A memorable, fun-filled entertainment experience is at the core of marbleLIVE. For this reason, we have partnered with marblemedia, one of Canada’s premiere content creation companies known worldwide for its engaging multiplatform content. This partnership ensures this project will be a state of the art experience with fun always in mind.
JOHN BARRACK, MANAGING PARTNER
John Barrack, Managing Partner, marbleLIVE: John is a lawyer and entrepreneur who serves as the lead for the project. He is the former COO and CLO of the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA), which represents Canada’s 400 independent producers in film, TV, and digital media.
During his 12 years with the CMPA, John was instrumental in helping build Canada's film and television business into a $5 billion annual industry. He served as the chief negotiator in all of the CMPA's major negotiations, including the landmark Terms of Trade Agreement, which regulates the commercial business terms between Canada's English-language broadcasters and independent producers.
John continues to maintain a private law practice serving a wide variety of corporate and not-for-profit clients. John’s approach is to serve as a trusted strategic business advisor. His primary practice areas include labour, employment, and governance law.
John is a co-founder and a shareholder of Target Park, Toronto's fastest-growing parking lot company. He helped found and serves as Strategic Counsel to the newly formed Toronto-based production house Don Carmody Television – formed in partnership with Oscar-award winning producer Don Carmody (for Chicago) and independent producer David Cormican.
John has served on a variety of boards including as a member of the executive committee of the International Producer Association (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films), The Canadian Retransmission Collective, ISAN Canada and Shelternet for Abused Women.
MARK BISHOP, PARTNER
Mark Bishop is Co-CEO and Executive Producer of marblemedia. Mark has a strategic responsibility to oversee the company’s growth and management of all divisional and corporate undertakings including, distribution and sales (Distribution360), finance, digital media and new business ventures.
Having founded the company with business partner Matt Hornburg over a decade ago, Mark is an accomplished entrepreneur and brand builder who has produced strong marblemedia properties for companies such as Corus Entertainment, Astral Media, CBC, TVO, Nickelodeon, The Walt Disney Company and The Jim Henson Company.
A champion of the independent development and production screen-based industries, Mark is the Vice-Chair of the CMPA Board (Canadian Media Production Association), past-Chair and Executive Board Committee member of Interactive Ontario, Co-Chair of the IDM Digital Working Group for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and is a member of the Kids Help Phone Advisory Committee. Mark also lends his time to various universities as a guest lecturer and acts as a curriculum advisor at Centennial College, OCAD University and Ryerson University.
Mark and marblemedia have been recognized as a Next Generation Producer by The Hollywood Reporter, won the Lions Gate/Maple Pictures Innovative Producer Award and was celebrated as Producer of the Year by the Canadian New Media Awards. The company remains focused on innovative content creation and distribution for television and digital media with a commitment to telling stories that entertain and engage audiences across all platforms.
Amusement Entertainment Management LLC of East Brunswick, New Jersey (Jerry Merola): Over its 41-year history, Amusement Entertainment Management, LLC has become known as a core resource partner in the development of entertainment properties throughout the Americas. The firm has been responsible for the development and evolution of more than 400 successful entertainment brands, including theme park operator Cedar Fair, LLP, Great Wolf Lodge & Resorts, Hershey Park and Entertainment Group, Mohegan Sun Casino, Foxwoods Casino, GameWorks, and Six Flags Theme Parks. AEM also provides exclusive consulting and auditing services for lenders and investment firms within the entertainment space, including GE Capital’s Sports & Entertainment Division, CitiGroup, KIMCORealty, and CNL Real Estate Investment Trust. Based in East Brunswick, New Jersey, the firm’s 68-person staff guides and monitors its client base through all phases of conceptual development, equity and debt financing, construction, and early-stage operations.
Jerry serves as Chief Financial Officer and Managing Partner of the firm. During the past 17 years, he has focused much of his efforts on analyzing and enhancing the performance of the firm's client portfolio through development of feasibility studies, business plans, business valuations, and funding programs for some of the most notable names in the entertainment industry. Jerry and the firm have developed one of the most comprehensive attractions databases available, allowing its clients to obtain "real world" performance results and earnings capability for virtually any entertainment component.
Earlier in his career, Jerry served ten years in the commercial banking industry as Vice President of one of the northeast's largest commercial banks, where he managed a team of lenders that controlled the bank's Fortune 1000 client portfolio. Additionally, he served as a key member of the bank's lending committee, where he steered the investment focus for specific regions. A holder of bachelors and masters degrees in corporate and international finance from Fordham University and Fairleigh Dickinson University respectively, Jerry brings to the table a wealth of experience in financial markets, project and land development, budgeting, and risk management. He has authored over 250 articles in both the entertainment and financial services industries and is an accredited instructor for the American Banking Institute. He has provided dozens of seminars on behalf of The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, Amusement and Music Operators Association, and The International Association of the Leisure Entertainment Industry on topics ranging from project development to capital financing. Since 2001, Jerry has served as Chairman of the industry's Finance Council through the International Association of Leisure Entertainment Industry, and is a member of the faculty at Foundations Entertainment University. In addition, he maintains a seat on the Board of Investors Bank, a New York-based commercial bank with $13 billion in assets and over 100 locations throughout the Northeast quadrant of the U.S.
As a monthly feature writer for PlayMeter Magazine and Tourist Attractions and Parks, Jerry has dedicated himself to shaping the direction of the amusement and entertainment industries. His membership within the Amusement and Music Operators Association, the International Association of the Leisure Entertainment Industry (IALEI), and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions has provided him with a broad perspective of changes within the industry, from which the firm's clients have greatly benefited.
Entertainment Financial Partners (EFA) of New York City
EFA Partners of New York City (Ralph Willis, Kenny Favre): EFA Partners is a financial advisory and capital placement firm focused on a broad range of industries encompassing the entertainment and media sectors, including film exhibition, leisure and various media industries. Senior leadership has over 60 years of finance experience in these industries and has closed and managed over $5 billion in transactions. Since its founding in early 2009, EFA has represented over 50 companies in arranging senior debt, subordinated debt and equipment financing for various corporate purposes and advising on merger, acquisition and general business strategies. EFA Partners' offices are located in New York and Atlanta.
Ralph has been in the finance sector for over 25 years. Prior to forming EFA Partners in 2009, he was a Managing Director for GE Capital where he founded and led the entertainment unit of the media finance business for five years. He was responsible for leading a team of sales and risk professionals that closed and/or managed over $3 billion in transactions to the entertainment sectors including film exhibition (theatres/digital cinema/3-D/alternative content), leisure (theme parks/ski resorts/Family Entertainment Centres (FEC)/sports), production (film/music/video games) and casinos (Las Vegas/regional).
From 2001 to 2004, Ralph was with GE Capital as a Managing Director and responsible for leading teams of risk professionals that managed a $500 million entertainment/media portfolio and a $500 million distressed debt portfolio. He was with Heller Financial from 1999 to 2001 where he was a founding member of Heller’s EMX group that focused on the entertainment and media sectors. Mr. Willis has held finance positions with Gilman Financial Services, the financing unit of a privately held paper company, and with CIS Corporation, a technology leasing company.
Kenny has over 20 years of experience in entertainment finance and entertainment production. Prior to forming EFA Partners in 2009, he was with GE Capital from 2001 to 2008. His most recent role there was Vice President of Originations in the entertainment unit of GE Capital’s media finance business that closed and/or managed over $3 billion in financing to the entertainment sectors including film exhibition (theatres/digital cinema/3-D/alternative content), leisure (theme parks/ski resorts/FECs/sports), production (film/music/video games) and casinos (Las Vegas/regional). The group delivered a unique perspective to its clients through its relationship with GE Capital’s sister company, NBC Universal, and Kenny was instrumental in establishing a wide network of NBCU relationships in the digital cinema, film production, film services, video games, music and sports sectors.
Prior to this, Kenny was a portfolio manager with GE Capital managing over $500 million in investments in the media, entertainment, technology and industrial sectors. From 1999 to 2001, he was with Heller Financial’s EMX group that provided financing for the entertainment and media sectors. He was primarily responsible for underwriting new investment opportunities and managing the group’s portfolio.
Mary Powers is President of MPowers Communications, a consulting firm specializing in international communications and brand management in the media industry. Mary spent most of her career with CHUM Limited, where she directed all communications, corporate branding and investor relations for the publicly traded company. She then became SVP Corporate Communications for CTVglobemedia (now Bell Media), prior to launching her own company. Active in numerous industry associations, she is a board member of the Rogers Documentary and Cable Network Fund, past board member of Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and Past Chair of both the Banff World Media Festival and the international content marketing association Promax.
Blake Tohana is CFO of Tricon Films & Television, one of North America’s leading independent television production and distribution companies with an impressive track record of producing and selling high-quality, award-winning programming to domestic and international markets including primetime comedy and scripted drama, factual and lifestyle, reality, documentary and children’s series.
Blake also serves on the Board of Directors of both Woodbine Entertainment Group, Canada’s largest horse racing operator, and Ontario Media Development Corporation, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport.
Blake has more than 16 years of senior management experience in the media and entertainment industry including serving as CFO for marblemedia Inc. and Fireworks Entertainment Inc., which he helped take public before it was acquired by CanWest Global Communications Corp. He also spent seven years as Executive Vice-President and CFO of Magna Entertainment Corp. (“MEC”), which was North America's largest horse racing company with media operations that included a U.S. television network and Internet wagering business. While at MEC, Blake arranged more than $1 billion in financing transactions and oversaw the construction of numerous large-scale entertainment projects including casinos, racetracks and mixed-use developments. Blake got his start in the industry as Corporate Controller of Alliance Communications Corp., which was Canada's largest film entertainment company at that time.
Blake is a CPA, CA and has an MBA from McMaster University and a B.Sc. from The University of Western Ontario.