More than 700 feature films, music videos and television movies and series have been filmed in Georgia since 1972, bringing more than $5 billion to the state, said Craig Dominey, senior film location specialist for the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment office, a part of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Dominey was the guest speaker at Monday’s meeting of the Marietta Metro Rotary Club at the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center.
Dominey said nearly half of the total projects took place in 2011 with an economic impact of $2.4 billion.
“This industry has been a lifesaver for a lot of unemployed people in Georgia,” Dominey said. “There are all sorts of stories of people who have had a second-chance career. … There are people who were in home construction who are now in set construction.”
He said that in addition to the initial project, fans flock to the sites where their favorite movies and television shows were filmed, bringing more money to the community.
“Neighborhood Watch,” a movie featuring actors Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn set for release at the end of July, was cause for excitement at several Cobb sites in October. The Cobb locations included the Marietta Square, Campbell High School’s football stadium, the Echo Mill subdivision in west Cobb and the Amberton subdivision in Powder Springs.
And scenes for “Until We Meet Again,” a made-for-TV Disney movie scheduled to air this summer, were filmed at the Strand in November.
In March 2011, the Film Commission designated Cobb as a “Camera Ready Community,” an initiative in which participating communities provide an “image library” of their community’s landmarks and venues and list a liaison for interested scouts, producers and directors to contact about possibly filming in their areas. Dominey said the initiative now includes 116 counties in Georgia.
“From the time we got our designation, the calls started coming in from location scouts,” said Holly Bass, CEO of the Cobb Travel & Tourism and Cobb’s Camera Ready liaison.
Bass says her office has fielded nearly 70 requests in the past year, including for an abandoned bank building and a house that could be transformed into a Disney castle.
She said Cobb has a reputation among location scouts as a county that will work with them throughout the process to secure all permits needed from the city and county for the filming.
“The scouts talk to each other and know that we are helpful and responsive to their needs,” Bass said.
While Dominey would not say what film is coming to Georgia next, he did say there is an exciting one in the works and Cobb always gets a serious look for site selection.