Augusta, GA (WJBF) – Movie making is a booming business in Georgia and some Commissioners feel it is time for the city to act bringing some of that business to Augusta.
“We should not delay this any longer this is something that should have been passed months ago but today is the day,” says Commissioner Bill Lockett.
The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has been the city’s point organization when it comes to bringing in movies, but over the last year the Augusta Film Office has been successful bringing in productions.
The plan before city leaders would be for these two organizations to work together under the CVB’s lead, but that was something the Augusta Film Office would not support.
“We’ve brought movies where others have tried. We’re not going to try and defame any other organization. Everybody tries, we’ve had a decent amount of success and we felt they would reward the success,” says Brad Owens, who is the president of the Augusta Film Office.
But, no vote on the working agreement means the CVB and Augusta Film Office will continue to work independently, which is not the best of situation.
“There does need to be a one-stop shop, there needs to be a clear effort for a customer or a client to know where to call. I think this will have a little work to do,” says Jennifer Bowen, of the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The disagreement has some looking at the city itself creating its own film office and taking over the job of recruiting movie makers. “I think we need to look at this and do it right. If that means creating a film office, I’m willing to have those discussions, too, even if it’s under the Mayor’s office,” says Commissioner Sean Frantom.
“I don’t care about the city department. For one reason, you’re going to have to fund it,” says Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.
Owens says the most appropriate thing to do would be for the city to create an in-house film office, but what would that cost? City Administrator Janice Jackson says Savannah has a four person film office with an annual budget of a little more than $200,000.