Rural Community Enjoys Economic Impact of ‘The Circus’


Sometimes the economic impact of TV and film productions on small towns doesn’t seem as dramatic as it might in, say, Atlanta, with all its blockbusters.


But that doesn’t mean it’s not felt just as powerfully, all things considered.


“The proportionate gain to small and rural communities is huge,” said Ron Carden owner of Java Jolt in Warrenton, a town of about 2,000 people located 100 miles east of Atlanta.


Makers of “The Hill” starring Dennis Quaid made over downtown Warrenton for a week, turning Carden’s café became a 1960s TV store, for example.


“We got a lot of business from the movie people,” Carden said of businesses including hotels and restaurants. “Maybe a 20 percent bump” that week.


And producers made a generous donation to the restoration of the Knox Theater, as well, he said.

Warren County has been a shooting spot for 40 films in the area in recent years, said Tammy Carden of Film Warren County. Most have been small or low-budget films spending a few hundred dollars.


“The Hill” is the biggest-budgeted production yet, and the community has three more movies on tap before summer, she said.


“‘The Hill’ had a larger impact,” Tammy Carden says. “Not only did it utilize the locations and the stores, but it also employed local law enforcement and first responders. The locals enjoyed watching ‘the circus come to town.’”


She estimated that the production spent several thousand dollars while there. And a new café, Take 2, was built specifically to work with production teams.


“The locals get to enjoy it as a side benefit,” she said.


Tammy Carden helps producers find locations. She’s been involved for more than six years.


“We now have two independent movie production companies, a prop and equipment house featuring an authorized Red Camera dealer, a script writer in residence, and my office on Main Street,” she said. “These buildings were empty. Now the city has business licenses and taxes coming in, along with the potential economic impact that each film brings.”


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