The city of East Point, GA, was named for its location as a 19th century railroad terminus near Atlanta.
Now, with film and TV production booming all across Georgia, the suburb of 30,000 people is again benefitting from its key location. It’s between downtown Atlanta and the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International. It’s easily reached via highways and mass transit.
And East Point is within a “film triangle” of sorts — flanked immediately to the north by the new Tyler Perry Studios complex, to the east by EUE Screen Gems and to the south by Atlanta Metro Studios.
This makes East Point an ideal location for film production and industry professionals and businesses that serve the industry. As a result there is a broad “spillover effect” boosting the city’s role in the industry and lifting job creation at local businesses.
“We extend as much hospitality, cordiality and professionalism as we can because we really see the benefit for the community,” says Maceo Rogers, East Point’s director of economic development.
‘Hidden Figures,’ ‘Stranger Things’ filmed here
In just the last couple of years, the Oscar-nominated hit “Hidden Figures” used East Point as a location. So did the Netflix smash “Stranger Things.” Scouts from the Oprah Winfrey-backed “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and other productions come around constantly.
Some highlights of the economic impact:
- East Point Studios started three years ago by offering 23,000 square feet for production, construction and storage space for movie and TV crews. It is owned and operated by seasoned film industry professionals Kim and Elliott Boswell.
- East Point Hardware, experiencing strong business from crews needing lumber, nails and other supplies, is doubling its space. “We get a pretty good amount of business from everybody that’s filming around here,” says Robert Gallagher, store manager. That includes “a whole lot of propane” for caterers and crews. “It runs the gamut.”
- BPS Companies has consolidated its various locations across metro Atlanta into its one million square-foot facilities. TV and movie productions account for a significant portion of the thriving business’s revenue, says CFO Debra Stanley.
- The Sword of the Lord and other East Point churches are often hired out for use as a base camp, where crew and cast gather for long shoots.
- The 1930s library has been used for “Stranger Things” as well as an upcoming movie about the Unabomber called “Manifesto.”
- The residences along Linwood Avenue are appealing for walking scenes that need a historic touch. Homes in the city are rented out to crew members or for location shooting.
Effect boosts city coffers and pride, too
City governments also earn income for permits, fees and other costs associated with productions.
For its part, East Point’s government is doing everything it can to bring more productions to town. And economic development specialist Erin Rodgers sees more than just a financial impact.
“It’s good for civic pride and for the kids in the community,” she says. “It’s very inspiring to them, to see there are more jobs and more career opportunities for them here. They won’t have to go to Los Angeles if they’re interested.”