85 Summer 2014 • ideal-LIVING
Location, Location, Location…
While location is “everything”, producers and directors
can dress a town up to be just about anything set in just
about anywhere. With such diversity, both natural and
otherwise, a mid-sized, southeastern North Carolina town
could represent a quaint, contemporary New England village, or, just as easily, an early 40s downtown scene set in
the deep South.
Even when that southern ‘je ne sais quoi’ is not needed,
if given the opportunity and the right circumstances, producers will choose to work in a southern locale over others
to achieve a more enticing work experience.
Wilmington, fondly known in the industry as ‘
Wilmywood’ or ‘Hollywood East’, is a stellar example of the positive effect film has had on the South and vice versa.
Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Film Com-
mission in Wilmington, NC, says when trying to recruit
based on accommodations, hospitality and amenities, there’s
not a lot of arm twisting going on.
“I sit down with producers after they’ve wrapped a film
to discuss what worked and what didn’t and how we could
improve their experience. They invariably all say that if they
got a chance to come back here to work on a film, they’d
come back in a heartbeat,” Griffin said.
Both in films with southern settings, like The Big Chill,
Forrest Gump, Dirty Dancing, and Safe Haven and films
set elsewhere, like in Iron Man 3 and We’re the Millers,
southern states such as Georgia, South Carolina and North
Carolina have been the backdrop for a long list of major
The Southern Filming Experience Keeps Them
Coming for More
So, what makes the South attractive to producers and
Showtime in the South
The southeastern U.S. is well-dressed by nature. It runs the gamut from beaches and barrier islands that flaunt crystal blue water, idyllic waves, and endless op- portunity for exploration; steamy, Amazon-like, narrow riverscapes flanked with water-logged cypress; to lush, rugged mountain scenes, that can gasconade every color on the spectrum from the right viewpoint in the right season. But, its the undergarments, slipped on by history, and the accessories adorned by the culture
born of it, that give it those added accoutrements, the flamboyance, its swagger, that beckons
attention like a bull horn.
Let’s face it, the South can be dramatic. Not to mention, romantic, eccentric, and downright
intoxicating. Aside from a varied and evocative landscape, its traditions and culture are its elixir.
The thick southern drawls, century-old plantations, ostentatious Victorian architecture, polished-silver dinner parties, old, dilapidated tobacco barns and low country boils, create southern scenes
that inspire writers, producers and actors around the world.
It’s this reality, enhanced by classic, southern hospitality and uninhibited accommodation,
that puts a spring in the step of film crews, making slogging equipment so much more bearable.
FILM IS SIMPLY GOOD FOR THE SOUTH
By: Jamie Penn