Business

The Government Center in a movie thriller? It could happen

The Columbus Government Center downtown, shown behind the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, is among the local buildings and land being marketed by the Convention and Visitors Bureau as possible sites for shooting movies and TV commercials, with their permission, of course. /
The Columbus Government Center downtown, shown behind the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, is among the local buildings and land being marketed by the Convention and Visitors Bureau as possible sites for shooting movies and TV commercials, with their permission, of course. / tadams@ledger-enquirer.com

Beauty, no doubt, lies in the eyes of the beholder.

That certainly looks to be the case as more and more filmmakers venture to Columbus in search of land and buildings they can use in their production of movies, commercials and music videos.

Columbus, already designated a “Camera Ready Community” by the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, is now seeking to take its Hollywood potential to the next level with the help of the Georgia Film Academy.

The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau is the contact for film crews scouting locations here, while Columbus State University is now offering on-set film production certificates to create a local workforce for handling future filming and logistics that come the city’s way.

Which leads us to a conversation Richard Baxter, dean of CSU’s College of Arts, had recently with a logistics person scouring the city for suitable locations to set up a movie camera. One of them, it seems, spotted the downtown 13-story Columbus Consolidated Government Center, which was completed in 1974.

“He said, ‘You know your city hall building? That’s going to be a tourist attraction some day when somebody comes in here and uses that in a film,’” Baxter recalled. “We all laughed and said we hate that building in the middle of the Historic District. He said, ‘No, it’s iconic. This is the type of thing a movie producer would come in here and say: I want to film in this building.’”

So, who knows? Perhaps someday the city’s nearly 50-year-old high-rise will be featured in a downsized reboot of a Bruce Willis-esque “Die Hard” movie. That suspense thriller was set in a Los Angeles skyscraper with an off-duty police officer outwitting an entire gang of ruthless terrorists.

Don’t laugh. Peter Bowden, the CVB’s president and chief executive officer, says the interest is already there, with his office escorting film scouting crews every couple of weeks throughout the city, as well as in the countryside around it. A Chevy commercial was filmed here in July, he said, with the Chattahoochee River whitewater course and Flat Rock Park among the shooting sites.

(Click here: Movie industry’s bright lights beginning to shine on Columbus area and CSU)

But Bowden realizes there will be a learning curve of sorts.

“We had one group that was looking for an alley. So we took them to a couple of places in the downtown area. Two buildings make up an alley and it’s funny what they hone in on sometimes,” said Bowden, who hasn’t ruled out a cameo himself in a future movie shoot.

The CVB gang, in fact, is compiling a list of potential site locations to shoot a film. And it’s certain to grow in the coming months as Georgia works to expand on its $6 billion film industry, which aims to offer visibility to the state and its communities, but also generate dollars and jobs for a bonafide economic impact.

And, yes, the Columbus Government Center is on a list of locations that the CVB has pictured on its website for prospective Hollywood suitors. Aside from that tower, the list includes:

▪ Downtown Columbus in general

▪ House of Mercy

▪ Holy Family Church

▪ Historic Columbus Foundation building

▪ First Presbyterian Church

▪ Goldens’ Foundry

▪ Historic Dinglewood Park

▪ Columbus Museum

▪ Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce (old train station building)

▪ Burger King on Wynnton Road

▪ Aflac tower on Wynnton Road

▪ Columbus Historic District

▪ Dinglewood Pharmacy

▪ Fountain fronting RiverCenter for the Performing Arts

▪ Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center and grounds

▪ Chattahoochee Riverwalk

▪ Whitewater course on the river

▪ 1926 home in historic neighborhood

  Comments