Film crews have little effect on local business
by Matt Shinall
Jul 06, 2012 | 5870 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mike Lawrence and Karla Thomas eat lunch Thursday at Jefferson’s Restaurant on Main Street. Monday night, patrons at Jefferson’s were treated to an appearance by Stephen Moyer, lead actor in “Devil’s Knot,” a movie being filmed at the 1903 Bartow County Courthouse. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Mike Lawrence and Karla Thomas eat lunch Thursday at Jefferson’s Restaurant on Main Street. Monday night, patrons at Jefferson’s were treated to an appearance by Stephen Moyer, lead actor in “Devil’s Knot,” a movie being filmed at the 1903 Bartow County Courthouse. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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While the film industry has proved lucrative for the state since an incentive was originally passed in 2008, the latest crew to shoot a major motion picture in Cartersville has yet to make a noticeable impact on the local economy.

The film industry has been praised by advocates for its ancillary economic benefits, which follow a staff-heavy production team requiring all the necessities of a traveling army.

Those in the process of filming "Devil's Knot," however, have made only brief appearances at local dining establishments. The Swheat Market has seen some crew members pass through for meals while patrons at Jefferson's Restaurant got a glimpse of Stephen Moyer, lead actor in "Devil's Knot," best known from his role in the HBO series "True Blood."

Moyer and a few others from the movie were having dinner downtown Monday. The film's leading lady, Reese Witherspoon, was not with them, however. Jefferson's, seeing some of the heaviest film-affiliated business, is only a block away from where the crew is filming court scenes at the 1903 Bartow County Courthouse to be used in a 2013 feature film based on the book "Devil's Knot" depicting the 1993 murders of three children in West Memphis, Ark., and the trials of three teenage suspects that followed.

"I knew [Moyer] from his character on 'True Blood.' They actually came in on Monday night and had dinner with us and everything -- super, super nice people. I think those are the only ones we've seen," said Jefferson's General Manager Brittney Clark. "I definitely feel like we have been busier during the day."

An informal survey of downtown establishments found that Appalachian Grill, a regionally recognized restaurant, had not seen any traffic as a result of the filming.

Typically, local revenue is also seen in lodging expenses, although Cartersville-Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau Deputy Director Regina Wheeler said the majority of crew members working on "Devil's Knot" are staying in or around Atlanta. Other projects filmed in the area have taken advantage of nearby Barnsley Gardens, including another Reese Witherspoon film -- "Sweet Home Alabama," filmed in Rome.

Although obvious impacts have not been reported, film crews are expected to continue filming at the old courthouse into next week and many economic impacts occur without fanfare. A September 2011 article in Atlanta Magazine followed the day-to-day expenses of crew members working on the set of "The Three Stooges." Special effects coordinators, costume designers and other crew members reported how much money was spent and where for their departments during production. The article made note of the crew's filming at locations around metro Atlanta, including Cartersville.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development reports that in fiscal year 2011, television networks, Hollywood studios, production companies and independent producers spent more than $689 million in the state.