By Cydney Rhines – Courtesy of THEA
THEA, the first regional streaming platform of its kind, is highlighting the freshest ATL regional talent in film and TV. Enter Steven Perez of Barred Owl Productions. Perez is an Atlanta filmmaker with a rich entertainment background stretching from music, to voice acting and now film. Perez’s full-length film Burnt Offering, a horror/thriller created entirely around metro Atlanta with Blackhall Studios, can be streamed on Amazon Prime and rented through Redbox.
Recently, we were able to sit with Perez to discuss not only where he came from, but also why he continues to choose Atlanta as the place to express his unique talent.
What brought you to the film industry? Was there a lightbulb moment for you, when you knew this was the community to be a part of?
Steven Perez: I actually started in the music industry about 15 years ago as a recording artist and learned how records were made. I was fascinated by how the whole system came about and from then on, I started building my own studio. This led me to work with different artists in Atlanta like Usher and the other artists we love [from the region].
Was there something that pulled you away from music and to film? What attracted you to the industry?
Perez: I got into voice acting and then went into some on-camera projects. So, I was acting but also doing post-production because I was really interested in it. But for film and the production side, it was all an organic transition to the process of filmmaking. My wife and I started to make our own projects because in this industry it’s hard to get people to see what you see, so we decided, “Hey, let’s hire ourselves for the projects that we like and if it works it works but if not then it didn’t work for us.”
I was always fascinated with storytelling, and once I was working in post-production I saw it about to happen. I remember hearing Robert Rodriguez’s story on a podcast I listened to a few years ago and it blew my mind. After hearing his story, I remember telling my wife that I don’t know what, but I’m going to do something in film. I just knew that I was headed for more.
What made you choose to stay in Atlanta to continue your film career?
Perez: Atlanta is still growing and changing, and I’d rather be a part of something new and fresh. This city is not the same as it was five years ago, and it won’t be the same five years from now. But of course, in film and entertainment, people still tell you go to Los Angeles. But honestly, we wouldn’t be able to do everything we’re doing if we didn’t choose Atlanta.
I’m also from here, so being able to be an ambassador whenever I meet new people gives me something to talk about because I know that we’re a hub for [a global film and TV ecosystem.
Perez’s story is relatable to many creators looking to get started in the industry today– and in Atlanta, you can make your mark like nowhere else.