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Movies made in Georgia: AJC on Location

AJC Exclusive

Star-struck towns seek economic lift
HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Towns across Georgia do it all for Hollywood

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Towns across Georgia will do just about anything for Hollywood. In Savannah, the trees were stripped of Spanish moss to recreate Washington for a Robert Redford movie. And Grantville didn’t mow the grass for six weeks to give the already-apocalyptic downtown an even scarier look for “The Walking Dead.”

“They know we’ll bend over backwards for them,” said Jim Sells, the town’s mayor who gives “Walking Dead” tours for zombie-loving fans from as far away as Australia. “And they’re putting Grantville on the map.”  |  Photos

» AJC ON LOCATION: Movies made in Georgia

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The finances

'Anchorman 2' cast takes break from filming in Atlanta
Kerby Thompson

Georgia speaks to Hollywood’s bottom line

LOS ANGELES — Georgia plays a zombie wasteland in the hit TV series “The Walking Dead.” Scenes shot in Atlanta will portray dystopian poverty and splendor this fall in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” A British movie giant that works on the James Bond and Harry Potter franchises is building a studio campus in Fayette County.

Yet at a Los Angeles convention to drum up movie business last month, Georgia’s spartan 10-by-10 booth gave little hint of the state’s rise to A-list stature. While Hawaii’s booth nearby looked ready for a full-blown Luau, Georgia’s featured a flat-screen scrolling clips and a logo befitting an airbrushed T-shirt.

The low-budget approach was apt. While industry folks love Atlanta’s airport, local talent base and pleasant but generic scenery, it’s something else that really gets their attention: Money.

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The properties

Local businesses sees ‘ripple effect’ from film growth

John Raulet’s journey from real estate to the film industry sounds like a Hollywood tale. Opening scene: commercial buildings in Atlanta sit vacant while storm clouds release a freezing rain. Nothing moves amid the Great Recession.

“My commission stream pretty much completely evaporated,” recalled Raulet. “It was frightening,”

The plot twist came when the Georgia Legislature passed tax incentives to lure film projects.

The places

Georgia plays itself and other places on-screen

Sometimes Georgia plays itself on the big screen. In “Trouble With the Curve,” for example, Clint Eastwood plays an Atlanta Braves scout and the movie, also starring Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake, filmed scenes at Turner Field.

“What To Expect When You’re Expecting” showcased Atlanta to glorious effect, filming a number of scenes at recognizable locations including Piedmont Park.

The producers

Tax credits result in work for local artists, filmmakers

Tom Hamilton and Tripp Rhame are pretty clear about what the state’s film-industry tax credits have meant to their film project.

They’re the reason there is a film project.

“We couldn’t have done it without it,” Rhame said. “That’s what funded this production.”

Their Midtown-based Spitfire Studios started out as a commercial photography studio but morphed into filmmaking, buoyed by Georgia’s film-friendly tax policies.


The list

Movies filmed in Georgia

Hundreds of movies have filmed in Georgia over the years, but it’s clear that things picked up significantly after the state began offering tax incentives to production companies. Here are some major productions shot in Georgia in the last several years, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

» QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Atlanta-filmed movies.

the players

Local actress stays put and stays busy

To get an idea of what Georgia’s film industry can mean to local actors, take a look at Sharon Morris Conley’s imdb.com page.

She’s been seen in episodes of locally produced television shows including “Meet the Browns,”  “Drop Dead Diva” and “Necessary Roughness,” and in locally made movies including big-screen features “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” and “What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” along with ABC Family’s “Christmas Cupid.” She’s also appearing in a featured role in “Rectify,” a Sundance Channel drama that films south of Atlanta.

The studios

Studio specs: A look at what films where

Filmmakers love shooting at Atlanta landmarks including Turner Field, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Georgian Terrace and St. Regis hotels, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center.

When it’s time for interior work, productions have a slew of studios to choose from.

Among the most prominent is EUE/Screen Gems, a sprawling complex at the site of the former Lakewood Fairgrounds.


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