State News

April 13, 2014

Old paper mill popular among filmmakers

Large piles of concrete, twisted metal and other debris at the old Gilman Paper Co. site in St. Marys may be an eyesore to some people, but the vacant industrial site is a thing of beauty to filmmakers.

“There’s a million different looks out there,” said Doug Vaught, chair of the Coastal Georgia Film Alliance. “You could shoot forever out there if you’re looking for destruction next to beauty.”

A full-length movie, “Eye of the Hurricane,” and five short films have featured the paper mill in some of its scenes. Vaught said the mill site was even the inspiration for a short movie, “The Preserve.”

Now, a graduate student from the Savannah College of Art and Design and some of her classmates have been busy building props for the latest movie that will be filmed at the mill site.

Lindsey McKelvy wrote the screenplay for the original short film, “Radioactive,” which will begin filming this weekend at the mill site and Bocks Board Co. in St. Marys.

“The Coastal Georgia Film Alliance has been our connoisseurs for finding locations and helping us with the project,” McKelvy said. “They were the ones to first show us the old paper mill site, which we instantly fell in love with. They have also been helping us work with the Bocks Board Co. in order to use that space as well for parts of the film.”

McKelvy said her professor, Jesse Wolfe, who directed “Eye of the Hurricane,” suggested contacting the film alliance for help finding locations for her movie.

Vaught said the film alliance helped provide some of the materials the SCAD students will use to make props for the movie sets.

McKelvy said the movie project is for her senior thesis, but it will be entered in festivals after completion.

“The film alliance has been greatly helpful in this endeavor, even helping us with hotel rates for the weekend,” she said. “They are possibly the nicest and most helpful people I have ever encountered.”

Filming in St. Marys is scheduled for completion April 19.

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