Behind the Scenes SHAYR GUTHRIE
Gearing up for his second movie, director Jeff Fisher talks about the perks of filming in Georgia JEFF FISHER
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS?
I moved to Los Angeles right after film school, where I worked at International Creative Management [a talent agency that represented Julia Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere and Mel Gibson in the ’90s] and Columbia/Tri-Star pictures as an assistant while making short films. I eventually worked my way up to directing television and eventually my first feature, “Killer Movie,” which stars Leighton Meester of “Gossip Girl,” Paul Wesley of “The Vampire Diaries” and Kaley Cuoco of “The Big Bang Theory.” It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. I moved to Atlanta in 2009 because of the excellent production incentives, and I am very excited to be shooting my second feature, “Cloud Nine,” in Atlanta this summer.
number. They understood that not only were they growing jobs for their state, but also that a crew would be spending money on and off the set. And, let’s face it, seeing a movie that’s shot in Atlanta doesn’t hurt tourism either. I just saw “Parental Guidance” and thought it did a fantastic job in showing some of the great locations. If I didn’t know Atlanta before, seeing it on the big screen in
WHAT’S YOUR NEW MOVIE ABOUT?
“Cloud Nine” is a romantic comedy that’s based on a short musical film I made years ago. It’s kind of a cross between “The Proposal” and “Bewitched” with a little “Grease” in the mix, if you can imagine. It’s a big, fun romantic comedy.
Atlanta got on my radar around 2006. A friend of mine from high school happened to be working with the film division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, trying to attract shooting to Georgia. She set up a dinner with Lee Thomas and Greg Torre from the film office and I was so impressed with how organized they were and how aggressive they were about attracting production to the state. They had unions like IATSE on board and were actively courting producers in a way that seemed more effective than other states. Lee actually brought me and two friends down to Atlanta. My friends produced movies for Disney and their niche was shooting in heavily incentivized locations, which at the time included Louisiana, Canada and South Africa. They would shoot as many as five projects back-to-back in these places, building crew bases as they moved forward. I was so impressed with the questions Lee was asking – they were trying to find the “strike point” that would make a producer actually pull the trigger and shoot here and seemed willing to meet that 26
PICTURED AT THE “Killer Movie” premiere at THE Tribeca Film Festival ARE Jeff Fisher, Leighton Meester, Torrey Devitto AND Paul Wesley.
HOW DID ATLANTA GET ON YOUR RADAR?
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