‘The perfect versatile palate to support storytelling’: Why Virginia has become a hotspot for the film industry

8News Digital Exclusive

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — From movies like Lincoln, Harriet, Dirty Dancing and Wonder Woman 1984 to shows like Homeland and The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Virginia has drawn many major productions to film across the Commonwealth.

Virginia’s film tourism has initiated both positive job creation and growth in business for local restaurants as popular destinations for film crews and those coming to view behind-the-scenes productions.

According to studies by the Virginia Film Office, many localities have experienced a 150% growth of visitation to destinations promoted by tailored experiences from Virginia Tourism Corporation during major film productions.

Andy Edmunds, Director of the Virginia Film Office, says Virginia has a lot of scenes to offer to filmmakers.

“This really isn’t a Hollywood business anymore, it’s about a Virginia industry,” Edmunds said. “We have mountains we have beaches we have historical architecture. In Richmond, you can play Boston or New York, or New Orleans or Savannah.”

Edmunds says for every $1 of film incentives spent, $10 is returned to the Virginia Economy.

WATCH HERE: Andy Edmunds discusses the growth of Virginia’s film community

8News also caught up with Heather Waters, the founder of Richmond International Film Festival, who says that while Virginia offers tax incentives to filmmakers that attract out-of-state productions — local filmmakers still should be put in the spotlight, too.

“They are emerging and have a voice that needs to be heard. It’s part of what keeps me inspired to keep working, to see people hungry,” Waters said. “To be a platform to shine a light on creatives, all creatives.”

Creatives like Andrew Carnwath, who became a production designer after graduating from VCU.

“It’s weird … it’s like at no point could I imagine what else I would do other than what I am doing right now,” Carnwath said.

WATCH HERE: Andrew Carnwath talks about Tilt Creative + Production’s ‘Magic Shed’

For other self-funded film producers like A Fresh Perspective, festivals like the Richmond International Film Festival give them an opportunity to put their productions in the eyes of a theater audience.

“We have the perfect versatile pallate to support storytelling, the sky is the limit for us.”

Andy Edmunds

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