It’s been a busy month for film and television production in Georgia this May. Here’s what we saw, where it shot, and how to spot it in your neighborhood.
India Sweets and Spices (production code: ISAS) is a new indie comedy filming mostly in Marietta. The film, written and directed by Geeta Malik, follows a college freshman who returns home for summer break and has her life turned upside-down by secrets from her East Indian family’s past. The screenplay was originally titled Dinner with Friends and won a 2016 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting award. Between May 4 and 5, filming took place in East Cobb. On May 7, production moved to Buckhead, shooting near Peachtree Battle Road. Signs were spotted along Roswell Road on May 14. On and off since the 19th, a basecamp has been set up in Marietta at the Sewel Mill Baptist Church in East Cobb.
Brand new at the end of May, The Conjuring 3 is beginning production in Atlanta. This film will be the eighth entry into the Conjuring-Universe (yes, this a thing) and the first to shoot in Georgia. So far, crews were spotted working at a home in Newnan on May 17 and May 24. The Conjuring 3 stars Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, and Ingrid Bisu.
BET is shooting a new series, Bigger (GAMU), produced by local veteran producer Will Packer. The show, which is set in Atlanta, will follow five friends looking for love. We first saw signs at Marietta Boulevard and Elaine Avenue on May 12. Crews were working near Centennial Olympic Park on May 16. The next day, filming took place in Lovejoy. On May 23, the series shot in West Midtown.
Also new this month, Holidate (HD) is the story of two singles who are struggling with family gatherings, holiday parties, and any of the other couple-centric events that choke the holidays. The two agree to be each other’s date for all holiday activities over the course of a year. The film will premiere on Netflix. Holidate shot at East Lake Golf Club on May 13. The next day, crews were filming near the Lindbergh MARTA station, turning the front of an apartment building into a snowy set. A basecamp was set up downtown, near State Farm Arena on May 16. On May 23, the production shot in West Midtown. Holidate stars Emma Roberts, Frances Fisher, and Kristin Chenoweth.
The Netflix series Ozark (KRAZO) is back filming its third season in the metro area. The Jason Bateman project had signs up at the corner of GA 141 and Holcomb Bridge Road in Norcross between May 10 and 11. On the 15th, the show was spotted in Buford. The next day, on May 16, crews worked at Peachtree DeKalb Airport. They returned to Buford for the 17th. Signs were up along Gaines Ferry Road in Flowery Branch on May 20. The series shot in Norcross on the 22nd and signs were spotted in the area at Jimmy Carter Boulevard on the 24th. On May 28, Ozark filmed in Buckhead.
The HBO series The Outsider (CANT/MUST) ended April in Decatur with signs along Gresham Road. Between May 1 and 2, the series set up a basecamp in Buckhead at Northside Drive and Peachtree Battle Road. On May 7, signs were spotted in Norcross off of Crescent Drive, just south of Jimmy Carter Boulevard. More were seen ITP at Freedom Parkway and Boulevard on May 10-11, leading to Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Crews were back in downtown Atlanta on May 17. They filmed in Norcross on May 24 and in northwest Atlanta on May 29.
Fear Street (FS) continued to shoot this month, starting off May on Moreland Avenue near the Piggly Wiggly. On May 18, crews worked out of North Dekalb Mall. They then moved to McDonough on the 20th. The next day, filming took place at Stone Mountain Park. Between May 22 and 23, the production set up in Hampton. Fear Street stars Gillian Jacobs, Emily Brobst, and Benjamin Flores Jr.
The Comedy Central series Robbie (CP) filmed in Douglasville on May 5. Between May 7 and 8, signs were placed at Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway and Chappell Road in Bankhead. On May 11, the show filmed in the Underwood Hills area. Signs were spotted along Howell Mill Road on May 14. A large, visible set was set up at Patrick’s Sub Shop in Underwood Hills between the 15th and the 17th.
Also filming this month: Netflix’s Insatiable (2BOB) filmed at EUE/Screen Gems on May 23. HBO’s Watchmen (CHAR) finished up April at its Griffin Vietnam set. It filmed off and on at soundstages in Union City throughout May. On the 30th, the series heads down to Macon. Oprah’s Greenleaf (GL) placed signs in Midtown, off Peachtree Street, near SCAD on May 6. The show also filmed in Lithonia on May 24. Jon Stewart’s Irresistible (IRR) spent all of May in Rome and the surrounding areas. The DC Universe series Stargirl (JSA) was at Campbell Middle School in Smyrna on May 28.
And finally this month, when it comes to the threat of a Hollywood boycott after controversial legislation, I hate to say I told you so once, twice, thrice—but, well, you get the idea. Governor Brian Kemp signed HB 481 into law on May 7, which bars most abortions after six weeks, and while the law does not go into effect until 2020 and will most likely be challenged, we’re starting to see rumblings from productions and studios threatening to take their projects and dollars elsewhere.
So far we haven’t lost any major productions, but we have lost an Amazon pilot, The Power, along with Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, an upcoming Kristen Wiig film. For those projects, it’s worth noting that they were in the early stages of location scouting, making it easy to pull the plug. However, some industry mainstays have also started to issue statements. Despite Ozark currently shooting here, Jason Bateman has vowed not work in the state should the law take effect. Netflix, which in addition to Ozark has filmed Stranger Things, Raising Dion, and Insatiable here, has also issued a statement saying that they will “rethink [their] entire investment in Georgia” should the law go into effect unchallenged next year. AMC (The Walking Dead), WarnerMedia (which owns HBO), and NBCUniversal have also expressed concern in shooting here if the law is upheld. Ron Howard will shoot an upcoming film here, but after that, he’s out unless the law is repealed. He plans to donate to the ACLU of Georgia while filming here. J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele are in a similar position, planning to still shoot Lovecraft Country here next month and promising to donate 100 percent of their episodic fees as well.
Disney’s Bill Iger said that he “doubted” his company could stay if the law goes into effect, taking any and all of Marvel with it. Between Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, a third of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has shot here in Georgia. Endgame alone is already on track to reach the highest global box office gross of all time, currently sitting at number two (behind Avatar) with roughly $2.2 billion. It’s the Georgia film industry’s crown jewel.
As you can tell from the activity in these roundups, not much has changed on the ground right now. But a shift in the industry most likely won’t be marked by a max exodus of productions and Hollywood A-listers, but rather a slow burn of fewer and fewer productions opening shop, and homegrown Georgian talent could opt to move on to more stable markets. Yes, Georgia’s tax credits will buoy the industry, but marquee projects like Endgame could find other homes. Already, California is planning to offer tax credits to films that leave here. Illinois is chomping at the bit to take a piece of our pie.
Georgia’s film industry doesn’t only support metro Atlanta—Macon, Savannah, and even rural communities throughout the state benefit from the sheer amount of productions that have come through in recent years. In 2018, the film industry’s economic impact was $9.5 billion. Keep an eye on that economic impact number and on FilmLA’s Feature Film Study report next year. If less money and work does indeed come to the Peach State, you’ll see it in this data as we slide down from the number one spot in 2016.
To any industry professionals in Georgia who are nervous, things might seem dark right now for Georgia’s film and TV scene, but look to our crown jewel. We’re currently at the end of Infinity War. There are 14,000,605 ways we lose this thing and only one where we can win. And to paraphrase Tony Stark way back in the first Avengers film, if you can’t protect Georgia’s film industry, you’ll damn sure avenge it. Cue the music.