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Self ‘excited’ to join Medient

POSTED: December 1, 2013 8:53 p.m.
Photo by Pat Donahue/

Medient CEO Manu Kumaran, far left, talks about the decision to hire Jay Self, far right, at an Effingham Industrial Development Authority meeting.

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The newest member of Medient Studios’ corporate team knows something about the movie business and the Coastal Empire.

The studio has hired Jay Self, former director of the Savannah Film Office, to lead its corporate affairs department.

“We’ve been meeting with Jay the last few weeks, and he contributes to our vision,” said Medient CEO Manu Kumaran. “I am happy to say it’s been a very productive couple of weeks and happy he’s on board.”

Self had been with the Savannah Film Office for nearly two decades until September of this year, when he was let go. He said there was no definite start date to his talks with the studio.

“I had been following them and had been working with them for months and talking with them seriously the last couple of weeks,” he said. “I was very excited about this project. It wasn’t a difficult decision.”

Medient is beginning work on a studio complex and DVD and gaming production facility on 1,550 acres adjacent to Old River Road and Interstate 16 in Effingham County. Self was one of the speakers at the studio’s August groundbreaking and said then that the studio would benefit the entire region.

Medient also announced other members of its team, who all have or are moving to the area — vice president of operations Megan Murphy, vice president of technology Julia Saldarriaga, vice president of content development Victoria Foster and president and head of corporate operations Richard Leibowitz.

Self said discussions about a studio locating in Coastal Georgia have been held since 1995 and reiterated his conviction that the Medient project can succeed.

“This has been a need for this area for decades,” he said. “It’s finally happening, and it’s happening with a group that has the experience and the connections and perseverance to make it happen. I wouldn’t be a part of it if I didn’t believe in it. That’s the kind of team and the kind of endeavor I want to be involved in. I believe in this vision, and I am fully behind Manu and his team. We’re going to make this work. This is the future of economic development. It is the biggest export America has and the biggest export America is going to have. I am really proud to be a part of that.”

Self added that Medient has all the ingredients to make the project work. The studio plans on shooting several movies a year and has its sights set on starting production next year.

“I’ve seen many of these visions come and go,” he said. “A lot of them had passion. A lot of them had innovative ideas. But none of them had everything. These guys have what it takes. I am so excited for this community, so excited for Effingham, so excited for Georgia.”


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