Members of the Columbus Film Commission Attend Sundance Film Festival to Promote City’s Film Fund and Services

Jan 30, 2020




Peter Bowden


Columbus Film Commission, President




Members of the Columbus Film Commission Attend Sundance Film Festival to Promote City’s Film Fund and Services



JANUARY 29, 2020 (PARK CITY, UTAH)—For the third year, members of the Columbus Film Commission and VisitColumbusGA attended a portion of the Sundance Film Festival.  While there, the Commission reinforced its plan to position Columbus, Georgia, as the state's third film hub during the exclusive, invitation-only "Choose Georgia" event at the 2020 festival, as well as having one-on-one meetings with producers during the four-day Sundance experience.  This initiative leverages the state's $9.5 billion film and entertainment industry with the Columbus Film Commission's designated $5 million Film Fund to bring a new industry and jobs to the city. 

During the two-hour "Choose Georgia" reception, the Commission expounded upon the Columbus Film Fund to more than 300 attendees consisting of producers, directors and industry professionals.  Days prior to the “Choose Georgia” event, Film Commission representatives Joel Slocumb and Shelby Guest, as well as Adam Englehard, Columbus’ Los Angeles-based agent, took individual meetings with 16 producers to further explain Columbus’ funding options, location possibilities, Flat Rock Studio, work crew and intern availability, etc.

Three essential components to a successful film culture include location, trained workforce and funding.  A unique and robust public-private partnership created such an environment for film: W.C. Bradley's Flat Rock Studio provides infrastructure, Columbus State University's Georgia Film Academy on-set film production Nexus program trains a local workforce, and the Columbus Film Commission manages the Columbus Film Fund through the Columbus Economic Development Corporation. 

The Columbus Film Fund, made up of $5 million in contributions from the Columbus philanthropic community, is a local incentive designed to provide what is termed "gap" funding for 10 film and/or television productions filming in Columbus, Georgia over a next three-year period. Funds are available in the form of a grant to cover expenses such as travel per diem, food, lodging, etc. A simple application is available online at that explains the process as well as provides the form necessary to submit a filmmaker's project.

Conservative projections estimate this initiative will not only create the synergy necessary to establish a viable film/entertainment industry in Columbus through continuous work, but it will create more than 500 local jobs. Equally as important, Columbus State University's Butler Center for Business and Economic Research reports that just three films in 12 months, with average budgets of $3.5 million, would generate $10.8 million in local sales of goods and services, $250,000 in sales tax revenue and $6.4 million in local labor income.

Also essential to the program is representation by Los Angeles-based entertainment attorney Carolyn Hunt, a partner with Barnes and Thornburg, LLP, who helps oversee contracts for grant funding, while representing the Columbus Film Commission in negotiating its equity position in productions it supports. 

The main goal of attending this festival is to identify film prospects for Columbus as a film destination to include the services of the Commission. The Film Fund and partnerships showcased during this year's Film Festival elevate the city to the next level in the film and entertainment industry.