Last week, Make-A-Wish Georgia teamed up with Pinewood Atlanta Studios and Georgia Film Academy to make an aspiring filmmaker’s dream come true, and a large crowd turned out to cheer Zach on. (Special Photos)

Special to Fayette Newspapers

Last week, Zach got the surprise of his life at Pinewood Atlanta Studios, where a crowd of 150 people cheered as his limo pulled into the studio bay. Students from Georgia Film Academy, Pinewood Atlanta Studios, and members of the community gave him a welcome he will never forget.

Zach, who is 14 years old, was diagnosed with a heart condition at birth, but it doesn’t stop him from dreaming big, and Make-A-Wish Georgia helped make his dream come true. 

Frank Patterson, president of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, and Jeff Stepakoff, Executive Director of Georgia Film Academy, let him in on the secret: His wish to write and direct a film was coming true. The two industry leaders presented Zach with a director’s chair embroidered with his name, making the start of his journey official. Zach was also able to interview Frank and Jeff and receive industry and life advice that he’s sure to remember. They told him how they transitioned from young filmmakers to the professional world and advised him to never stop learning.

They also informed him of the next step in his journey: Zach will begin writing his screenplay alongside professors at Georgia Film Academy immediately to prepare for filming on site this fall. 

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Zach said. “I never could have imagined how incredible my wish would be.” 

Zach’s journey to be a filmmaker is just getting started.

For information on how to get involved with Make-A-Wish Georgia, visit