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'Interesting and exciting,': Georgia film industry helping Macon grow

Aaron Buzza says Macon has four to five major productions in town each year, which generates $4-5 million dollars in TV and film production

MACON, Ga. — Georgia's film and TV industry is a $4.4 billion a year. That's according to Governor Brian Kemp; he says that's their biggest year ever. However, how much is Macon taking in from Hollywood productions?

"'Zombieland 2', 'Fast and Furious' was here, and 'Need for Speed.' So, those are some of the larger ones," Aaron Buzza says. 

Buzza is Visit Macon's Vice President of Development. He says Macon has four to five significant productions in town each year, generating $4-5 million in TV and film productions.

"It brings more revenue to-- in a lot of cases-- its restaurants, its bars, its hotels. So, that's money that's coming in that doesn't necessarily have to come from the regulars," he said. 

Buzza explains that Macon will only continue to grow in popularity to film in due to its history and its hospitality. 

"I'm having conversations with a couple of productions right at the moment; each production leads us to another opportunity because somebody had a good experience here," Buzza said. 

Amy McCullough owns Macon Clay on 2nd street. She says her business was used during the filming of the musical "The Color Purple." 

"It was pretty interesting and exciting, especially for a town like Macon.".

McCullough says she was paid $1,500 a day for five days during the filming of "The Color Purple" and the money helped out a lot. 

"It was fun because I got to meet some of the actors, and I got to walk to a lot of the filming. I mean, Macon has a beautiful downtown-- historic buildings that are intact." McCullough said. "I think a lot of people give Macon a bad rap, but culturally-- especially musically-- and now, with the movie productions being filmed here. I think it's wonderful for Macon," 

Stacy Jenkins is the owner of Pop of Genius Film company, an indie film company in Central Georgia. 

"We'll probably be used for another casting agency or another film project," she says. 

Jenkins explains that she has experience doing hair on production sets and has become involved in being an extra on film sets. She says that her company not only creates indie films but also helps with casting. The most recent being the casting of local attorney Roy Miller in "The Color Purple." 

He was able to see Oprah Winfrey, and Taraji P Henson, and they were on set for 12 hours. So, you should get some good viewing on him once the film comes out."

She says her indie films have also helped Macon's economy and hopes larger productions will continue to seek their help.

"The talent side of it, we're here for that. Wrap- up parties, making sure they know about– not just the main hotels downtown– but other businesses that can also offer services while they're in production," Jenkins said. "They're willing to contribute to the film industry in Macon. We can be that connection for outside companies or film companies looking for talent."

Visit Macon says they're talking to a couple of big TV production companies that may be working in Macon soon.

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