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  • Writer's pictureTeam Acacia

Industry Execs Announce First Purpose-Built, Sustainable Film Studio in Savannah, Georgia

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

KAT-5 Studios To Attract Film and Television Productions, Employ Local Talent,

Increase Tax Revenues, and Boost Tourism

SAVANNAH, GA -- With the demand for sound stage and production space skyrocketing due to production shutdowns and amidst an explosion in streamed entertainment, SAVANNAH STUDIOS LLC has announced plans for KAT-5 STUDIOS, a first of its kind, sustainable, state-of-the-art sound stage and equipment rental house complex in Savannah, Georgia. Leading the project are screenwriter and producer David L. Patersonof Arcady Bay Entertainment and producer/entertainment executive Taylor Owenby of ISP Global Capital. Joining the KAT-5 team is the architecture firm GSB Architects & Interiors, Inc. and AMA Consulting Engineers P.C. Groundbreaking plans are set for the beginning of September.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, productions were being wait-listed for soundstages in Georgia. Today, that demand has grown even higher due to related production delays. In combination with Georgia’s aggressive production tax credits and Savannah’s local production cash rebates, the construction of a full-service, state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable studio complex and rental facility will create a production hub to rival any in the United States. Design plans are specifically tailored not only to the needs of Hollywood productions but to build on Savannah’s $3 billion tourism industry. The complex will also allow for daily tours of non-active sound stages and permanent standing sets for Savannah residents and visitors.

“Film and television companies have come to Savannah for decades to capture its beauty and unique charm but the lack of first-rate production facilities has prevented the city from securing many full productions,” says Taylor Owenby. “KAT-5 Studios solves this with our environmentally focused, purpose-built studio, bringing significant revenues to the area not only in jobs created but in tourism dollars as well.”

Productions including Ant Man & The Wasp, Ford v Ferrari, Forrest Gump, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Lady and the Tramp, and Glory, and studios and streamers including Amazon and Netflix have all shot exteriors in Savannah, but have had to fulfill their soundstage needs elsewhere.

“Infrastructure is one of the most critical needs for maintaining and building a sustainable industry in Savannah,” agrees Beth Nelson, Savannah Regional Film Commission Executive Director. “The addition of a studio is a sign that the local market is moving in the right direction. We are excited to add KAT-5 to Savannah’s inventory.”

A Community-First Value System “While most studios begin by putting up a gate, KAT-5 Studios will be opening doors,” says Owenby.

KAT-5 Studios will have training programs in partnership with local schools and unions for at-risk youth and returning military to teach them skills that will lead to higher paying jobs, not only in the film industry, but in construction and trades, hospitality, office, and IT industries.

The studio’s name refers to the building’s unique design elements; the complex will be built to take a direct hit from a Category 5 hurricane. The studio is designed to serve as a staging ground for FEMA responses to state and federal declarations of emergency. KAT-5’s concrete water tank platform base can take the weight of two V-22 Ospreys or two fully-loaded H-47 Chinook helicopters, and the building can serve as a storm shelter.

“Film companies and their insurers are hesitant to shoot in the Southeast during hurricane season because of productions possibly shutting down and delays of post storm issues,” says David Paterson. “That would not be the case with KAT-5 Studios, as it is designed to operate with its own generator and water backup systems.”

KAT-5 Studios intends to be a ‘Soundstage for the 22nd Century,’ implementing multiple green initiatives including grey water reclamation, carbon reduction office policies, waste composting, and a partnership with Georgia Power that will realize a two-acre solar farm on the structure’s roof, generating 2000 clean energy kilowatts daily. And, for every tree removed during construction, two trees native to the region will be planted.

Community Support for KAT-5 Studios

“As Savannah is emerging as one of the bright centerpieces for the film industry, KAT-5 is destined as a 22nd century catalyst to help aspiring individuals and businesses be a part of the economic return from the film industry. The technology and design of this studio will be a magnetic draw for economic development in Savannah, Georgia.” State Representative Reverend Carl Gilliard (Dist 162)

Member, Georgia Film Commission

“Infrastructure is one of the most critical needs for maintaining and building a sustainable industry in Savannah. The addition of a studio is a sign that the local market is moving in the right direction. We are excited to add KAT-5 to Savannah’s inventory.” Beth Nelson, Savannah Regional Film Commission Executive Director

“As Savannah grows in popularity as a visitor destination, so goes the interest from film and television production companies from around the country. And the additional incentives and tax credits that the State of Georgia and the Savannah Economic Development Authority make our area a very attractive option. We are excited about having this new multi-dimensional sound stage coming to town and their ideas of also making it available to tours for visitors and groups that come to this area.” Joseph Marinelli, Visit Savannah President

“The addition of studio space has been an ongoing need and we are excited to see investments being made which will help attract more productions to the Savannah region. We welcome all studio production facilities to invest in the Savannah region and this is certainly a nice addition. Trip Tollison, Savannah Economic Development Authority President and CEO

“David and Taylor are from the business and know the business, IATSE Local 491 members have been patiently waiting for someone with vision to step up to the plate. Kat 5 studios will have no problem swinging for the fences and surpassing their first-year goals.” Darla D. McGlamery, I.A.T.S.E Local 491

“Georgia Power Company is pleased to hear that KAT-5 Studios is expanding into the Savannah area and we look forward to working with them to meet their renewable energy needs in Coastal Georgia.” Jason Coley, Georgia Power Company

Community and Economic Development Manager, Coastal Region

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