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February 14, 2014

City looking at film permitting ordinance

MILLEDGEVILLE — The City of Milledgeville developed an ordinance for guidelines and permits with a stated goal to invite and encourage television, film and video productions.

Considering the size of Georgia’s film industry, the town must establish an easy and consistent permitting process.

The draft as presented to City Council for first read this week requires more massaging.

City Councilman Walter Reynolds, District 4, said in Tuesday’s work session the ordinance is missing in certain spots. 

Reynolds’ stated prior to his recent election that streamlining film permitting and access was a cornerstone of city growth.

“It’s incredibly important that we get this right the first go-around,” Reynolds said. “This will be the face of our public relations with the film industry. You only get one chance at a first impression. If this is what a film producer looks at, they are probably going to turn tail and look at another community.”

Milledgeville based filmmaker and member of the Producers Guild of America National Film USA Locations Committee Jeremiah Bennett worries certain requirements, as worded, could inhibit a production team.

“The purpose of an ordinance is to of course streamline the process so that a filmmaker can easily come into a town, get all the information they need with the approved permits and get it done in a timely manner,” he said. “Some of the issues I saw in this proposed ordinance would make this process actually take longer.”

Executive Director of the Milledgeville Convention & Visitors Bureau Jane Sowell said she pulled film related permits and requirements from 10 other cities for comparison to find what “worked best for us.”

Sowell said there are two versions of the document created.

“We put a shortened version together if they are interested, and if they do come, it’s a more elaborate document,” she said last week. “The final draft going before City Council is fairly extensive, but we feel like we didn’t want any surprises for the production company when they got here for any type of permit they might need.”

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