By Kevin Hogencamp
There’s the Flint RiverQuarium, Ray Charles Plaza and the Albany Civil Rights Institute. And there are Albany’s heritage and arts museum – and planetarium.
Now, add another feather to Dougherty County’s gradually burgeoning tourism cap.
Dougherty County now is officially “camera ready”, so-designated by the Georgia Department of Economic Development – the state’s sales and marketing arm — for meeting standards for the film and television production industry.
Fifteen other counties received the new designation last week.
The GDEcD’s Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office put the new designation to offer film and television production companies easier, faster and better access to local resources and information. A Camera Ready Community must designate a liaison who can assist film and television production companies on a local level.
“More than 50 Georgia counties hosted a film and/or TV production this year, making this a banner year for the industry in our state,” said GDEcD commissioner Heidi Green. “Hollywood A-listers including Robert Duvall, Katherine Heigl, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston have all experienced our unique locations, talented crew base and world-class southern hospitality, helping make Georgia the top filming location in the south.”
Bibb, Carroll, Chatham, Coweta, DeKalb, Emanuel, Floyd, Fulton, Hall, Houston, Lowndes, Morgan, Newton, Walker and Wilkes counties also have been designated as Camera Ready communities.
Albany’s moviemaking success has skyrocketed in recent years with Sherwood Baptist Church’s productions of “Fireproof,” (2008), “Facing the Giants” (2006) and “Flywheel” (2003). Other notable films produced here have been “The Biscuit Eater” (1940), “Good-bye, My Lady” (1956), “Voices” (2009) and the documentary “Do No Harm” (2009).
Georgia’s film and television industry hosted 348 productions over the past year, with combined budgets increasing from $647.6 million in FY09 to $744.3 million from the previous year. Altogether, the industry’s economic impact in the state was $1.33 billion, up from $1.1 billion the previous year, Green says. Georgia is now ranked No. 1 in the Southeast, and among the top five states in the nation for film and TV productions, she said.
Green said Georgia’s communities offer TV and film productions a variety of unique and authentic landscapes including beautiful mountains, rural farmlands, coastal beaches and islands, swamps and marshes, scenic rivers and lakes, small towns, major metropolitan cities and more. In 2009, productions were shot in 50 counties in Georgia impacting local communities throughout the state.
The Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Division conducts business development, sales, marketing and promotional activities to attract entertainment projects and businesses to the state. The division’s team also assists the local, national and international entertainment industries with information, expertise and resources. To learn more about Georgia’s Camera Ready Community Program please visit www.georgia.org/cameraready
Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Heide Green presents the Camera Ready designation to Lisa Riddle, the Albany Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s director and convention services manager, and Rashelle Beasley, the Welcome Center manager.