By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
In the wake of the recent films being shot in Morgan County, particularly Goosebumps in Madison and Selma in Rutledge, the city is considering adopting a new written policy to put a foundational practice in place for possible future movie and television projects filmed in the city.
David Nunn, city manager, noted that many cities have these policies to have a more uniform standard for incoming film projects to create a more “balanced” and “efficient” system to handle the process of filming in the city. Nunn presented a new Film and Video Policy to the Madison City Council on July 30 that aims to standardize the city’s fees for film shootings in Madison. The policy sets a $250 fee per day for a movie filming and $100 fee per day for a television show shooting.
However, discounts can still be considered for certain kinds of film projects. “The policy still leaves room for some discretion for student films or nonprofit project films, as long as there no direct cost to the city,” said Nunn. “It will still be different for each individual project, but this policy will streamline the process a little bit.”
Also, film studios will still have to negotiate with local businesses on how much they will compensate particular businesses during filming, since certain establishments will be more inconvenienced than others. “People with businesses in Madison are very patient and willing to cooperate,” said Nunn. “We try to schedule the filming in the most efficient way we can.” According to the written policy, “Madison and Morgan County desires to make it easier for filming in the City and surrounding county insomuch as it brings employment opportunities, tourism, hotel occupancy, and general economic development to the community.
Additionally, a specific policy will deter and limit unregulated commercial film production and similar activities from occurring within the city that would cause a public nuisance and pose a threat to public health, safety and welfare.” “We think there are more positives than any drawbacks or inconveniences from filming in the community,” said Nunn. “Our policy also encourages the film crews to use local craft. Filming on public property requires a permit from the city.
However, filming on private property only requires the permission of the owner, unless the project may affect “public health, safety and welfare,” in which case, a permit from city is also required. According to Nunn, the policy was crafted after the model of other small cities with similar film policies. If the policy is adopted, the city plans to offer it to county leadership to use as well. “We are going to offer it to Morgan County because they may wish to do something similar to this. Hopefully, it will be pretty much streamlined throughout the county,” said Nunn.