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Economic Development

Mar. 14 - Film Savannah highlights First Quarter’s achievements with new Newsletter and Update on current productions

Category: Economic Development

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

March 14, 2017 – Film Savannah, led by Executive Director Beth Nelson, has released its first newsletter set to be a quarterly method of reporting on the achievements of the Savannah Area Film Office, and to provide the public with information on upcoming projects.

The quarterly newsletter will provide current news about film production in Savannah, as well as information on projects filming into the area.  “We want to keep everyone informed and excited about the growing film industry in the Savannah area,” explains Nelson.

The Savannah Area Film Office is the first stop for productions interested in filming in Chatham County, with the office serving as a liaison between production companies and area municipalities, government agencies, local businesses, crew, and the community. 

“We are not a permitting office, but serve as a liaison and help productions coordinate with the permitting offices in Chatham County.  There is lots of great information on our website,” as well, according to Nelson, which has been redesigned over the past year.

The FilmSavannah website also includes a database of local crew, businesses, and filming locations.  Area businesses can list themselves or their business, or a property available to be used by productions coming to Savannah.

“The Savannah Area had an impressive economic impact from the film industry last year.  With over $61 million of direct local spend, our community benefited greatly from the productions that came into town,” summarizes Nelson. (See chart below.)

The current productions in town or active in the 1st quarter include:

  • "Galveston" - This independent feature filmed in the Savannah Area from Feb 9 - March 15. Written by True Detective author Nic Pizzolatto, the movie stars Elle Fanning, Ben Foster, and Beau Bridges.  It is directed by French actor/director Melanie Laurent.  Read more about the film here.
  • "Vera Bradley - Back to School" - This catalog and ad campaign was shot in late February.  Even with little impact to the Savannah Area, this project brought in $150,000 of direct spend to Chatham County.
  • "Ride with Norman Reedus, Season 2" - Norman Reedus and co-host Dave Chappelle toured the Savannah Area on their motorcycles and explored the local biker culture in late February.  Check out the first season here!
  • "West Elm" - This small documentary filmed late January.  It featured local artists and designers in the Savannah area by capturing elements of their craftsmanship.
  • "Coolibar" Coolibar returned;  the production “loved Tybee Island and Savannah so much that they returned to our area for another summer & fall clothing catalog ad early this year,” states Nelson.
  • Underground, Season 2 Premiere started March 8 and is on every Wednesday at 10:00PM on WGN America.

In other achievements for the film office, Laura Bryant, Local Location Manager, was nominated for the LMGI 4th Annual Awards.  She was announced as a nominee for the Location Managers Guild International's Outstanding Locations in a Period Film for "Live By Night," filmed in the Savannah Area. 

Businesses learned how to sell their services and products to film and TV productions in the Savannah Area during this program held on March 3.  Almost every business can be utilized by the film industry, explains Nelson. 

The MountainFilm on Tour: Savannah 2017 presented films for all audiences of all age groups to enjoy during this year's festival which ran January 19 - 21.River Oaks Film Studios recently announce an exclusive three year partnership with MBS Equipment Company to provide production equipment to productions filming in the studio and the Savannah area.  MBS Equipment Company is the first film-related company to sign an agreement to move into the 150,000 sq. ft. studio located on Gulfstream Road. 

And, the Gray's Reef Film Festival 2017, presented by the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation presented the 14th annual Gray’s Reef Film Festival on February 2-5.  The 2017 festival featured an exciting film lineup that inspired ocean stewardship and conservation, Nelson reports.

The Savannah Jewish Film Festival 2017 presented an exhibition of international cinema that promoted and celebrated the diversity of Jewish history, culture and experience through film.  This year the festival spanned from January 25 - February 4.


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