Tony Mercedes was born A.R. Johnson in Nuremburg Germany, and raised in the republic of Panama until the age of 13. He relocated to Augusta GA where his father Staff Sergeant David Johnson would retire at Ft. Gordon Army military base. Mr. Mercedes ventured out into the entertainment business as a concert promoter at the ripe age of 18, where he promoted shows ranging from Gospel to R & B. Mr. Mercedes would then take a leap on faith and determination when at age 28 he released his first independent record that would land him sales exceeding three million copies. He would go on to continue releasing hit records through out his career coining himself the title The Hitman (among other titles smile). While still in Atlanta he would go on to work at LaFace Records under the guidance of LA Reid and Babyface and lead recording artist TLC to capturing Grammy Song of the Year with their hit No Scrubs. With over 25 million records sold and one Grammy publishing award, Tony Mercedes would then start his film company to supply videos for recording artist. After directing some 30 video, Tony Mercedes has set his sights on the Urban Christian Market as a film maker. Starting the First Family Film Group in Los Angeles, A.R. Johnson and his writing partner author Monique Lawton are aggressively making moves toward getting their first film, Outside These Walls formerly Prayer’s Ball completed. With talented actors showing interest in participating once funding is secured such as Clifton Powell (Ray, Woman Thou Art Loose, Next Friday, Dead Presidents etc…, Glenn Plummer (Day After Tomorrow, Speed 2, South Central etc), Lou Myers ( The Fighting Temptations, A Different World ), & Robert Miano ( Donnie Brasco, Thick As Thieves etc),Radio personality Rashan Ali. Grammy award winners Kelly Price, Betty Wright, Kandi Burress (Escape), along with Ann Nesby and Regina Belle, this film is guaranteed to succeed at its intended task. Tony is also in the final stages of completing a documentary entitled Every Soldier Counts. It is an in-depth look into the world of women in the ministry.
First Family Films was started because Tony saw a need for the Christian family and realized that Hollywood only had interest in sales as opposed to salvation, so he decided to step out on faith and follow his newly found spirit.
"The script was thought provoking, and the more I read the more I wanted to read. It is timeless, fearless in that it addresses all of the taboos of church versus nonbelievers. I saw myself, I saw my family, and I saw fellow parishioners that I've grown up around my whole life. Prayer's Ball made me believe that there is still yet to come an untapped way of reaching people from every walk of life. After reading the script, I knew that I wanted my involvement in this project to be more intricate because Prayer's Ball felt very personal. The world has not met Tony Mercedes yet, but they are about to. There is a new breed coming that will show the whole world that without Christ you can taste success, but with him you can eat it at every meal! Prayer's Ball is not only a story of redemption, but it is a wake up call to those who think they have got this God-thing figured out. I am excited with anticipation to see this film on the Big Screen. I am obligated to Tony spiritually. God has made him my covenant brother and I am my brother's keeper. "-Kelly Price-
If Tony’s music career is any indication of what can be expected, the Christian film industry better make way for this southern gentleman with a mission. In Tony’s own words the only true way to predict the future is to create it!!
Jennifer Sparger jennifer.wmv
In the bible: Habakkuk 2-2 says, write the vision make it plain on tablets, so that He that sees it may run with it. Through it tarries wait for it, for it will surely come. From a tender young age, Jennifer Sparger has always had a special knack for bringing things together. Whether it was envisioning something in her mind and transforming it on to paper through poetry, short stories, or just simply supporting and believing in the dreams of friends and love ones, it has always been about, “Vision”. She believes that a man’s dreams are influential in guiding him to fulfilling his purpose.
Jennifer has been blessed with the God given talents of: Leadership, Event Coordination, and Administration to name a few. Over the years, she has worked on such activities as: The Bush-Quayle Presidential Inaugural Ball, The Congressional Black Caucus Transportation Braintrust, The Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials Annual Leadership Conference, Refuge Ministries Leadership Conference Seminars, Tour Manager for a Gospel Stage-Play, Wedding Planning and etc. Her talents have taken her inside a vast variety of industries, allotting her the opportunity to meet and work with many well-known people in the Gospel Music and Entertainment Industry. In 1998 God placed a vision in Jennifer’s heart that would guide her to birth forth, Vision Gospel Inc. Through the business of Vision Gospel, she proudly provides the services of: Special Event Planning, Promotion, Public Relations and Talent Booking & Scouting Services.
As a poet and inspirational writer, Jennifer gets her inspiration from her social surroundings and life’s daily experiences. She self-published her first poetry book in 2002, entitled, “Pieces Of My Spirit”.
As a producer, her love for God and admiration for those called to walk in the office of ministry, especially women, has currently prompted her to partner with First Family Films. Working together they are producing, “Every Soldier Counts”, a documentary film saluting today’s great women in ministry.
She is very thankful to God and knows that as long as she trusts in Him, He will surely direct her path, “Proverbs 3: 5-7”. As a woman who has been called to serve for such a time as this, she has been compelled to hold up a standard of professionalism, humility and the uncompromising beauty of God’s excellence. She believes that life’s achievements are not defined by the many accolades that you receive, but by the number of lives enhanced along the journey.
As for what the future holds, she anticipates that the best is yet to come!