MovieMaker.com names Asheville “Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2014”
It’s MovieMaker’s 2014 edition of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker! We’re counting down through our Top 10 Big Cities, Top 5 Small Cities, and Top 5 Towns—releasing one location a day for the entire month of January. The full list, published in MovieMaker‘s Winter 2014 issue, is on newsstands now.
Unlike previous years where locations were pitted against each other in a single pool, this year we separated the list into three distinct categories: Big Cities (pop. 500,000 and up), Small Cities (pop. 100,000 to 500,000), and Towns (pop. 100,000 and under). After months of research, interviews, and mathematical formulas, we boiled the rankings down to the essential elements. All locations were rated according to six criteria: Film Production in 2013 (shooting days, number of productions, dollars generated), Film Community and Culture (film schools, festivals, independent theaters, film organizations), Access to Equipment and Facilities, Tax Incentives, Cost of Living, and a General category that included lifestyle, weather, and transportation. Did your place of choice make the list? If not, maybe you should choose again if you’re serious about rooting yourself in a location that’s conducive to your career and life goals – or drop us a comment proposing a place we overlooked this year!
#1. Asheville, NC
Voted the most beautiful place in the United States by Good Morning, America, Asheville sets the gold standard for best small town moviemaking. From the Pisgah National Forest to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Art Deco downtown to the Biltmore Estate, it has a vibrant history with productions like Last of the Mohicans, The Green Mile, The Hunt for Red October, The Hunger Games—and who could ever forget the Dirty Dancing lift scene from Lake Lure?
With nearly a dozen local film festivals (including the Chuck Norris-inspired ActionFest), community support from the Asheville Cinema Society, the Asheville Film Society, Asheville Area Arts Council, Screen Artists Co-op, and Western North Carolina Film Commission, the town is chock full of pre- and post- production facilities and some of the friendliest crew around. “The Hunger Games would not have been possible without all of the support from the local community and WNC Film Commission,” said director Gary Ross.
It’s known by many names: the Paris of the South, the San Francisco of the East, or simply Beer City USA. You might also make the trek to Asheville for another reason: the generous North Carolina tax credit (25 percent for projects of $250,000 or more with a per project cap of $20 million). As an added bonus, state-owned property can be used fee-free.
“We’re tremendously proud of Asheville,” said Amanda Baranski, Director of the Western North Carolina Film Commission, “The region has a heritage of hard work and innovation. There’s a strong work ethic and sense of collaboration that helps get the job done.”
— Contributed by Toni Sherwood