Dougherty touted as 'film ready' by state

ALBANY, Ga. -- The state government's aggressive push to make it easier for moviemakers to use Georgia as their backdrop is giving local officials hope that a new industry will spur economic development.

Dougherty County is one of 16 Georgia counties named to the inaugural "camera-ready" list by the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office.

The designation means Dougherty County will be among the locations the state touts as it seeks to recruit filmmakers to Georgia.

"There's a lot of potential there for us," Albany CVB Director Lisa Riddle said. "Folks throughout the state and filmmakers have seen the success that Sherwood has had shooting here, and so I think we have a lot to offer."

It's not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Southwest Georgia industry, but officials say that the film industry can use just about anything for a backdrop these days.

"The technology is really incredible," the CVB's Rashelle Beasley said. "We've talked to people who said, 'We really just need a field. We can make it a cotton field digitally,' which is just incredible."

Movie officials have come to Albany and continue to call and inquire about possible locations.

And before folks snicker at the idea of Hollywood coming to the Deep South, think of some of the movies that have already been filmed in the Peach State.

From classics like "Fried Green Tomatoes," to recent flicks such as "The Killers" with Ashton Kutcher and Kathryn Heigl, Georgia is rapidly becoming a second-home for film production.

While Sherwood Baptist Church's production company has cornered the market lately in Albany while becoming one of the top names in the Christian movie genre, others also have ventured below the Gnat Line.

Notably "Zombieland," which was filmed in Valdosta, has raked in hundreds of millions since it opened on the silver screen two years ago. A "Zombieland" sequel is in post production.