♦ Georgia continues to profit from it’s booming film industry. This month, Georgia Tourism announced its new Georgia Film Selfie Spot Tour, a self-guided tour featuring 33 sites in the Peach State that have been featured in major motion pictures and television shows. Sites include Avengers’ Headquarters featured in “Captain America: Civil War”, President Snow’s mansion featured in the “Hunger Games” franchise, sites that have seen visits from vampires on “The Vampire Diaries” and zombies on “The Walking Dead”, and a replica of that well-known bench from “Forrest Gump” that can be found in Port Wentworth among many others. Tourists are encouraged to visit the sites included in the tour and use the hashtags #GeorgiaFilm and #ExploreGeorgia on social media. The new tour comes on the heels of a banner year for the film industry in Georgia. A report in the Savannah Morning News, claims that in 2016 television productions brought the state about $33.4 million. Plus a whopping 280 projects, including features, commercials, and student projects brought in $132 million. It’s no wonder that visitors are clamoring to see some of that Georgia movie magic.
♦ Production is now beginning in Atlanta on the musical comedy Dumplin’. Directed by Anne Fletcher (Hot Pursuit, The Proposal) with a screenplay written by Kristin Hahn based on the YA novel of the same name written by Julie Murphy. The movie will follow Willowdean AKA “Dumplin’” (Danielle Macdonald, Patti Cake$) a plus-sized teen who joins a local pageant to stick it to the girls at school and her former beauty queen mother (Jennifer Aniston). What starts as a singular act of defiance becomes much bigger when Willowdean inspires other misfits to join the pageant. The film just added Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie), Luke Benward, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Maddie Baillio, Georgie Flores, and Ginger Minj (RuPaul’s Drag Race) to the previously cast Odeya Rush (The Giver). Casting for the film has been done by Cathy Sandrich Gelfond & Amanda Mackey.
♦ Shooting is set to begin in September for Night School, written and directed by Kevin Hart. The film recently also cast Tiffany Haddish to co-star, fresh off her breakout role in Girls Trip. The film will reunite Haddish with Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee and producer Will Packer. Packer has also previously worked with Kevin Hart on The Wedding Ringer, Think Like a Man, and the Ride Along films. Night School follows a group of troublemakers who attend night classes hoping to pass the GED. Surely, hijinks will ensue.
♦ On September 14th, The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) will partner with the LGBT film festival Out On Film to present the Atlanta’s premiere of the documentary “The Lavender Scare.” The doc will tell the story of the federal government’s McCarthy era operation to single out and fire all assumed gay employees. After losing his job, Frank Kameny fought his termination and began his career as one of the LGBT rights movement’s most prominent figures. The screening at Midtown Art Cinema will be followed by a Q&A with director/producer Josh Howard.
♦ Ric Reitz handily won re-election as president of SAG-AFTRA’s Atlanta local against his opponent Scott Hunter by a vote of 326 to 181. Reitz himself is an actor and broker for Georgia’s film tax credits. Reitz win comes as a further boon SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and her Unite for Strength (UFS) campaign of running mates.
♦ Netflix’s adaptation of the best-selling novel Nappily Ever After continues to take shape as it finds its lead in Sanaa Lathan (Shots Fired) and adds Ernie Hudson and Lynn Whitfield (Greenleaf) to the cast. Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour with a script from Tina Chism, Trisha R. Thomas’ book follows Violet Jones (Lathan) as she evaluates her life after she breaks up with her longtime commitment-phobic boyfriend, who promptly begins dating another woman. Production is set to begin in Atlanta next week.
♦ The 8th Annual BronzeLens Film Festival kicks off this week running August 23-27 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. The festival is aim is to bring international attention to Atlanta as the center of films for people of color.” Over 60 films of all types will be screened at the event with panels and master classes from notable figures in the industry such as Queen Latifah, writer/producer Neema Barnette (Queen Sugar, Being Mary Jane, The Breaks), and actor Keith David.
Written by Ellen Lloyd