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April 30 - Roots Up Gallery Celebrates Fifth Anniversary With A Special Show By Local Artist, Helen Durant

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report 

April 30, 2019 - May 1 marks the fifth anniversary of Roots Up Gallery representing 25 local Savannah artists and 50 regional and southern self-taught folk artists. Together these unique artists collectively share a world of soulful art that is borne from within.

This anniversary also celebrates the resiliency of the gallery. For the past five years Roots Up Gallery has captured the personal journey of gallery owner Leslie Lovell and late husband, Francis Allen. It has been filled with the highest of highs in 2014; getting married and together opening the gallery, to the lowest of lows; having Francis endure a three-year illness only to lose in the end. “During this time the gallery became my personal anchor,” says Lovell, “it was full of balance, hope and growth. Francis and I could still work on concepts and ideas and I would implement them.” As the end came on August 30, 2018 for Francis, so did the plight of the then gallery space. But what Lovell construes as ‘Divine Intervention’ is the current space presented itself in the Downtown Design District and the gallery moved and reopened on September 27, 2018. “As Francis was always my pillar of strength and support, it was as if the new space was a parting gift which filled me with a focus that consumed and helped me to move forward,” says Lovell.

“To honor this journey” Lovell says “I could not feel any more connected in celebrating the gallery’s fifth anniversary than with this kindred spirit show of In The Moment by friend and local artist, Helen Durant. This body of work is filled with drawings, paintings and mixed media capturing the moment.

“I’m so drawn to Helen’s work, it's like she releases herself in each piece which delivers such depth and emotion.” says Lovell, “There is nothing tiring or static in her artwork, the fluid strokes creates a conversation that is ongoing."

The pieces from In The Moment are just that. They are so entrenched with daily moments that are filed with marks expressing Helen’s voice from within. “It was just before the holidays,” says Durant, “which leaves us all more exposed to emotions. From the moment I woke up I was led by the paint and charcoal to release my feelings from the heart. There is no conscience message, it’s in the moment and the purest form of my art. It invites the audience to experience and bring their feelings and interpretations in the moment.”

Durant is informally trained honing her skills recording life through drawing. She has been experimenting with paint, torn paper, graphite, and found objects for most of her career. She found her voice in the ability to capture a fleeting moment expressing with gestures, energies and spirits of animals and people surrounding her.

Over the past few decades, Durant has exhibited widely in the United States. Her work can be seen in many public, corporate, and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. Her varied bodies of work are represented in Jackson Hole by Diehl Gallery, in Atlanta by Thomas Deans Fine Art, and in Savannah by Roots Up Gallery.

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Dec. 20 - Entertainment Production industry generates $120.1 million in direct spend in Savannah region in 2018

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

December 20, 2018 - The Savannah Area Film Office announced that in 2018, the entertainment production industry generated $120.1 million in direct spend leading to a staggering $253.6 million economic impact for the region. In 2017, the direct economic spend was $65 million with an economic impact of $137.9 million.

“We set out five years ago to grow the film and television production industry and further diversify the regional economy. With the support of the SEDA board and engagement of so many key community partners pulling in the same direction, we have seen incredible growth,” said Trip Tollison, President and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority. “The numbers we report today are not an accident but the result of a well-executed strategy. I am very proud of the team at SEDA who have been involved since day one, Brynn Grant and Ralph Singleton in particular, as well as the film office executive director Beth Nelson and her team Katie Schuck, Catalina Alcaraz-Guzman and Andy Young who are the best in the business. We still have ground to cover, but this kind of progress is worth celebrating.” 

Executive Director of the Savannah Area Film Office Beth Nelson said, “Over the past several years through marketing and direct day to day contact with the industry we have been able to increase the awareness of all Savannah has to offer for tv series, feature films, commercials and more.”

“This would not be possible without the quality product we have in the region from the historic district to Tybee Island to the other smaller towns and neighborhoods, along with the invaluable cooperation we receive from residents who recognize that these productions mean good jobs and a better economy for all,” Nelson added. “We would be remiss if we didn’t thank our partners including the City of Savannah and Chatham County for helping provide a nearly seamless experience when productions are here on location.Those professionals are always doing their best to make sure they protect the interests of citizens while working to make every production successful. None of this progress would be possible without them.” 

From 2010-2014 the entertainment production direct spend was a combined $58 million, 2015 -  $59 million, 2016 - $61 million and in $2017 - $65 million.

In 2018, 208 professional productions and 147 student productions were filmed with one of the biggest productions to date being Gemini Man directed by Academy Award winner Ang Lee and starring Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong.

Savannah also landed Disney’s Lady and The Tramp; the Hulu anthology, The Act starring Patricia Arquette, Chloë Sevigny and Joey King as well as Pop TV’s new comedy series Florida Girls.

In September, the SEDA Board of Directors voted unanimously to extend the Savannah Entertainment Production Incentives for three more years. These incentives are in addition to the tax credit the state of Georgia offers. 

“The Savannah Entertainment Production Incentives combined with the state of Georgia’s tax credit program, have significantly raised Savannah’s profile as a desired location for entertainment production,” said Tollison. “The renewal of the incentives for the next three years helps solidify the industry for our region.”

Nelson said, “The incentives, our diversity of locations, the efficiency of the film office and our partners are keys to this success, but we still have work to do. In 2019, we still need adequate soundstage space for productions and we are actively looking to secure a direct flight from Los Angeles to Savannah.”

The Savannah Area Film Office also announced that their name would be changing January 1 to the Savannah Regional Film Commission. The name change is in line with the national industry standard as outlined by the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI).

“Film Commission is an internationally recognized known and standardized name for film offices,” said Nelson. “It is the term producers, studio executives, location managers and other industry professionals use when referring to a local film office. Changing the name to the Savannah Regional Film Commission is much more effective for industry communication.”

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Sept. 14 – Disney Requiring Additional Roads Closed Starting Sunday for Movie Filming

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

September 14, 2018 - More roads will be closed starting on Sunday to accommodate movie filming in downtown Savannah, according to City of Savannah officials.

In Johnson Square, some roads will be closed completely September 16-18  (Sunday-Tuesday) from 7:00 p.m. to 7 p.m., others will be closed intermittently for 2-3 minutes at a time.

Bryan Street between Whitaker and Drayton streets will be CLOSED

Northbound Bull Street will be CLOSED between Bryan and Congress streets

Southbound Bull Street will be CLOSED between Bryan and Bay streets

Intermittent road closures will occur on Bay Lane, St. Julian Street, Congress Street, Whitaker Street, Bull Street and Drayton Street in the area around Johnson Square.  These closures will not effect Bay Street or Broughton Street traffic.

The Abercorn Ramp will be CLOSED from Bay Street to Lower Factors Walk from September 16-19 (Sunday-Wednesday) all day and night. Intermittent closures will occur on Drayton Ramp from Bay Street to River Street.   Pedestrian traffic will be impacted intermittently on Drayton Ramp, Abercorn Ramp, Upper and Lower Factors Walk, and the Bay Street sidewalk.

East 31st Street between Abercorn Street and Lincoln Street will REMAIN closed through Friday, September 14 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Other roads in that immediate area will be closed intermittently through Friday for 2-3 minutes at time:

·       Northbound of Lincoln Street after 32nd Street intersection.

·       Northbound/Southbound of Habersham Street at East 31st Street intersection.

·       Northbound/Southbound of Abercorn Street at East 31st Street intersection.

All residents and businesses in the area were notified by letter in early August and again earlier this month about the closures.

For a list of all the filming road closures visit

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Oct. 1 - SCAD Announces Honorees for 21st Annual Savannah Film Festival

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

October 1, 2018 - The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) recently announced the 2018 honorees to be recognized at the 21st annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival, taking place Oct. 27-Nov. 3. Now the largest university-run film festival in the country, the annual tribute to excellence in film has screened over 110 Oscar-nominated films and honored over 80 legendary actors, directors, producers, writers and filmmakers from around the world.

This year, SCAD will honor Hugh Jackman with the Legend of Cinema Award, Emily Blunt with the Icon Award, Maggie Gyllenhaal with the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Award for Acting and Producing, Armie Hammer with the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Award, Stephan James and KiKi Layne with the Discovery Award, John Krasinski with the Vanguard Award, Shailene Woodley with the Spotlight Award and Amandla Stenberg with the Rising Star Award. Additional honorees and programming will be announced at a later date.

The festival has become a distinguished stop on the road to the Oscars: hosting exclusive screenings, competition films, feature films, documentaries, shorts, animated films, panel discussions, and workshops at SCAD's historic theaters and industry leading studios. SCAD has a top-ranked film and TV program with more than 75 SCAD alumni working on 2018 Academy Award films.

Tickets and passes are available for purchase online at, by telephone at 912.525.5050, or in person at the Trustees Theater, located at 216 E. Broughton St., Savannah.

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Sept. 5 - Television Casting Call in Savannah for "Closet Raiders - The Fashion Game Show" Contestants on Sept. 22

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

September 5, 2018 - CLOSET RAIDERS – The Fashion Game Show, is looking for twelve outgoing Savannah locals, with distinct personal style and well-versed in fashion, to compete in a fun fashion game show before a live studio audience. Contestants will be tested on their fashion knowledge and style, and could win a closet full of designer clothes and prizes. 

The casting call will be held on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. at The Marshall House. 

Casting by appointment only. Please email your name, address and phone number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

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