By Carol Badaracco Padgett, Senior Editor
“We all get to the peak together, or we don’t get there at all.”
It’s a pivotal line spoken by Kevin Costner’s character, Al Harrison, in 2016 film Hidden Figures, a historical drama about the behind-the-scenes contributions of three Black women working for NASA in the era of the Space Race.
Hidden Figures was shot in Columbus, Georgia among other places, where the famous line could be a rallying cry for Georgia Entertainment’s Oct. 5, 2023 gathering to be held at Bibb Mill nestled on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. (RSVP)
The event, in partnership with Film Columbus GA and presented in part by Valley Hospitality Group, will combine the Georgia Unscripted roadshow’s educational and informational state-of-the-industry offering with Georgia Entertainment’s signature 100 affair, which focuses heavily on high level networking. Columbus will play host to educators, entertainment executives and lawmakers focused on helping the state’s creative economy rise to even greater heights.
Columbus is the second most populous city in Georgia, supporting nearly 200,000 residents. In addition to world-class amenities, Columbus breeds film locations such as a spectacular stretch of the Chattahoochee River that flows along a bustling boardwalk area. Crawling with outdoor activity, the 15-mile RiverWalk, as it’s called, meanders alongside the world’s longest urban white water course and lends views of a dual-state zipline adventure — 12 stories above the water, in some parts — that runs between Georgia and Alabama.
Scenic Columbus is a ready-working film town, too, as well as a haven for music, gaming and esports. Some standout entertainers from the city include producer/actor/writer Wayne Brady; singer/songwriter/actor Justin Guarini; actress Chelsea Harris; and writer/director/visual artist Ash Brannon.
Joining Hidden Figures, films Need for Speed (2014), We Were Soldiers (2002), Overcomer (2019), My Brother’s Keeper (2020), and countless more have Columbus location credits.
Flat Rock Studio is within a convenient driving distance from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and is also accessible by direct private and commercial flights to Columbus Airport. The 180,000-square-foot film and television production facility includes two adaptable sound stages, workshops, a set design area, production suites, offices, and a substantial backlot with 80 gated and fenced acres on the self-contained, private campus.
Along with the support of a major film production studio, content creators who bring their work to Columbus have access to the Columbus Film Fund, an incentive grant that provides funding to compensate producers for the additional per diem, transportation and housing costs involved in bringing a film crew to the city.
Film education is at home in Columbus, as well, where Columbus State University has both a main campus in the city along with a RiverPark campus. The university’s film program, part of the Georgia Film Academy (GFA) Program that trains workers in the entertainment arts industry through in-studio teaching opportunities, offers two degree programs in film, a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a film production concentration, as well as a nexus degree in film production.
In addition, the city sports a healthy music scene, including a steady stream of nightly performances and numerous recording studios – Bibb City Sound, Deavononthebeat Studios LLC, Pro Sounds Studio and Levels Recording Studio to name a few.
Columbus State University also offers Bachelor of Arts programs in music education and performance through its Joyce and Henry Schwob School of Music, where the institution is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music.
Esports, in particular, thrives at the Columbus State University, in a program that’s spearheaded by CSU’s Office of Student Life and Development. The university’s esports teams and individual members are prominent placers in numerous games and competitions, including League of Legends and Overwatch, as well as the Peach Belt Conference Championship, an athletic conference associated with National Collegiate Athletic Association at the Division II level.
At this event in Columbus, a sought-after collection of creative visionaries, business executives, talent, educators, government officials and elected leaders will enlighten attendees on Georgia’s creative economy, its continued opportunities and growth strategies.