Assembly Atlanta film studio slated to begin operations by end of the summer

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - One year after construction began at the Assembly Atlanta film studio, people can now start seeing the magic of the movies come to life.

People who travel I-285 through Doraville may catch a glimpse of New York City, or New Orleans, or even somewhere in Europe.

Facades of these faux cities have been built, as the first phase of Assembly Atlanta nears completion.

“Later this summer, our gates are going to be open,” says Justin Campbell, Vice President of Studio Operations. “We’re going to have cameras rolling and be creating content.”

Assembly Atlanta is owned by Atlanta New First’s parent company Gray Television. Campbell took us on a tour of the developments that have taken place since we saw the site last summer.

“They’re not like backlots, like what you might find in LA. It’s not plywood and veneer,” Campbell explains, as we ride past the wrought iron balconies of New Orleans and the fire escapes of Tribeca. “We are shooting in high definition now. In order to look real, it’s got to be real.”

Inside are actual offices and dressing rooms.

They also have an efficient use for stormwater drainage.

“All of the water is going to be filtered and maintained at a three-foot level depth, so you can shoot in it,” he explains, pointing out the location. “Jaws was filmed in two feet of water, we will have three here.”

Assembly Atlanta is working with a million square feet, transforming the site of the old General Motors plant to include 19 sound stages.

“In the next two to four weeks, we will be in discussions with some major studio players to come in and actually start filling the space,” says Campbell.

He says Assembly Atlanta will be able to accommodate everything from feature films, to television shows, as well as commercials or music videos.

There will also be buildings on site for props, special effects teams, and painters to keep all aspects of production in one area.

“We will see upwards of 4,000 jobs here,” Campbell says. “Full-time employment, as well as contract workers and freelance film workers.”

Brennen Dicker, Executive Director of Georgia State’s Creative Media Industries Institute talks about the impact:

“There’s a confidence in our state to say, hey, we’ve had this incentive here the last 15 years. We’ve had this growth, and I think to see Assembly come online and be able to grow that market is amazing. I think we are going to see more films come into the state because of that,” he says.

All of the work at Assembly Atlanta is not just for the silver screen. It will be open to the public too, including a park. The next phase will include more entertainment space.

“That’s the peek behind the curtain that kind of makes the space unique,” notes Campbell.

Regarding the writer strike, Campbell says it has not affected their work, adding: “I’m hopeful those guilds come to a reasonable agreement before we get open. They’re well aware of what we know here--Georgia is a wonderful place. It’s a premiere destination to create content.”

Karli Barnett

Karli Barnett

Karli Barnett is an anchor and reporter at Atlanta News First. You can catch Karli anchoring on Atlanta News First and Peachtree TV on Saturday and Sunday evenings and reporting nights during the week.