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Atlanta definitely has the potential to become the next Hollywood, not because of its well-known music scene, but major productions are rapidly making their way to the south. Georgia has a 30 percent tax write-off, which is one of the highest in the nation, and it is home to a new 30-acre film studio complex.
Georgia is the headquarters for Tyler Perry’s movies and television shows which play a major part in Atlanta being included as a location for major productions.
Ironically, Perry relocated to Atlanta in 1990, where his first stage play I Know I’ve Been Changed was performed. This was the beginning of a movement in the film industry. The Hollywood that turned him away actually added fuel to the fire and in return Perry created an avenue to produce his work and distribute it to the public.
A TIMEmagazine article reported that Hollywood chose not to invest in his films because they believed that the productions were not in line with mainstream America.
Despite the obstacles that Perry faced, A Diary of a Mad Black Woman was filmed using $5.5 million and during the first weekend of its release, the movie made $22 million. A year later, Madea’s Family Reunion captured $30 million in its first three days and eventually grossed $63 million. Now the film director, writer and producer serve as an example of staying true to a vision and making history in Georgia.
Crystle “Clear” Roberson, a Georgia based, award-winning film director and writer said the southern state is very versatile and offers several different locations both urban and suburban for filming.
“You can have the big city [setting] or go to Savannah for the beach, which is where Forest Gump was filmed, or you can go to North Georgia and have the mountains.”
According to a CNN report, Atlanta was the location for 18 movies and 22 television shows in 2009, the” Blind Side,” “The Last Song,” “Zombieland,” “Lottery Ticket” and “Get Low” are among the productions.
The new Tyler Perry film “For Colored Girls” was shot in Atlanta and in New York. The highly anticipated film has an all-star cast including Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Phylicia Rashad and Macy Gray.
Perry was encouraged by Oprah Winfrey to use the craft of writing in an effort to vent and to express his creativity. Years later, Perry has won many awards including Outstanding Directing and Writing in a Motion Picture and Television Movie. In 2008, Perry opened a 200,000 square-foot studio complex on 30-acres in southwest Atlanta.
“It can be done here,” said Roberson. “In Atlanta it’s a lot easier to become a big fish in a small pond, in L.A., and in N.Y., it’s easy to become lost in the shuffle, the market is saturated and the competition is crazy.”
Roberson believes that Georgia can reach that Hollywood status but it will be a gradual process. “I think people should trust and believe in local talents in Georgia, I think we can do a better job of utilizing what we already have here..”
James Baldwin once wrote, “Anyone who has ever had to live in poverty knows just how expensive it is to be poor. All things considered, the same is submerged within fashion, art and one’s ability to not only survive but live! Posture, vigor, ability and one’s willingness to piece together such formalities of greatness, is exemplified in not only the fabrics of the world, but should be, in my opinion, altered and tailored to assist one in his or her journey.”