Do you know what Charlton Heston, Chris Rock, Julia Roberts, Tim Allen and Richard Gere all have in common with Carroll County? The answer is film and movie production in our county.

When one thinks of film production, the thoughts of places like studio sets and productions in Hollywood or Atlanta come to mind. The latter has become a powerhouse of productions, with 39 productions including television and movies this September alone.

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In 2008 the State of Georgia signed into law a state tax credit giving productions up to a 30 percent tax break by filming in Georgia. The incentive was significant enough to cause a major transfer of productions from Hollywood to Georgia. Productions in Georgia include “The Walking Dead,” which is filmed in the small town of Senoia, with a population of 4,213. Additional large productions in Georgia have included “The Hunger Games,” “Avengers: Endgame” and the Netflix series “Ozark.”

Locally, Carroll has previously been utilized in scenes for Allen’s “For Richer or Poorer,” “Runaway Bride” starring Gere and Roberts, and “Head of State” starring Rock. While the last major film produced in Carroll was during the early 2000s, the county has also been home to several independent films filmed in the county, including a film on the rock band The Doors in Westminster in 2013.

Also, Carroll County native Brian Levin, an independent filmmaker who has a career in the entertainment industry, returned to Maryland in 2018 to produce a film in the Union Bridge area. The county has also been home to some commercial productions, including an AARP commercial that was filmed on the streets of downtown Westminster in 2018 across from the library.

Carroll County has a great deal to offer any and all productions and could make the most out of potential opportunities; when a production is looking for a home they should look to Carroll. A portion of the crew from the Netflix series “House of Cards” reside here. Trained crew and location individuals bring a potential benefit to our county both in a trained workforce in the industry and potential jobs in the area. Our county not only offers a workforce that could keep these jobs in Carroll, but the county also offers a strong presence of safety for productions and solid access to highways and other required infrastructure needed.

While all of these details make our county great place for possible productions, we also offer more. Carroll County offers diverse locations ranging from picturesque farms and open land to historic properties to downtown locations; we offer an exceptional range for potential production uses.

The State of Maryland offers a limited tax credit program for productions as well as an experienced and enthusiastic crew members based in Carroll County and also in our neighboring areas. Currently, the Carroll County Department of Economic Development works with the Maryland Film Office regarding productions. In several surrounding counties including Frederick, they have organized film offices to help secure and assist feature films, independent films and commercial productions in their areas.

Productions, whether commercials, independent films, or large features, help our local economy. While jobs are the obvious outcome, productions add a larger benefit to the local economy. This includes purchasing products such as gas for transportation vehicles, food, electricity and building materials, as well as location rentals for shoots and more. Also, larger-scale productions with celebrities bring in the public and can add revenue to local tourism.

Perhaps it might be time to look at this largely untapped area as an economic benefit to our community at large. Lights, camera, Carroll County!

Tom Gordon writes from Westminster. He writes every other Saturday. Email him at tgordonwrites@gmail.com.

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