Business owners fed up with big-budget movie shoots

by: Diana Davis Updated:

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ATLANTA, Ga. —

It may seem glamorous, but some Atlanta business owners say they are fed up with movies shooting downtown.

They told Channel 2’s Diana Davis that the crowds and disruption are costing them money. His business is barbering, but Herb Williams says his Forsyth Street shop is suffering due to Hollywood moving in and taking over.

Williams says at least seven or eight big budget movies have been shot on his street. The camera cranes, lights and crews, he says, block traffic and keeps customers away.

Williams showed Davis video that showed a security guard stopping potential clients from walking through. Williams says that the money movie companies offer to offset disruptions is a few hundred dollars and it doesn’t begin to cover losses.

“We just turn it down because at some point it becomes an insult,” Williams said. “His attitude was take it or leave it.”

Jeweler Jay Raniga says filming has hurt his business also.

“They push you around, they will not let you walk into your shop and they are very arrogant,” he said.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed opened an Office of Entertainment last summer to act as a liaison between the film industry, local businesses and residents. There’s a 24-hour hotline to field complaints and the offices director, LaRhonda Sutton, says the city is listening to them.

“They're definitely not falling on deaf ears,” she said. “That's our sole purpose, to bridge that conversation.”

Film crews often hand out leaflets warning of filming, but the problem business owners are saying is that these production companies never stick to their promises.

“They are here much later than what the time specifies,” says Raniga.

Thanks to state tax incentives for movie production, movies filmed in Atlanta generate more than 3 billion a year. That’s not money the state or city is willing to give up, but Sutton says they do want production companies to stick to the rules.

She says, “If it’s gross negligence please call our office.”

As for compensation to business loss, Sutton says that's something the city does not handle.