© Eugenio Marongiu
Macon has become a prime location for filmmakers and TV producers. With films being filmed in Macon and going off to have great success, Macon as well as other cities in Georgia is becoming quite the hub for the visual entertainment industry.
“It’s been great to see the excitement of people seeing parts of our city in ‘Trouble with the Curve,’ ‘42,’ and ‘Need for Speed,’” Chris Floore, Assistant to the County Manager for Public Affairs, stated to the Cluster, “and we want that to continue.”
Recently, ‘The Fifth Wave’ was filmed in Downtown Macon. Based on the novel by Rick Yancy, the new movie directed by J. Blakeson follows sixteen-year-old Cassie Sullivan, who tries to survive waves of alien invasion in a world that has already been knocked back into the Stone Age with a decimated population.
“(‘The Fifth Wave’) had a location crew here regularly meeting with Macon-Bibb County, businesses and property owners on the logistics of closing the streets, building the sets, landing a helicopter on the streets and more,” explained Floore.
The crews associated with “The Fifth Wave” were scheduled to only be in Macon from Jan. 2 through Jan. 13 for set production and filming. During that time, they caused damage to buildings downtown, including broken windows and other damages inside of the buildings. A supervised explosion from a bus for the film caused the damages. However, repairs quickly started only a few hours after the fireball was set off.
“The repairs following the explosion are still underway in a few spots,” Floore details, “but it is coming along quickly, and the location crew has been working directly with those in the area to make sure everything is restored.”
An estimate projects the direct economic impact of the production to be more than $400,000, including hotel rooms, payment for extras, catering, fuel consumption and other services. This estimate does not include any compensation provided to businesses or residents in the area for the inconveniences or for having to close during the production. The cost of the repairs are being covered by the company producing the film.
The significant impact of the film industry to Macon’s economy is part of a much larger aspect of a changing Georgian entertainment culture. Within the last year alone, the state had an economic impact of $5.1 billion generated by feature films and television productions made in Georgia, and the industry expects to grow.
Since 1972, more than 800 film and television projects have taken place in Georgia including “Remember the Titans,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Zombieland,” “The Blind Side,” “Water for Elephants,” “Beauty Shop,” “Contagion,” “The Crazies,” “We Were Soldiers” and every movie by Tyler Perry. These films have primarily been filmed in areas inside and around Atlanta, but that is quickly changing as movies follow their television counterparts such as “The Walking Dead,” “Finding Carter,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Teen Wolf” in being filmed in other areas of Georgia.
Aside from generous tax incentives offered to qualifying productions, Georgia is also a “Camera Ready” state with diverse locations, production resources including experienced and affordable crew bases and professional support to aid in the success of any size production. The state as well as its cities intend to continue being ready to play their part on the silver screen as big movies and TV shows such as “Captain America: Civil War,” season 2 of “Finding Carter,” “Doctor Strange” and season six of “The Vampire Diaries” look to Georgia for location to film.
As Floore states, “We will continue to be Film Ready and strive to be film-friendly, as it brings great, positive attention to our area and has a significant impact on our economy.”