Close on the heels of an announcement of a new production complex coming to Gwinnett County, British film giant Pinewood Studios — the makers of the James Bond 007 movies, says it will open its first American production facilities in Fayetteville in January.
The opening of Pinewood would mean thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in salaries and hundreds of movies and television shows. And it’s an industry on the fast track.
A number of movies were filmed recently in the Atlanta area, including Anchorman 2, Flight and Trouble with the Curve. And on the TV side, shows like The Walking Dead and Vampire Diaries, all film in Atlanta and the surrounding area.
“TV and movie production is an incredibly labor intensive business and it cannot be put on a microchip,” said Kris Bagwell, Executive Vice President of EUE Screen Gems, with sound stages in south Atlanta.
“We see a lot of people that are out of work in other industries. Painters, set painting, construction people getting into set building, accountants, hair dressers, anything you can think of, in addition to camera operators,” said Lee Thomas, director of film, music and digital entertainment for the state of Georgia.
And as the industry expands so will job opportunities.
“We’ve never been able to get those huge scale movies in the past because we didn’t have a big campus of buildings, but now we are going to have several of them and I think at one time you can expect to see a thousand people on those lots at one time,” Thomas added.
Towering over the movie-making surge are the six sound stages at the EUE Screen Gems complex near the Lakewood Amphitheatre. Resembling the architecture of their Hollywood counterparts, the stages bring in hundreds of local jobs for each production and funnel business to caterers, restaurants, and hotels.