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Paulding working to become the place for movie, TV productions
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
March 13, 2013 09:07 AM | 4064 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Jeremy Hariton and Nick Smerigan of Road Town Enterprises stand outside the Atlanta Film Studios Paulding County off Bill Carruth Parkway in Hiram.
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Paulding County is becoming a prime location for the film industry to create movies, television shows and commercials.

The county is home to the Atlanta Film Studios Paulding County, which is operated by Road Town Enterprises partners Jeremy Hariton and Nick Smerigan. District 67 State Rep. Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville, is working at the state capitol to help market Paulding as a film destination. Kevin Kirby, director of member services with the Paulding Chamber of Commerce, is the county’s Camera Ready Liaison to the Georgia Film Commission.

All three represent organizations which have worked to bring production to the area.

Recently the film studio in Hiram hosted the crew of “42,” which is the story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Harrison Ford heads the cast.

The production crew of “42” had a good experience at the studio, and have told others in the film industry about the five months they spent in Paulding, Hariton said.

“The facility is the first step to create an industry,” he said.

Currently the studio is preparing to host the filming of a pilot episode for a high-profile AMC series, Hariton said.

“TV is what will really root the facility,” he said.

Gravley was an assistant to then-Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2003 when he was approached by famed casting director Shay Griffin to help revive Georgia’s former standing as a major film destination. She told Gravley the state needed a film industry tax credit to compete.

“I was asked [by Perdue] to select the Georgia Film, Music and Entertainment Advisement Board,” Gravley said.

With his experience he hopes to help bring Paulding to the level of hosting five to 10 projects a year, he said.

“I would like to create a promotion packet for Paulding County,” Gravley said.

Recently he toured the Tyler Perry Studios and Screen Gems Studios, both in Atlanta.

“What I was doing was encouraging them to come to Paulding and Douglas [counties],” he said.

Gravley, a Paulding resident, represents a legislative district which includes parts of both counties.

Kirby is helping encourage the film industry to consider Paulding locations by being a contact for those seeking information about the community and what it offers.

He said he receives emails from the state film commission describing the kind of property a studio is looking for. He finds the land in their description in Paulding, photographs it and sends it to the commission. If interested Kirby will lead the film crew on a tour of the site and introduce them to the property owners, he said.

“I do nothing with negotiating for the land,” Kirby said.

Notable films which have featured scenes filmed in Paulding include “Footloose,” “Joyful Noise” and “Remember the Titans.”
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