The Union Recorder

October 18, 2013

CSH not quite film ready

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) learned the campus isn’t yet “film ready.”

CSHLRA executive director Mike Couch discussed the hard lessons during Wednesday’s board meeting.

The film crew for “Crimes and Mr. Meanors,” a family adventure feature being shot in Milledgeville, wanted to use the Powell Building and Culver Kidd Hospital Building for some final scenes. The movie would shoot the exterior of Powell and an unoccupied floor at the Kidd Hospital.

It took much longer than expected to navigate the proper state channels to gain access. The filmmakers haven’t received official State Properties Commission (SPC) approval on future submitted dates.

The confusion bumped back that particular film schedule, which means more cost.

Glass Door Entertainment producer Jeremiah Bennett helped get half of the film shot in Milledgeville. The other portions used Atlanta and Washington, D.C. sites.

The current process to get the OK for CSH filming is long, and the fees are expensive. SPC Deputy Director Frank Smith did agree to reduce the standing $1,000 per day rental fee to $650 in this case. 

For comparison, Bennett said shooting at a monument in Washington, D.C. costs only $150 per day.

Bennett questions how the state charges four or five times that for a decaying building.

“It doesn’t make any business sense,” Bennett said.

The film crew already bit an extra $500 to $1,000 per day budget cost to get everyone involved to Milledgeville.

Bennett said the community has to understand it isn’t Atlanta and should consider finding a way to offset those extra costs.

“Of course they will reap the rewards of tourists and a lot of things like that,” he said. “You’ve got to get the people here first.”

Having a go-to person to organize film sites, costs and other accommodations is a must for the town to truly capitalize on a booming state industry.

“We’ve got to make sure that when a production crew comes to town they know there are different requirements to film at a state hospital, private, city or county piece of property,” Couch said. “We need a how-to manual when they come to Milledgeville.”

Bennett said having a streamlined permit for all city properties would be huge.

Right now, nothing exists for the film community. 

“Go ahead and have a person who does know if it’s not city property, but belongs to another organization at least know the steps to even just direct you to the right phone number so you aren’t waiting weeks,” Bennett said. “It’s crazy to me that it took over five weeks to get to the right person. It doesn’t make the area quite as competitive as say a building in Atlanta.”

These issues are film ready “growing pains,” according to Bennett. The producer thanked everyone for working to make things happen.

Improving the local process will allow filmmakers to meet their deadlines and bring more positive attention to the area.

If the CSHLRA proposed state property legislation passes in the 2014 session, these access issues should be solved considering the local body gains more control and oversight of the property.

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