479 NEWS

Georgia Film Industry Advocate Speaker David Ralston Passes

Today we are saddened to report the passing of Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, David Ralston, long an advocate of the Georgia film industry.

For more than 12 years Speaker Ralston has been a stalwart supporter of Georgia’s film industry and the jobs that it has provided our members. He helped shape, strengthen, and protect Georgia’s film tax incentive.

“I am excited by the success of this industry. As long as I sit in that office, there will be no bigger fan of that tax credit and this industry than I am.”

House Speaker David Ralston, Atlanta Journal Constitution, 15 March 2017

Please join us in offering our most sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

The Robert Vazquez Scholarship


In 2014 the Executive Board of IATSE Local 479 announced The Robert Vazquez Scholarship, which may be awarded to a member, a member’s spouse, son, daughter, grandchild or any child for which the member is deemed the legal guardian. The scholarship is currently a one time payment of $4000.

In 2013 Oz Magazine published the following memoriam at Bob’s passing:

“Born in Brooklyn New York, Bob Vazquez spent 22 years with the New Jersey State Department of Law and Public Safety, retiring with the rank of Chief of Special Operations. During his tenure, he worked with the NY and NJ Joint Bank robbery Task Force and was later assigned to many joint Federal details in and out of the United States. He attended the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Upon retiring from law enforcement Bob became involved in the motion picture industry, working as a technical advisor, stunt man and actor. After retiring from the Screen Actors Guild in 2008, he continued as a special effects supervisor for motion pictures. He was a member of IATSE local 479 since 1993, serving as president for the past 8 years. Bob worked over 75 motion pictures and TV series, and also produced one motion picture.

With his wife, Kathleen Marie Tonkin Vazquez (a third generation filmmaker), Bob owned and operated East Coast Films Inc. in Peachtree City, Georgia, a special effects company. He passed on May 25th, 2013 survived by his wife, his mother Mercedes Vazquez, his daughter Barbara Vazquez, his granddaughter Nadia Buer and his nephew Matt Mehring.”