New Year, New Us!
In addition to our new Executive Director, Erin Fraser - our team is excited to announce the promotions of Katie Schuck to Assistant Director, and Renée Leventis to Manager of Operations for the Savannah Regional Film Commission! These title changes better reflect the work that these ladies do for our office, and we're excited to see them thrive in these roles! Read More
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Today, the Savannah Regional Film Commission announced that in 2022 the entertainment production industry generated nearly $207 million in direct spend in the Savannah region.
The record spend can be attributed to 101 professional productions and 44 student productions. Savannah hosted three major network television series in 2022, including the Apple TBV series Manhunt, the AMC show Fear the Walking Dead and Panhandle, a Sony production for Spectrum and Roku. Also, several independent feature films shot in the region as well as numerous reality shows, documentaries, commercials, photo shoots and music videos.
“In 2015, the entertainment production industry generated a direct spend of $59 million and today we are announcing a record breaking nearly $207 million direct spend,” said Trip Tollison, President and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority. “It is really staggering the amount of dollars that are coming into our region related to entertainment production. The state of Georgia, our local governments, our partners and the community have all played a role in growing the industry in our region.”
Also today MovieMaker magazine announced its “Best 10 Small Cities and Towns to Live and Work as a Moviemaker” ranking with Savannah coming in at number three. Savannah has been in the top three for the past nine years, taking the number one spot in 2020, 2019, 2017 and 2016.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The Savannah Regional Film Commission (SRFC), an AFCI certified Film Commission, announced today that Erin Fraser has been named the new SRFC Executive Director. She will begin in the position on January 3, 2023.
“We are excited to have Erin Fraser join us as the new Savannah Regional Film Commission Executive Director. She is a seasoned veteran whose experience and connections will be beneficial in leading the Savannah Regional Film Commission and grow the entertainment production industry in our region,” said Savannah Economic Development Authority President and CEO Trip Tollison.
Fraser got her start in entertainment production as a senior assistant to Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels where she helped in the development and launch of Conan O’Brien’s Late Night as well as working on Wayne’s World 2, Tommy Boy and Black Sheep.
Fraser was then tapped as a producer for Broadway Video, Michael’s production company, serving as associate producer on A Night at the Roxbury, co-producer on Superstar and executive producer on The Ladies’ Man.
She also worked as a staff writer for Saturday Night Live as well as an associate producer and talent executive for Burly Bear Network, where she was responsible for developing talent and producing original programming.
Most recently, Fraser produced the feature Rushed working with writer and lead Siobhan Fallon-Hogan. The psychological thriller was released in summer 2021 in both theaters and streaming in collaboration with Lars von Triers’ Zentropa Entertainment. Also in 2021, she wrapped filming for Shelter in Solitude where she served as producer. The drama is being considered for festival appearances in advance of its theatrical release.
“I am excited to join SEDA at such a pivotal time in the recognition and growth of the Savannah region as a leading destination for both film and business interests. The demographics, business friendly environment and high standard of living in the Savannah area will drive continued growth in the years to come. I’m looking forward to leveraging my experience to help the team continue the great work to date,” said Fraser.
The Savannah Regional Film Commission is responsible for overseeing the marketing and selling of the Savannah region to the film and television industry. In 2021, the entertainment production industry had a direct spend of $114 million with 88 professional production and 39 student productions including The Girl from Plainville, The Menu and the soon to be released Devotion.
A part of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, the SRFC was the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Film Commission by the Location Mangers Guild International for their work on The Underground Railroad, an Amazon television series based on the book by Colson Whitehead. Additionally, Savannah was named the number two “Best Small Cities and Towns to Live and Work as a Moviemaker” in MovieMaker magazine’s annual ranking. Savannah has consistently been ranked in the top four since 2015, taking the #1 spot in 2020, 2019, 2017, and 2016.
Beth Nelson, who has served as Executive Director for the past seven years and spearheaded the phenomenal growth of the entertainment production industry in the Savannah region, is ready for the next challenge in her career.
“I am very proud to have served as the founding executive director of the Savannah Regional Film Commission,” said Nelson. “It has been a privilege to do my part to move the Savannah film and television industry to the next level and experience the huge success of the last few years. I am very appreciative of SEDA’s vision and support as we took on the challenge of creating the film commission from the ground up. We have achieved the goals that we set out to accomplish and I feel the SRFC can continue with new leadership as I embark on another challenge. Growing the film and television production industry in Savannah has been my passion for many years, and that will continue as I serve the industry in a different capacity. I will continue to work closely with the SRFC office in a supportive way as I move on to other opportunities in the industry.”
Savannah Economic Development Authority President and CEO Trip Tollison praised Beth’s work in growing the industry.
“Beth Nelson is a great advocate for the entertainment production industry in the Savannah region. She has worked tirelessly to sell and market our region to the world, grow our local crew base, establish strong relationships with our local community and most importantly made entertainment production a sustainable industry for our region, said Tollison. “We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors and thank her for her service.”
"The Menu’s creative team also brought in chef John Benhase from Savannah, Georgia, where the film was shot, to teach the kitchen staff... Benhase coached the actors—some of them were local chefs whom he knew—down to the tiniest detail and was on set to spot-check as they worked." Read More