30 November, 2015

Savannah-area Moon River Studios Project Scaled Down

The studio name is inspired by the famed "Breakfast at Tiffany's" song by
Savannah musician Johnny Mercer.

Imagine thisMoon River Studios: the country's largest, full-service production complex built in coastal Effingham County, Georgia. Reminiscent of the dominant production companies of Hollywood's Golden Age, the mega-studio will be equipped with state of the art facilities built on a whopping 1,560 acres of land. It is quite a valiant dream, but it may remain just a dream.

Recent reports have revealed that Moon River Studios (parent company FONU2) has failed to meet the mandatory milestones stated in its original agreement with Effingham County's Industrial Development Authority (IDA). This has resulted in a revised agreement for the studio to scale back to Phase One of its master plan.

Perhaps the largest change listed in the agreement is the downsizing of the complex from 1,560 acres down to 51 acres. Despite the reduced space, Jake Shapiro, Board Chairman of FONU2, claims the complex will still be able to host ten stagesenough to support about twenty feature films a year. The new deal also requires Moon River to invest at least $10 million in capital and create 250 full-time jobs within five years, Business in Savannah reports. This is down from a $300 million capital investment and 1,000 jobs that Moon River promised when it started over two years ago. 

Despite the roadblock faced by Moon River Studios, there is still a upside for Savannah's film industry. Recent reports announce that Savannah has passed additional tax incentives to draw more film production in the area. Even if Moon River Studios isn't as massive as originally planned, if it gets built, it will be one of two major studios in the area (the other being SCAD's Savannah Film Studios). Either way, it will be very interesting to see the impact Moon River Studios makes on the #GAfilm industry when (and if) it is completed.

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