The Sixth Annual Merge Summit Brings in Hundreds from Across the Country

Acting Panel (L-R): Hosea Chanchez, Nate Parker, Robi Reed, Dr. Holly Carter, Common, Bre’ly Evans, Traci Blackwell, Charles Michael Davis, Brandon T. Jackson

Merge/PR — Beverly Hills, CA — The Sixth Annual Merge Summit was held August 21-23, 2014 at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.  This one of a kind event integrates faith and entertainment providing an opportunity for men and women of faith to interface, learn and partner with leading executives and talent in the entertainment industry.  Nearly 75 of the industry’s top entertainers and executives led more than 20 interactive panel discussions, workshops and Master Class sessions covering music, television, film, creative development, branding and new media.  The Summit, co-founded by Dr. Holly Carter and Robi Reed, chaired by Traci Blackwell, was presented in association with Walgreens, Wellness Interactive, Inc. and Entertainment One.

Celebrity and notable participants included Anthony Anderson (ABC’s “Black-ish”), Laurence Fishburne(ABC’s “Black-ish”), Tracee Ellis Ross (ABC’s “Black-ish”), Meagan Good (“Think Like A Man Too”),DeVon Franklin (SVP of Production, Columbia Pictures), Boris Kodjoe (BET’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood”), Common (Rapper/Actor), Lala Anthony (“Think Like A Man Too”), Terrence Jenkins (E! News), Michelle Williams (Singer/Actress), Pastor Paula White (Paula White Ministries, Orlando),Erica Campbell (Mary Mary), Brandon T. Jackson (“Tropic Thunder”), Derek Luke (“Baggage Claim”),Clint Culpepper (President, Screen Gems), LisaRaye (VH1’s “Single Ladies”), Mikki Taylor (Essence Magazine), Dondre Whitfield (ABC’s “Mistresses”), Yvette Nicole Brown (NBC’s “Community”),Sheilah Belle (The Belle Report), Jonathan Butler (musician), Bishop Charles E. Blake (West Angeles Church of God In Christ), Lynn Whitfield (Emmy Award-winning Actress), Suzanne de Passe (de Passe Jones Entertainment), Hosea Chanchez (BET’s “The Game”), Fonzworth Bentley (BET’s “Lift Every Voice”), Harry J. Lennix (NBC’s “The Blacklist”), Mali Music (RCA Records recording artist), Bishop Lester Love (The City of Love Church, New Orleans), Edwina Findley (Tyler Perry’s “If Loving You Is Wrong”), Bre’ly Evans (actress/comedian), and the cast of Oxygen’s “Preachers of L.A.,” among others.


6th Annual Pan Pacific Film Festival To Showcase Family-Friendly and Faith-Based Filmmakers & Movies

jennHosted by Jenn Gotzon & Dr. Drake Travis, PPFF brings together professional and corporate leaders in film, family and faith.

FG/PR — Los Angeles, CA – The annual Pan Pacific Film Festival (PPFF) brings together a forum of movie industry professionals and cinephiles to share stories of redemption and transformation. The international event draws a unique and diverse audience of filmmakers and filmgoers who seek encouragement and support for the production of positive family and/or faith audience films.

Held annually in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, this year’s 6th annual film festival event will be held in the Aratani Community Center (JACCC) in Los Angeles, CA through July 24 – 26, 2014.

This year’s event is co-hosted by actress Jenn Gotzon & Dr. Drake Travis. Gotzon is know best for her work in Hulk and  Frost/Nixon, and has appeared in over 15 inspirational and redemptive feature films including the 2014 Oscar Nominated (rescinded) inspirational French and Indian War true-story Alone Yet Not Alone, mystery-drama Doonby, and more. Dr. Travis is currently the Director of Global Ambassadors for The Resurrection Project and is the author of two published works including Christ Our Healer Today and Healing Power: Voice Activated. He is currently working on a new talk show called “The High Road”, which is scheduled to be produced by end of this year.

PPFF activities consist of screenings of family-friendly and faith-based films, mini-concerts by artists, workshops led by top Hollywood producers, a model talent search, movie premieres and much more. Each night, PPFF will host a red carpet event featuring some of Hollywood’s most influential professionals, along with the movie premiers of Jackson’s Run and Footprints (Friday) and God’s Eye View and Apostle (Saturday).

The opening night of the festival features an awards ceremony celebrating excellence in independent filmmaking. The ceremony honors the year’s best submitted films and talent, and serves to encourage and affirm creative talents. Winners receive monetary prizes, stipends for future films, recognition by Hollywood professionals, International distribution agreements with broadcasting channels, DVD production, and more.

Award categories include: Best Short Narrative, Best Feature Narrative, Best Mission, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Soundtrack, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Under 7, Best “4 to 14,” Best “The Faithful,” Best Theatrical, Founder’s Pick, Best Director, Best Short Documentary, and Best Feature Documentary.

The festival is presented in partnership with International Media Mission (IMM), CGN TV, and The JUCE Network. Key partners include leading family-friendly and faith-based organizations such as The Christian Post, The Resurrection Project, MovieGuide, FrontGate Media,,, Sonoma Christian Home, Christian Film Database; Actors, Models & Talent for Christ (AMTC), and others.

Ken An, Co-Founder of PPFF shares, “We started out just wanting a place to screen family-friendly movies. Now PPFF has grown to be a creative home for family and faith artists; a center for professionals to work on their craft, and an international provider of high quality, family and faith friendly content.”

The winners of each nominee awards are listed at  and will be awarded on the day of the festival. For a schedule of events and speakers and for more information, visit .

Bravo’s New Reality Series, “Thicker Than Water,” featuring Local Tennesseans The Tankard Family

IBFFN to Host Screening of Bravo media’s New Reality Series,

“Thicker Than Water,” featuring Local Tennesseans The Tankard Family

Nashville, TN – The sixth annual International Black Film Festival of Nashville (IBFFN), is pleased to announce that Bravo Media’s new reality series, “Thicker Than Water” will make its screening debut on Saturday November 2nd at 5pm CST followed by a meet and greet with the cast. The series follows Grammy nominated and Dove award-winning gospel jazz artist Ben Tankard, his wife Jewel and their blended family. Ticket sales open Tuesday October 22nd and details on the location of the screening will be announced soon. For event details please

“Thicker Than Water” follows Ben and Jewel Tankard along with their blended and extended family as they live, love and laugh through the perils and pleasures of life. Self-dubbed the “Black Brady Bunch,” this southern family integrates their strong religious conviction with their penchant for the finer things in life. Under the watchful eye of the patriarch and matriarch, the Tankard children, although young adults, still live at home and must abide by Ben and Jewel’s rules. With the belief that “God wants us all to be millionaires,” the Tankards aim to be the best and brightest in everything they do.

Along with their drive, comes a healthy dose of rivalry proving the adage, “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family” especially true. To catch a sneak peek of the series, please visit .“The Tankards reside in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, so IBFFN is the perfect venue and opportunity for the show to make its national debut,” says IBFFN founder Hazel Joyner-Smith.  “Friends, family and supporters of the Tankards will get a chance to share in the moment with them. We anticipate this screening will be a wonderful success.”

“Thicker Than Water” premieres on Bravo on Sunday November 10th at 8p CST, immediately after one of the most popular and successful reality series, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Plans for the 6th annual IBFFN are being updated daily.  To obtain official IBFFN press credentials, the festival’s official selections, trailers, director info, synopses and cast, regular schedule updates to the 2013 and to purchase pre-festival passes, please visit our website at

About International Black Film Festival of Nashville:

Through the art of film, the International Black Film Festival of Nashville (IBFFN) celebrates the richness, diversity and creativity of storytelling for the cultural enrichment, progression and education of communities worldwide. Established in 2006, IBFFN is a collaboration of dedicated professionals who support the need for a community effort to bring African-American and other communities together to showcase their work as emerging and skilled independent filmmakers, actors, composers, screenwriters, directors and other film industry professionals. With “Defining Our Stories, Transforming the Image” as its organizational theme, IBFFN strives to ensure culturally accurate depictions in film with special emphasis on providing a forum for unheard, unseen and unknown viewpoints, and to showcase the rich creativity and diversity found in communities of color locally, nationally and internationally. The festival is made possible in part with the continued support of The Film House, Comcast, NovaCopy, TV One,  Bravo Media, The Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission, The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, The Screen Actors Guild and Film Comm. With the support of our corporate partners, the community and its leadership, the International Black Film Festival of Nashville is on course to becoming one of the top festivals in the country

‘Scandal’ returns with record breaking premiere

 “Scandal” fanatics and critics rejoice! Four new shows premiered Thursday night, but thanks to “Scandal” fan’s social media craziness, season 3 of the drama-soap slayed its competition and scored record breaking ratings.

 According to reports:

Scandal delivered 10.5 million viewers and 3.6 rating among adults 18-49. That’s up 71 percent from its premiere last year, and also rises 13 percent from its previous best (the season two finale).

 As far as competition, according to ratings, “Scandal” had none. Sure, Fox set themselves up to have a big night by opening with one of their top shows “Glee,” starring Big Sean’s fiancee Naya Rivera and followed it up with  “X-Factor” (which has been struggling big time). But even after their ratings were combined, the salacious scandal and drama between Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope and the President of the United States drew more viewers.

Magic Johnson, Angela Bassett among first ‘Arsenio Hall Show’ guests

Chris Tucker, Ice Cube, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson and Angela Bassett are among the big names who will join Arsenio Hall during the first week of his new show, The Arsenio Hall Show.

“My first week of guests offers a taste of pop culture and represents the mix of talent I hope to have on my show every week,” Hall said.

Hall will host a mix of athletes, celebrities, actors and musicians during the new late night show.

Nas, Mac Miller, Earth, Wind & Fire and Emblem3 are the musical guests set to perform during the show’s first week.

During September Paula Patton, Djimon Hounsou, Seth Green, Russell Simmons, Big Sean and 2 Chainz will appear on the new talk show.

“I am honored to welcome friends, both old and new, to my show,” Hall said.  ”My goal is to have fun, make people laugh, and send viewers to bed with a smile on their face.”

The show premieres nationwide September 9.

Tyler Perry’s ‘The Haves and the Have Nots’ breaks 2 million viewers

During its July 30 episode, Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots broke the 2 million viewer mark.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the scripted drama is averaging 1.7 million viewers and a 1.5. rating among women 25-54.

Late last month it was reported that with the help of Tyler Perry’s two new shows, OWN has turned a profit four months ahead of the projected timeline.
Perry’s shows, The Haves and the Have Nots and the sitcom Love Thy Neighbor, are the highest-rated programs on the network.

The “The Haves and the Have Nots” airs on Oprah’s OWN network Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.

Arsenio Hall ready to chat his way back to top

Beverly Hills, CA — Arsenio Hall is eager to get back in the late-night television talk show game, minus the big hair and shoulder pads that marked his initial foray nearly 20 years ago.

Joking to the Television Critics Association on Monday that he’s “been away making turkey bacon,” Hall said the challenges are much bigger now than when he was a pop-culture tastemaker on his old show that ran from 1989-94.

Back then, there were fewer channels and Johnny Carson was the dominant late-night host on “The Tonight Show.”

“It’s a huge challenge this time to bring people to the television,” Hall said. “Your biggest fan doesn’t watch you every night. You hope to get a guy three nights to check you out, the other nights they’ll be catching someone else.”

He offered few details on the format and style of the new “Arsenio Hall Show” other than the old theme song is coming back with a new bit of music that Hall wrote added to it.

Hall said no guests have yet been booked for the syndicated show debuting Sept. 9. More than 200 outlets have signed up to carry it.

Soon-to-be rivals Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel have reached out to Hall. Leno offered the phone numbers of the best writers on his staff who were forced out during layoffs, while Kimmel wrote a check to support Hall’s charity when he won “Celebrity Apprentice” last year.

“Maybe they’re setting me up to knock me out,” he said, “but the bottom line is everybody is being real nice to me.