City in turmoil with two local film productions | Local News

By Rick Ivey

Special at Times-Enterprise

Thomasville is full of activities around not one, but two films taking advantage of the diverse and scenic locations available here, and local officials couldn’t be happier to host the productions.

“We’re always thrilled when film crews come to town,” said Bonnie Hayes, director of tourism and cinema for the City of Thomasville. “Cinema is a tourism engine, but more than that, cinema has an economic impact on our community in different ways.

“Our hotels are full, but we are also seeing an increase in our local restaurants, retail stores, home supply stores, gas stations, pharmacies…. Everyone sees a benefit when these camera crews come to town, and coming out of COVID, it’s a huge boost to our economy, ”Hayes added.

An added benefit, she said, comes from the tourism surrounding cinema, both short and long term.

“People love to see their favorite movie stars, but they also love to visit them after filming is finished, walk around places they’ve seen on the big screen,” said Hayes.

Over the next three weeks, Thomasville will host two film productions, “Supercell,” a tornado disaster movie starring Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche, and “Bandit,” a real crime film starring Mel Gibson and Josh Duhamel.

Both productions have strong local ties with filmmakers and producers who see the benefits for the community but also have a vested interest in protecting Thomasville by bringing only the right projects and the right people.

Thomasville Pictures, a production company run by County native Thomas Allen Cheney and his partner, Ryan Smith, has brought several film projects to Thomasville, which Cheney sees as positive for everyone involved.

“We are excited to continue to see the production find a home in Thomasville, and we are committed to carrying out these projects in a way that benefits both the films and the local community,” said Cheney. “I am very grateful to our community for their support and hospitality towards our production teams and our actors.”

Smith said they weren’t willing to bring “any project” to Thomasville.

“We’ve worked really hard to find the right production partners that we trust and can work with to create great content. We only want the best, ”he noted. “We anticipate an injection of a few million dollars from the two projects into the local economy.”

“Supercell” is the third collaboration between Thomasville Pictures and Bay Point Media, directed by Rob Moran and his partner Chandler Rierson. Their previous films shot in Thomasville include “The Tiger Rising” and “One Way”.

Bay Point Media is one of Georgia’s leading film finance companies and Moran is the husband of Thomasville native Julie Bryan Moran. Bay Point is actively looking for films that would suit the community well, Moran said.

“We love bringing movies to Thomasville because the people are so wonderful to our actors and make a lasting impression on them,” added Moran.

The movie stars – who in recent years have ranged from Queen Latifah and Dennis Quaid to Machine Gun Kelly and Kevin Bacon – have also made a lasting impression on the community.

Fans who gathered to watch the shoot in downtown Thomasville on Tuesday morning reported that Duhamel was very kind and generous with his time, taking time between takes to pose for selfies and greet those gathered.

“Everyone who comes here to do these movies with us just sits for a few months at a time, and by the time we’re done, a lot of them hate to leave,” Cheney said. “They feel the special nature of our city and make friends with the locals. I tell them they will just have to come back and continue working with us!

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Gladys T. Hensley

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