I want to congratulate our community for job well done in hosting the production company for the Movie Killing Season. Our community just had a fun and interesting week as Killing Season used our North Georgia Mountains as a backdrop for a plot about a private war between the characters played by two film giants, Robert De Niro and John Travolta.
The location scenes were shot at two of our State Parks, Tallulah Gorge and Blackrock Mountain. Thank our county and State for the foresight to preserve these beautiful natural places and that Director Mark Johnson thought them perfect for this movie.
John Travolta was sighted at a number of places around our community including Genesis Gym, La Cabana, Rumor Hazit, Walmart and Duvall Ford. He graciously permitted photos with our local people. The more private Mr. De Niro was not seen as often. Getting to visit with these stars was a great thrill, but more importantly it was also an economic shot in the arm for our region. While one or two movies will not turn our North Georgia economy around, we also understand that these “creative economies” add value and need to be included in our region’s plans for economic development.
This movie, and “Goats” the one before it, did not come to Rabun County on their own. A lot of work has led up to these visits. Current movies are reflecting the economic realities of lower attendance, so reduced and strict budgets are now one of the most important filmmaking aspects to consider. The Georgia Film Commission is one of the oldest and hardest working organizations of its kind, providing facilities and incentives for making movies in Georgia since 1973. Georgia offers production companies a transferable tax credit on in-state related production expenses, which in 2008 was increased from 20% to 30%. This credit now makes Georgia the state to beat in competition with others in the region like Louisiana and North Carolina, whose own lucrative programs make them popular destinations for productions looking to cut costs. http://www.georgia.org/GeorgiaIndustries/Entertainment/FilmTV/Pages/default.aspx
As reported in the Los Angeles Times January 27th 2012 “Killing Season” producer Millennium Films scours the globe for film tax credits, shooting films in Israel, South Africa, Canada and Bulgaria,… In the U.S., the company normally goes to Louisiana, where it owns a 70,000-square-foot studio. This time it has opted for the Peach State. “We looked at Connecticut and at Louisiana, but Georgia has the mountains and the rebate,” said Millennium Chief Executive Avi Arad.
Thanks to the film tax credit Georgia saw a record 126 television and movie productions in 2011, up from 94 in 2010 and up from 48 in 2007. This increase led EUE/Screen Gems to announce an expansion to its 33-acre studio complex in Atlanta. According to the Commission this will result in a 71% increase to the economic impact from all productions in Georgia, from $1.4 billion in 2010 to $2.4 billion in 2011.
Rabun County is perfectly poised to benefit from this boom, thanks to the foresight of our Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB). We thank the members of our community who have worked hard to get Rabun County designated as “Camera Ready” by the Georgia Film Commission. “Camera Ready” designation makes it easier and faster for film crews to get assistance, find locations, mobilize their activities and it lets them know we want their business. Our Rabun County CVB took the lead in securing this designation and in particular past Chairman Greg Brown and Director Pam Thompson. The latter undertook the arduous task of getting all the information together for the designation. It also could not have happened without the cooperative leadership of Vaughn Rogers and Carl Butler with the Chamber of Commerce and Leckie Stack on the Development Authority. And most importantly we thank Commissioner Kathryn Granberg for her strong support of this effort. She clearly understands that we need to consider a number of creative ways to address our area’s need for economic development
Pete Cleveland, Executive Director of the CVB indicates location scouts continue to visit Rabun County. He said most recently scouts for “Trouble with the Curve” a movie being produced by Clint Eastwood have found suitable locations in Rabun County. It is a baseball themed movie. For a list of other movies filmed in Rabun County, visit http://explorerabun.com/category/culture-and-heritage/film-and-video/
By David and Gayle Darugh, Owners/Innkeepers Beechwood Inn