In 2021, Cherokee County had another record-breaking year of filming. Of 183 film inquiries, 53 projects were filmed in Cherokee, demonstrating the county’s ability to make projects a reality.
When Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) Film Project Manager Molly Mercer answered a call from the Georgia Film Office in early 2021, film location specialist Mary Ann Lamonica was seeking a contact for a mansion in Ball Ground, for a film team that was considering coming to Georgia.
Two months later, the team, which had established a production office in Georgia, was seeking permits for road closures, a base camp location, crew parking, an open field and use of the beautiful home in Ball Ground.
The project was the pilot episode of ABC’s generation-spanning drama “Promised Land” — the epic series that follows two Latino families pursuing power in California’s wine country. The house they sought belonged to Ball Ground native Billy Hasty, whose home would stand in as the family’s sprawling estate, overlooking an expansive vineyard.
Years ago, Hasty listed his home on Georgia’s camera-ready property database, Reel Scout. “I thought, ‘If my home can help the county bring more film teams here, then, sure, I’m happy to list it,’” Hasty recalled. “And, now, they’ve come. It wasn’t just me who benefitted — a neighbor of mine received compensation that he plans to use toward his child’s education. A lot of people were positively impacted.”
Though Hasty’s property was the most prominently used location in Cherokee, a driving scene was filmed on Howell Bridge Road, and a flashback scene was shot in a nearby field.
One scene filmed at the Ball Ground estate involved guests gathering poolside for an elegant anniversary party. Hasty, who was asked to be a party guest in the scene, was given a behind-the-scenes look at this dynamic team at work.
“I’ve lived here all my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we would have so many movies filming in our area, let alone in my own home,” he said.
Hosting productions is an opportunity to demonstrate Georgia’s trademark hospitality. One film professional shared her gratitude that officials, both local and statewide, had accommodated their requests, making their filming run more smoothly.
Recalling this conversation, Hasty said, “COED, our commissioners and our leadership have worked together to bring opportunities like this to our community. It says a lot for the commitment they have to building these relationships.”
To host filming at your home or property, visit the cherokeega.org film page, and scroll down to list your property. It could take years or just minutes, but you may have the next property needed for Georgia’s thriving film industry.
To watch the first episodes of “Promised Land,” visit abc.com.
– The Cherokee Office of Economic Development is the leading organization for business and film recruitment and industry retention and expansion. www.cherokeega.org.