Behind the Story with the Filmmakers of “Draft Day”, moderated by Tony Rizzo (04/22/21)

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) celebrated the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland with a very special event Behind the Story with the Filmmakers of “Draft Day”, presented by Sequoia Financial Group!

Oscar®-nominated director and producer Ivan Reitman – the creative force behind beloved films like Animal House, Ghostbusters, Twins, and the Cleveland film Draft Day – joined a panel of filmmakers at a virtual event on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021: Behind the Story with the Filmmakers of “Draft Day”.

Tony Rizzo from The Really Big Show on ESPN Cleveland moderated.

In addition to having the ability to submit questions to the panelists, virtual attendees heard stories from the Draft Day film set, learned why the production chose to film in Cleveland and discovered how the filmmakers decided to put the Cleveland Browns on the silver screen.

For the first half of the panel event, virtual attendees heard from Cleveland-native Rajiv Joseph (Draft Day Writer), Scott Rotham, (Draft Day Writer), Michael Beugg (Draft Day Executive Producer), Steven Altman (Draft Day Production Designer), and Gregory Alpert (Draft Day  Location Manager). During the second hour, cult-classic director and producer Ivan Reitman joined the discussion.

This event was hosted by the GCFC and was presented by Sequoia Financial Group.

The GCFC worked very closely with the production to ensure Draft Day would be #FilmedInCLE in 2013. During its time in Cleveland, Draft Day: 

  • Spent over $16 million in Northeast Ohio
  • Hired over 70 local crew members
  • Engaged with over 60 local small businesses
  • Booked countless hotel room nights

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this event!


IVAN REITMAN (Producer) has been the creative force behind films beloved by audiences around the world – from raucous comedies like “ANIMAL HOUSE,” “STRIPES,” and “GHOSTBUSTERS,” to more sophisticated delights like “DAVE,” “SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS” and “TWINS.”

2020 saw the release of “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” which Reitman produced for Netflix under The Montecito Picture Company banner. In addition to “A Babysitter’s Guide,” Ivan spent 2019 producing the much anticipated “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” for Sony Pictures with his son Jason Reitman continuing the family legacy in the director’s chair.

In 2017, he produced “Father Figures” for Alcon Entertainment and “Baywatch” starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron for Paramount Pictures. In 2016, he brought the Paul Feig reboot of “GHOSTBUSTERS” to life for Columbia Pictures.

The career that has brought so much laughter to us began in Canada, where his family emigrated from Czechoslovakia when he was four-years-old. Reitman studied music at McMaster University but soon turned his talents to film and theater.

Shortly after graduation, Reitman delved into film production – first with the extremely low-budget horror-comedy “CANNIBAL GIRLS,” starring Canada’s Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin, followed by the live television show “Greed” with Dan Aykroyd as its announcer. Reitman then headed to New York City and produced the Broadway hit “The Magic Show,” starring McMaster friend Doug Henning. He continued producing for the stage with the off-Broadway hit “The National Lampoon Show,” where he brought together for the first time the then-unknown John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Joe Flaherty.

Reitman returned to Broadway to produce and direct the musical “Merlin,” earning him Tony nominations for directing and producing. While in New York, Reitman reapplied his talents to filmmaking when he joined forces with the National Lampoon and brought us the groundbreaking sensation “ANIMAL HOUSE.”  Following the success of that film, Reitman returned home to Canada to direct “MEATBALLS,” still considered one of the most successful films made in Canada.

The string of hits continued with “STRIPES” and the “GHOSTBUSTERS” series, which teamed Bill Murray with Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis; “DAVE,” starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver; “LEGAL EAGLES,” starring Robert Redford and Debra Winger; “SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS,” with Harrison Ford and Anne Heche; “EVOLUTION,” starring David Duchovny and Julianne Moore; and a series of films that  revealed an untapped comic persona for action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger: “TWINS,” “JUNIOR,” (both co-starring Danny DeVito) and “KINDERGARTEN COP.”

Reitman’s list of producing credits is equally extensive. He produced the family features “BEETHOVEN” and “BEETHOVEN’S 2ND,” as well as the HBO telefilm “The Late Shift,” which received seven Emmy nominations. Other producing endeavors include “HEAVY METAL,” “HOWARD STERN’S PRIVATE PARTS,” the animation/live-action film “SPACE JAM” (which teamed Michael Jordan with the Looney Toons characters), and the teen comedy hits “ROAD TRIP,” “EUROTRIP” and “OLD SCHOOL,” starring Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, and Luke Wilson.

In 1984, Reitman was honored as Director of the Year by the National Association of Theater Owners and the next year received a Special Achievement Award at the Canadian Genie Awards.  In 1979, and again in 1989, for the films “ANIMAL HOUSE” and “TWINS,” Reitman was honored with the People’s Choice Award.  In November of 1994, Reitman became the third director honored by Variety magazine in a special “Billion Dollar Director” issue. At the end of 2000, Reitman’s films “ANIMAL HOUSE” and “GHOSTBUSTERS” were honored as two of this past century’s funniest movies by the American Film Institute.   He currently heads The Montecito Picture Company, a film and television production company, with partner Tom Pollock.

More recently Reitman completed the family hit “HOTEL FOR DOGS,” “THE UNINVITED,” “I LOVE YOU, MAN,” “POST GRAD,” “CHLOE, and the Oscar®-nominated “UP IN THE AIR,” starring George Clooney and directed by his son, Jason Reitman.   In 2011, he directed the comedy hit “NO STRINGS ATTACHED,” starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. In 2012, he produced the wry “HITCHCOCK,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren and in 2014, Ivan directed the sports film, “DRAFT DAY” with Kevin Costner.  Reitman has been married to former Quebec film actress Genevieve Robert for more than 40 years. Together, they have three children and live in Santa Barbara, California.

Cleveland native RAJIV JOSEPH attended Cleveland Heights High School (’92) and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2016.

His play “BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO” was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. It was produced on Broadway in 2011, starring Robin Williams.

He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 for “GUARDS AT THE TAJ”(also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and in 2018, for “DESCRIBE THE NIGHT”.

His plays have been translated into several languages, with productions in recent years in Russia, Iran, South Korea, Japan, India, Singapore, Turkey, Romania, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Brazil, and Mexico.

In television, Rajiv wrote for seasons 4 and 5 of the Showtime series “NURSE JACKIE”. More recently, he scripted the pilot episode of “LITTLE AMERICA” for Apple TV.

In film, Rajiv has co-written with Scott Rothman the films “DRAFT DAY” (starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner; directed by Ivan Reitman), which topped the Black List in 2012 and “ARMY OF ONE” (starring Nicolas Cage; directed by Larry Charles).

He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and his MFA from New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts.

Rajiv is a company member of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa.

SCOTT ROTHMAN is a screenwriter who has sold screenplays to Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony, and New Line Cinema. With his writing partner Rajiv Joseph, he co-wrote “DRAFT DAY” which topped the 2012 Black List before its acquisition and subsequent production by Lionsgate/Summit as a feature film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Kevin Costner.

In addition, Rothman and Joseph co-wrote the script for the Weinstein Company comedy “ARMY OF ONE”, starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Larry Charles. Scott’s debut picture book “THE ATTACK OF THE UNDERWEAR DRAGON”, illustrated by NYT Best-Selling illustrator, Pete Oswald, published in Fall 2020 (Random House) and he has more children’s books on the way.

Scott’s humor writing has appeared in various publications including The New Yorker, GQ, Grantland, and McSweeney’s.

MICHAEL BEUGG has served as producer, executive producer, or line producer on more than 40 feature films, including director Jason Reitman’s current film, “GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE”, and his Oscar-nominated film “UP IN THE AIR”, director Damien Chazelle’s “LA LA LAND”, which received a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations and won a record 7 Golden Globe awards as well as Best Picture from the Producers Guild of America, directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ Oscar-winning “LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE”, and Stephen Chbosky’s Academy Award-nominated “WONDER”. Beugg was named Variety magazine’s Artisan of Distinction for Producing in 2017 and a winner of the DGA Award for “LA LA LAND” in that same year.

Beugg’s most recently released project, Craig Brewer’s “DOLEMITE IS MY NAME”, is written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and stars Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Mike Epps, and Keegan Michael Key. The Netflix Theatrical film is a 1970’s period comedy set in the world of independent filmmaking. “DOLEMITE IS MY NAME” was named Entertainment Weekly’s Number 1 “Must See” Film for Fall 2019. It received a Best Picture nomination from the Golden Globes®. Beugg is currently in pre-production on Damien Chazelle’s period drama “BABYLON” for Paramount and Blitz Bazawule’s musical “THE COLOR PURPLE” for Warner Brothers and Amblin, which is adapted from the Tony Award-winning musical, the 1985 Oscar-nominated film, and Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-winning novel.

Beugg has a long-standing affiliation with filmmakers Jason Reitman and Ivan Reitman, serving as Executive Producer on seven of their films. The 2009 Paramount release “UP IN THE AIR”, starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick, written and directed by Jason Reitman and produced by Ivan Reitman, received six Oscar® nominations, including for Best Picture, and also was nominated for Best Picture by the Producers Guild and the Golden Globes® (HFPA). The screenplay, adapted from Walter Kirn’s novel of the same name, won awards from the Writers Guild of America, the Golden Globes®, and BAFTA, among others.

Beugg’s first collaboration with Jason Reitman, “THANK YOU FOR SMOKING”, a satirical comedy set in the world of tobacco lobbyists, is adapted from Christopher Buckley’s novel. The film premiered in the fall of 2005 at the Toronto Film Festival, and it stars Aaron Eckhart, Robert Duvall, and William H. Macy. The film was acquired by Fox Searchlight, and it received nominations for Best Picture by the Golden Globes®, Best Screenplay by the Writers Guild, Best Editing by the Editors Guild, and it won Best Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards®.

His other recent Reitman films include Ivan Reitman’s NFL drama “DRAFT DAY”, for Summit/Lionsgate, starring Kevin Costner; Jason Reitman’s “THE FRONT RUNNER”, for Sony Pictures, starring Hugh Jackman, “MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN” for Paramount Pictures, starring Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, and Jennifer Garner; and “LABOR DAY”, starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.

His other best-known project is the Oscar®-winning “LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE”, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Festival and stars Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, and Alan Arkin. Fox Searchlight acquired “LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE” for the highest price paid in the history of the Sundance Festival. The film was honored as Best Picture by the Producers Guild of America, the Independent Spirit Awards®, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards®, and nominated for Best Picture by the Golden Globes® and the Academy Awards®. “LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE” won two Oscars®, one for Alan Arkin’s performance and the other for Michael Arndt.

Beugg was executive producer of Ken Kwapis’ number one box office hit, “HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU”, a romantic comedy based on the best-selling book of the same name. The Warner Bros. release stars Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Ben Affleck. Beugg produced Tim Story’s inspirational basketball drama, “HURRICANE SEASON”, which stars Forest Whitaker, Taraji Henson, Bonnie Hunt and Lil Wayne. Beugg has received lifetime achievement awards from both the St. Louis (“The Guggenheim Award”) and Denver (“The Hickenlooper Award”) international film festivals.

In his spare time, he has helped “AMERICA’S MOST WANTED” capture criminals by producing 40 crime reenactments; filmed Jeff Probst, the host of “SURVIVOR,” as he parachuted out of a plane to deliver the votes of the tribal council; and warned the Broken Lizard comedy troupe about the dangers of drinking an excessive amount of digital beer.

Prior to entering the film business, Beugg worked in the White House Budget Office (OMB) in energy and environmental policy and in the management consulting industry for BCG and ZS Associates. He also studied acting with Ted Liss in Chicago. He received an M.B.A./public policy degree from Stanford University and a B.A. from Yale University. Beugg lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

STEPHEN ALTMAN was born in Kansas City, Missouri on October 15th, 1956. Raised in Southern California, he started working in the film industry in 1974 on his father’s film “CALIFORNIA SPLIT” and then “NASHVILLE”, as an apprentice editor and projectionist. On “BUFFALO BILL & THE INDIANS” he started working in the prop department and by 1979 was working as a Property Master, Set Decorator, and Art Director. His career as a Production Designer commenced with the 1985 feature “FOOL FOR LOVE”, spawning a successful familial collaboration with his father Robert Altman, which created the distinct visions in “VINCENT AND THEO”, “THE PLAYER”, “SHORT CUTS”, “READY TO WEAR”, “KANSAS CITY”, “THE GINGERBREAD MAN”, “COOKIE’S FORTUNE”, “DR T & THE WOMEN” and “GOSFORD PARK”.

Altman also designed Taylor Hackford’s hit biopic “RAY”; Kathryn Bigelow’s iconoclastic vampire western “NEAR DARK”; the retro-chic of Brian Gibson’s Tina Turner biopic, “WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT”, George Armitage’s hit-man striving for normalcy in “GROSSE POINT BLANK”, Paramount’s hilarious “HOT ROD”, the pilot and permanent sets for Showtime’s hit series “SHAMELESS”, Fox’s teen super-hero movie “CHRONICLE” and “DRAFT DAY” starring Kevin Costner and directed by Ivan Reitman.

Stephen also earned AFI, BAFTA, and Oscar nominations for “GOSFORD PARK” and an Emmy nomination for “GEORGIA O’KEEFFE”.

GREGORY H. ALPERT (Location Manager / Production Supervisor) has worked with some of the most influential directors of our time, including Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, Ron Howard, Ivan Reitman, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Zemeckis, and Steven Spielberg. He has worked as both a Location Manager & Production Supervisor and has collaborated with each of these directors, respectively, on numerous projects. As a Location Manager, he has traveled extensively throughout the country on shows that range from independent films such as Robert Altman’s “COOKIE’S FORTUNE” starring Glenn Close and Julianne Moore to Production Supervising blockbuster hits such as “TERMINATOR 3” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steven Spielberg’s “WAR OF THE WORLDS” starring Tom Cruise.

Mr. Alpert holds the sole distinction of being the only back-to-back-to-back COLA (CA On-Location- Award) winner for Location Professional of the Year in three different categories. In 2014 he was the recipient of the COLA Award for “Location Professional of the Year – Independent Features” for the Joe Dante directed picture “BURYING THE EX”, and the year before that for “Location Professional of the Year – Studio Features” for the Warner Bros. feature film “THE HANGOVER PART III”, and the year prior to that, which started off the Hat Trick, a win in the TV Episodic category for “Location Professional of the Year” for the short-lived HBO series “LUCK” from Michael Mann & David Milch, which starred Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte. Previously, in 2008, Mr. Alpert received his first COLA Award for “Location Professional of the Year – Studio Features” for the Academy Award-nominated Best Picture “FROST/NIXON” directed by Ron Howard.


Two of Mr. Alpert’s more recent credits include the HBO series “SHARP OBJECTS” starring Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson and both seasons of the highly acclaimed HBO series “BIG LITTLE LIES” starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and the newest member of the cast Meryl Streep.

Mr. Alpert is currently working on a new series for HBO currently entitled “UNTITLED LAKERS PROJECT” about the 1980’s Los Angeles Showtime Lakers. Adam McKay directed the pilot.


Tony Rizzo is the son of late broadcaster Jack Reynolds. Tony has covered Cleveland sports for three decades and has been a local fixture on Cleveland television on WJW, Channel 8, first as an anchor on the local FOX 8 News for 15 years, and later with his own locally produced aptly-named television show The Rizzo Show. Tony’s career in sports radio took off when he was hired as the sports update person with John Lanigan and Jimmy Malone on WMJI. He later became the main host of The Really Big Show on ESPN Cleveland, WKNR. Tony’s prominence in Cleveland sports radio led to his being cast, along with his radio co-host Aaron Goldhammer, as himself in the 2014 Ivan Reitman film Draft Day.