By Emma Kirkemier, News Editor
Gadsden-Etowah Film Office is currently accepting pledges to get Gadsden on the big screen, holding its first mass orientation meeting on August 17.
Film office president John Brown said he is working with Hollywood liaison and producer Adam Engelhard to bring big-budget films to the area.
Engelhard, with the help of local support, has attracted industry activity in the past to cities like Columbus, Georgia.
According to Brown, Engelhard is responsible for several big-budget films being filmed in Columbus, starring the likes of John Travolta and Kristin Davis in “Cash Out” and Jaleel White, Cameron Kelly and Mena Suvari in “The Greatest Inheritance.”
He now is campaigning to bring the same caliber of star power to North Alabama.
“Columbus, Georgia has 150,000 people, and you’ve got a bunch of fortune-500 companies, about two or three, so it was understandable that he could pull it off there,” Brown said. “But here, we’re going to give it a shot.”
Brown said the needed funds are a bottom-line sum of $750,000.
“With that money, [Engelhard] can assure us — just like Columbus — that we can get three big-budget films made in Gadsden/Etowah County about every two years,” Brown said.
If Brown and Engelhard raise the target amount of money, the latter will head to California to search for opportunities to shoot here in Gadsden.
“We’re already reaching out to individuals and companies here in Gadsden to tell them,” Brown said. “I’m selling them my mission and his mission through us.”
The film office will hold a “mass orientation session” on Wednesday, August 17 at Back Forty, located at 200 North 6th Street. The meeting, led by Engelhard, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“He’s going to present his vision and the financial intricacies of how people can make that pledge … how he takes that and goes out to California and brings back the industry here to Alabama, to Gadsden,” Brown said.
Brown explained that there is “no risk” in writing a pledge because if the funding goal is not reached by September, “that pledge just becomes invalid.”
Pledges come with tax benefits, Brown said, allowing businesses and individuals to “donate tax write-offs to Mailroom Productions,” Engelhard’s business.
“I mean, we’re always going to have a presence in Montgomery,” Brown said. “They know that we’re interested in what we’re doing. But with this, with Adam Engelhard and Mailroom, there’s a certainty.”
Brown encouraged interested community members to attend the upcoming orientation session or call (256)557-1146 for more information. Engelhard is also accepting pledges and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at (770)883-6774.