A Sit Down With Stephen Chrisanthus: The Storyteller

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Recently I sat down with ex-iPic COO, video content creator and movie aficionado Alex Reid at his home in Delray Beach to discuss his new company Phelix Productions, and his love of Delray Beach.

Give me a little bit about your background?

Got my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Cinema studies from the University of Melbourne, and had no idea what I should do with my life, I just knew I loved movies. Got a job working for Village Roadshow Australasia’s largest entertainment company, and worked my way up to General Manager of the Luxury Theater Division. Then opportunity knocked and the travel bug, and I set off for the UK to work for a Warner bros joint venture for a couple of years. Came home to Australia and took a stint working for Australia’s fourth largest bank in the branch sector before coming to America to start what was then called Gold Class Cinemas USA in 2008. In late 2010 Gold Class became IPIC and we continued to grow until I left in November of 2017.

So what are you working on now?

The combination of film love, corporate culture and growing a business left an indelible impression on what I wanted to do for my next phase. I will always love film and storytelling, and I love running a business and growing a brand. The last 20 years has taught me that the best businesses have the best cultures, because culture leads to innovation. Culture is the story a company tells itself about itself, and I love story telling. So we decided to start a company that would help businesses with their “Culture GAP” by using the same principles that create a great brand marketing campaign, to make employees buy into their company’s vision. When goals and actions are aligned, amazing things can happen.

Where did your passion for video production and storytelling stem from?

I think from when I was very young. My mother was an actress in her early days, and my dad and both my older brothers were huge James Bond fans. My family gatherings are less a catch up on current events and more about quoting films all night. There is something about film, really good film that is so transportable. It can literally change your mind set, and it is just the best entertainment around.

What makes this new company so unique or successful?

Certainly what makes us unique is that we are tackling Culture head on, and not from a traditional standpoint. Usually Culture is dealt with from a theoretical, almost academic basis. It is something talked about but not specifically actioned, which is crazy because a well-functioning culture is an absolute gold mine of efficiency and all important for innovation. Our amazing team also sets us apart.  We are very passionate about unlocking the potential in every company we can help, and having a bunch of fun along the way!

Originally from Australia and having worked all over the United States, what made you settle in Delray Beach?

When the iPic deal was done in 2010 I was asked to relocate to Florida, as the offices were in Boca. Initially I wasn’t sure what to make of Florida and specially Delray, as I was used to living in large cities (I relocated from Chicago), but it didn’t take long to fall in love with the place. In a lot of ways Delray reminds me of where we used to summer as a kid in Australia. There is something very special about the community in Delray; the arts scene gives it a real edge. It’s an interesting mix of business, and culture and it’s so beautiful, I decided not to leave.

What do you enjoy doing when you are in town?

I love Brûlée, we are there all the time. The owners live around the block from me. Christmas time we are always hanging around the tree, and I love what they have done to the Old School Square gallery, its beautiful. I love paddle boarding on the ocean, and we rent from the shop on Casuarina. The team at Luna Rosa is always wonderful to us and that’s the regular brunch place for sure. The kids love Silver Ball, that’s their jam, so I find myself there quite a bit too.

What are an interesting fact people might not know about you?

I used to be an actor, and was terrible at it, so I quit and got into business at a movie theater.