DeKalb Co. leaders looking to make county premier Hollywood dest - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

DeKalb Co. leaders looking to make county premier Hollywood destination

(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)
DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

When it comes to making blockbuster movies, metro Atlanta is the new Hollywood.

The industry generated more than $2 billion statewide last year. Now, DeKalb County leaders are working together to cut the red tape and make it easier for the entertainment industry to operate locally.

Nestled in south DeKalb, on more than 140 acres, is one of the premier movie studios in the country.

“This industry is just thriving here,” said Blackhall Studios Executive Chairman Ryan Millsap. “Right now, what we have is about 850,000 square feet under roof.”
Millsap opened the state-of-the-art facility six months ago and already has hosted some of the biggest movie productions in the industry including the next “Godzilla” film.

“We took land that was historically for trucking and distribution and used it for a movie studio.  What that did was put us close enough to the city to be wonderfully accessible, but to give us enough land to accommodate what these guys need, the scale that these guys need,” he said.

DeKalb is now home to three major movie studios and local leaders are trying to capitalize on the booming business by forming an entertainment commission to accelerate growth in the community.

“How can we help them do what they do easier, but also get our residents and our businesses more involved in that,” said DeKalb Entertainment Commission’s Shelbia Jackson.

Commission members want to market DeKalb as a top location for making movies and the go-to spot for music and digital entertainment.

“I’ve got the support of all of our county commissioners, our CEO’s past and present have really supported moving this entity forward,” Jackson said.

And at Blackhall Studios, there are nine sound stages with more than 200,000 square feet of space, something that is hard to find on the West Coast.

“I mean last year we were number one in the whole world as a location for making movies, Georgia,” Millsap said. “How incredible is that?”

The DeKalb County Entertainment Commission will host a launch party to kick-off the initiative Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the History Center. 

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