AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Augusta is known for golf, cyber security and, if things continue to go well, we might be able to add film production to that list. A new movie started shooting today and it is thanks to the Augusta Film Office.
It has been around for less than two years, but this is already the third motion picture the Augusta Film Office has brought to Augusta. The latest movie, Hollywood Dirt, is the opener for Passionflix, a new digital platform in the same vein as Netflix. "It's the first in the slate for Passionflix to be turned into a series of movies," says Mark Crump, associate producer of Hollywood Dirt. "They're going to make a whole bunch of movies."
This is essentially the AFO's pitch at securing some of those subsequent movies. Securing movies is good news for Augusta and the CSRA. "Over half the crew is local," says Richard Kelly, vice president of the Augusta Film Office. "That means all that money is going back into our Piggly Wiggly store. It's not going to be carried back to the west coast."
Out of the forty-six people working on the film, twenty-eight live in our area. And Georgia's film incentive is instrumental in raising that number. If a studio spends more than $500,000 in the state, it gets a 30% tax break.
"It's money in the bank for them and it allows them to make a $750,000 picture for $500,000," he said.
Augusta's cost of living plays its own role in attracting customers.
"If you start an ice cream stand and you've got the best ice cream and you don't charge near as much anybody else, after a while, they all come," says Kelly. "All you have to do is figure out how to make more ice cream and keep it good."
One of the actors spends a lot of her time between New York and LA, and this is her first time in our neck of the woods. "Everybody in Augusta has been incredibly warm and welcoming and kind and I'm just thrilled to be here," says Taylor Treadwell.
The AFO does is not designated as part of the regional film offices, so the state cannot promote it. Nothing but a minor inconvenience for a group so passionate about producing movies.
"Our work's a little bit harder for us, but we're going to do it anyways because we want the jobs and we want to bring them in," says Crump.
The Augusta Film Office already has another project in the pipeline. A sci-fi movie called Encounter is set to begin production next month.