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Tinseltown taps Atlanta as movie-making mecca! Will showbiz boom bring boffo box office?



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“Drop Dead Diva” star Brooke Elliott - KANNIE YU LAPACK
  • Kannie Yu LaPack
  • “Drop Dead Diva” star Brooke Elliott

It would be nice if Atlanta could claim more artistic ownership of local productions, rather than simply the financial advantages. Still, screen artists don't necessarily need to live in the places they chronicle on film. English director John Boorman crafted one of Georgia's most edgy, haunting films, Deliverance. On the other hand, actor/filmmaker Ray McKinnon, a native of Adel, Ga., won the Oscar for his equally brilliant, 38-minute short "The Accountant." The quality of a movie relies on the talents of its makers, wherever they come from.

And even after the film productions relocate or wrap up, they still leave residual economic benefits for tourism. At a Camera Ready Community press conference on Oct. 7, Clara Deemer, the director of tourism for the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce, told about honeymooners from Milan, Italy, who made a point of visiting Covington. The newlyweds' American itinerary consisted of trips to Ground Zero, Disneyland, the launch of the space shuttle Endeavor ... and the town where "The Dukes of Hazzard" was filmed.

In the long term, Georgia's filmmaking boom may be like a circus coming to town, bringing bright lights, razzle-dazzle and employment when we need it most. Even if the movie people pack up their tents and move onto the next hot incentive, they'll leave memories preserved on celluloid, along with a foundation of facilities and experience for native filmmakers to bring their own films to life. Plus, at least some of us had a chance to dance with the wolves.

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