Athens’ first film studio to bring opportunities for students and businesses

ATHENS, Ga. — The Hollywood of the South is now expanding into a new part of Georgia. Construction crews just broke ground on the first film studio in Athens.

Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon found out up that until now, there had not been much filming in Athens, and that was a big problem for the University of Georgia’s film school.

That problem is now being solved. The new studio will help film students learn in a whole new way.

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James Hamilton, the head of UGA’s film school, is excited the new studio under construction is just down the road.

“It’s such a great opportunity for our students,” Hamilton said. “I can’t find any other program in the country that has this kind of access that we’re going to have.”

Crews just broke ground on Athena Studios just east of Athens, the first film studio in Clarke County.

Hamilton, the head of Entertainment and Media Studies at UGA, says the school will partner with the studio to expose students to more real-world film experience.

“I’m hoping to bring some of my other courses up there so they can observe and watch the films and sets and how the shoot takes place and will be really exciting for them too,” Hamilton said.

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When the studio is complete, it will cover 45 acres and have 350 thousand square feet of studio space.

Wilfon also spoke on the phone with the real estate developer behind the project, Joel Harber.

“I just felt like it made sense to try and bring the industry to town,” Harber said.

He told Wilfon that the studio will mean big things for the Athens economy by attracting jobs and film productions the city could only dream of before.

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“The demand for purpose built studio space and sound stages in Georgia is off the charts. There’s not enough of this stuff out there,” Harber said.

He hopes to build the studio quickly and have the first phase complete just one year from now.

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