Archived Story

Film crew should see Natchez’s best

Published 12:02am Sunday, September 29, 2013

It has been 17 years since a major motion picture studio selected Natchez to produce a feature film, and that goes back to 1996, when Castlerock Entertainment was in Natchez filming scenes for Ghosts of Mississippi.

Over the next month, trucks will be rolling in preparation to begin filming a biopic on the life of The Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

It is certainly exciting for those of us who have worked on film or television projects over the years as local crew, and it’s particularly exciting that the project’s director and many of the crew brought attention back to filming in Mississippi through last year’s smash hit, “The Help.”

Many of the department heads and critical players have been in Natchez for several weeks, scouting locations for scenes, accommodations for cast and crew to stay over the two-month production schedule and just finding their way around town.

Many of the locations to be used in the actual filming have been locked down, as has much of the lodging for cast and crew members, and it is my hope that anyone who has been called upon to rent locations to the production company, has been generous when pricing the location rental rate.

We need to open our doors and show our hospitality the Natchez way. After all, we were just voted as one of the friendliest cities in the U.S.

Local restaurants, hotels and merchants will begin to see more traffic, and please take the time to welcome cast and crew and thank them for picking our city over several others to bring us back to Hollywood.

Over the years, we have had to fight hard to prove that Natchez is a great place to make modern-day films and that we’re good for much more than just “period” productions set in the 1800s and earlier.

We were a filmmaking Mecca during the late 70s and through the 80s, but that has waned over the years, and we need to prove that we can be the premier movie location in our great state.

Greenwood did a wonderful job of stepping up to the plate, and the success of the film came as a result of the company having a number of locations provided to them free of charge.

As a result of the movie’s success, Greenwood is attracting tourists who are coming just to take a riding tour of the locations used in The Help, which is something that could easily be added to the existing tourism products of Natchez.

Let’s put our best foot forward for Universal Studios and show them that Natchez is indeed a film-friendly city.

It’s great for anyone and everyone to benefit from movies made here, and this is a major economic impact to our city. It will have great windfall for Natchez over the long run.

 

Sally Durkin

Natchez resident