John Latenser, a Locations Manager, on How the Savannah Film Office Helped Him

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Editor’s Note: Below is a letter received from a location manager about working with the Savannah Film Office. We thought you would enjoy it.

“Everyone knows how beautiful Savannah is, but there’s something else wonderful about Savannah: The Savannah Area Film Office. It is one of my all time favorites. As a seasoned location manager in the film industry with more than 25 years experience, I have had the opportunity to film 30 of our 50 states. I have worked with film commissions across the country and around the world. The Savannah Area Film Office is among the very best when it comes to film commissions.

What makes the film office special is the fact that everyone working there has actual experience in filmmaking and everyone understands the needs of a film production company as well as how things work in our business. With only four people on their staff, the Savannah Area Film Office does more than other film offices that have more than 20 staff members! Plus, it gives that personal attention that makes us filmmakers feel like they really care about our production as well as your community. That is what makes the difference between choosing to make one’s movie in Savannah or filming it elsewhere.

Last year, when we were making the Hugh Jackman movie The Front Runner (which will be in theaters later this year), the Savannah Area Film Office shared photos that helped put Savannah on the list of places we wanted to scout in consideration of where to make our film (none of which takes place in Georgia) and showed our director, Jason Reitman, the sites around town in person. We were under tremendous pressure to film entirely in Atlanta or maybe even base in another state, but following that scout, Mr. Reitman knew he wanted to make his movie in Georgia and could make it work here. We knew then that we would definitely be filming in Savannah.

These past two weeks, the film office has helped me put together the presentation I need to make in order to sell Savannah not only as a filming location, but also as the place to base our entire production. I am limited in what I can say about my current project, due to the fact I signed a non-disclosure agreement, but basically it’s like Savannah would be landing eight movies at once. I am really looking forward to sharing my photos of the Savannah area with our director, production designer, studio executives and others to make Savannah our home for this production. In the coming months, I expect to bring these folks and others to Savannah to start signing off on things.

I could not have done this without the help of the executive director of the film office, Beth Nelson, and her team. The City of Savannah and Chatham County are very lucky to have these folks working at Savannah Area Film Office. I sincerely hope they know that.”

John Latenser, LMGI

Location Manager

 

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