In case you missed it, the news of a Pinewood Studios-managed facility in Fayette County, south of Atlanta, was announced this afternoon by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“Wow!” people have been saying all day, “So is Pinewood Studios really coming to Georgia?”
Well yeah, kind of. Right now the project is a proposal for a development. More on that in a bit.
About Pinewood Studios
You can’t discuss the history of modern cinema without mentioning the major film studios where many of the most famous pictures have been made. In the last half of the 20th century Hollywood’s studios matured from a collection of production backlots into an increasingly complex system for financing and distributing motion pictures, and we Americans naturally think of that toddling town when the word “studio” is mentioned. But, on the global stage, there are many production facilities that are equally famous, from Cinecittà (Rome, Italy) to Pathé (Paris, France) to Gorky Film Studio (Moscow, Russia). The United Kingdom has a trove of well regarded studio facilities, but none more well known than Pinewood Studios thanks to the James Bond franchise, the Harry Potter series, Pirates of the Caribbean, and a very long list of other well-known film and television properties you’re sure to recognize.
Nestled quietly in the western outskirts of London, just outside the M25, Pinewood might be mistaken for just another industrial complex if not for the famous 007 soundstage looming high over the north end of the property. The celebrated stretch running along the west side of the Bond stage has played Rome to Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, Manhattan to Christopher Reeves’ Superman, and Gotham City to Michael Keaton as Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 kickstart to the caped crusader.
It came as no surprise that when Pinewood Studios Group proposed an aggressive expansion of its existing facilities last June (“Project Pinewood”) it received a lot of industry press in the UK and on the global market. Pinewood has long experience in the industry and the amount of research and intelligence presented in a report last week to Creative England clearly presents the increasing demand for high quality production facilities.
Pinewood Studios studios and locations already include:
- Shepperton Studios, United Kingdom
- Teddington Studios, United Kingdom
- Location shooting in Toronto, Canada
- Pinewood Indomina Studios, The Dominican Republic
- Pinewood Studios Berlin, Berlin, Germany
- Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, Malaysia
Bringing Pinewood to Atlanta
Pinewood’s long experience in managing film production facilities is what prompted a group of Atlanta investors known as Rivers Rock, LLC, to meet with the British firm. The facilities at Pinewood’s Ivers Heath location look like something straight from Terry Gilliam’s brain – warrens of haphazardly connected buildings with tangled runs of pipes running here and there, banks of trucks pulled up to dozens of docks spread around the grounds. A network of congested internal roads connect war-era barracks housing costumers and art directors, publicists and caterers. It’s all so… British, and for decades upon decades it has simply worked. While it will take years for Georgia’s film crews to properly break in a brand new facility, they’d love the opportunity!
Where will “Pinewood Atlanta” (hopefully) be located?
Tammy Joyner of the Atlanta Journal Constitution describes the development’s location as being “near the infamous West Fayetteville Bypass, a thoroughfare that drew a lot of criticism from some residents who felt it was built in an area of the county that doesn’t have traffic problems. The complex also is near an empty school. It’s a carte blanche canvas on which Hollywood can create.” – that’s pretty good.
Georgia’s motion picture industry stands poised to take some great steps in the next few years, now please peel your children off the ceiling, we’ve heard NO rumors of Harry Potter prequels being filmed in Georgia just yet.