Lights, Camera, Location…Cherokee in Film

‘Diary of A Wimpy Kid, The Long Haul,’ ‘Champion,’ ‘Hidden Figures’ and ‘The Founder,’ these are just four of the most recent movies to have filmed in Cherokee County in the last year.  If you saw any of these films, you hopefully recognized a hometown property on the big screen.

In 2011, the Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) worked with the Georgia Department of Economic Development to have Cherokee County designated as a ‘Camera Ready Community.’   The ‘Camera Ready Community’ program was launched by the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office to train and certify Georgia counties to work effectively with production companies.  Camera Ready Liaisons provide local, one-on-one assistance in every aspect of production, from location scouting and film permits to traffic control, catering and lodging.  Since joining the program five years ago, film prospects have grown 464%.  In the past year, three major motion pictures, 10 TV episodes and six commercials have filmed in Cherokee.

Since Georgia legislators made the move to make Georgia an attractive venue for Hollywood films, billions of dollars have flowed into the state. In 2015, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the film industry generated $6 billion for the state’s economy.  That number jumped to $7 billion in 2016.  Cherokee County has benefitted from the economic impact of local filming.  Tom Cruise’s ‘American Made,’ generated over $400,000 to the City of Ball Ground in just a few short weeks of filming.  Those numbers do not consider the money spent by film crews at local restaurants and retail establishments while they are in the community scouting, building and striking film sets.

To encourage local filmmaking, COED officials, along with county and city partners, are making the process as seamless as possible for producers looking to film in the county. Currently, more than 130 local properties are listed on the state’s Reel-Scout database.  Reel-Scout is a national database used by the film industry to identify properties and locations that meet filming criteria.  This past year, one of those properties, Lake Allatoona, welcomed the biggest news to hit our local filming community, the arrival of Jason Bateman.  Bateman is starring, directing and co-producing the new Netflix original TV series, ‘Ozark.’  In this highly-acclaimed drama, Bateman will struggle to pay off his debt to Mexican drug lords.  Look for this new series to hit Netflix in 2017 and when you stream it, look for Cherokee!

If you are interested in the possibility of seeing your property on the big screen, contact COED project manager, Videssa Ormsby at vormsby@cherokeega.org to find out more about our Reel-Scout database.

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