Tennessee could become ‘Hollywood of the South’: Filmmakers say

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KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. (WKRN) — Filming for a movie about Tennessee legend Davy Crockett is underway in Crockett’s home state.

The cast and crew have said they enjoy filming in Tennessee; the variety of terrain, weather, hospitality, and delicious food are among the reasons, and with a little more help from the state, they said Tennessee could become the Hollywood of the South.

It’s week 4 of filming “Savage Lands,” an 1815 film set on a 900-acre property in Kingston Springs, starring English actor William Moseley, who you might recognize from his work on “The Chronicles of Narnia”, serving as “the king of the wild frontier.

“I fired muskets, I rode horses, I fought guys left, right and center, so it really couldn’t be more fun,” said Moseley, whose face was painted with war wounds. 2.

Tennessee topped the filmmakers’ list for the historical accuracy of the story. A 25% production grant from the Tennessee Entertainment Commission (TEC) helped subsidize the film, an incentive the team says isn’t as generous as neighboring states.

“There’s no reason Tennessee can’t be competitive with Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina, and even Kentucky. They can increase their incentives to make them competitive. It could become a destination major for filmmakers,” explained producer Michael Mailer.

Productions such as “Savage Lands” are important parts of the state’s economy, creating new revenue, increasing infrastructure growth, and generating additional tax revenue. In 2021, the entertainment industry generated about $751 million in gross state product for Tennessee, creating more than $483 million in new revenue for local workers, according to TEC.

Executive Director Bob Raines told News 2 they have requests for additional funding from the governor.

“I would really encourage the governor to invest in a few more movie studios to really kick start the movie market here. I think for tourism, it’s a huge thing, you know? Tennessee has an incredible history. It’s a rich state, it’s a beautiful state, it’s a state that really needs to be on the map and in the movies,” Moseley said.

From 2014 to 2022, employment in Tennessee in film and video production grew 82%, according to Raines, a number that will likely increase with movies like “Savage Lands” in the works.

“I would love to continue shooting in Tennessee. This particular story will hopefully lead to prequels and sequels, all of which will most likely shoot here. Although if we ever get to Alamo, who knows where we’ll shoot that , probably in Texas,” Mailer laughed.

“Savage Lands” will wrap filming in Kingston Springs late next week. They will then seek to sell the film, saying it could be released in theaters or on a streaming service.

You can visit the film’s website where they have launched a campaign with opportunities to contribute.

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