too that- and people do it often. But also remember to look at what this group of individuals is striving to provide: it ain't easy, and they deserve our support. not our vague intimations.

  • genartjeff | August 20, 2009 4:51 AMReply

    dear "reel story,"

    I was simply responding to the false statement on Gawker that we did not pay the festival filmmakers their jury prizes which in fact we did and did so within the 90 day window we promised. I was also commenting on the anonymous poster's claim that our reputation with our artists is abysmal which couldn't be further from the truth. 2009 was in fact a difficult year and a few other filmmakers from other programs were put on a payment plan for award or stipend monies owed - but we maintain a very good and supportive relationship with all of these filmmakers.

    I appreciate your wanting to make filmmakers be more savvy about how they choose who they work with (we advise the same) - but please do your homework before you make claims and post links to gossip sites. You are absolutely correct that this is a small community and people know the reality of our reputation. If you are so confident about your statements - you ought to emerge from behind your anonymous veil. I would welcome a meaningful dialogue rather than a public blog war. I'm at 323.782.9367 (ask for my email address if you prefer)

  • thereelstory | August 20, 2009 4:03 AMReply

    sorry to rain on your parade man, but to claim all of your filmmakers for the fest , or other film projects for that matter, have always been paid in a reasonable amount of time just isn't true. its cool if that's changing, but there isn't any reason to lie. it's a small community and people know otherwise.

  • thereelstory | August 20, 2009 1:54 AMReply

    seems like filmmakers should beware of gen art...
    http://gawker.com/5341033/tipster-mismanaged-gen-art-deserves-to-die