Tuesday, June 13, 2006

About that film company eyeing Memphis...

Nobody in the negotiations are so much as hinting which "large film company" is looking to establish a presence in Memphis (see item below). The Regional Chamber cites privacy and confidentiality during the decision-making process. Memphis Music Foundation president Rey Flemings won't say who it is or when it's expected to happen.

So what is one to do but speculate?

One thing the area could sure use is a dedicated sound stage. And enough equipment so that we wouldn't need to keep trucking it in when major projects locate here. It would also be very good indeed to have some programming originate from around here. I hear the hallelujahs from you brethren, I surely do.

Now we're not privy to the deal-making, so all we can go on is a little history. Last year, you'll remember Craig Brewer's "Black Snake Moan" got a deal to use The Pyramid as a soundstage, a deal that involved the city and county and the Memphis and Shelby County Film and Television Commission.

Back in August, John Beifuss of The Commercial Appeal reported on the arrangement. Included in his story was this:
"We're trying to build a film community in Memphis, so this act of generosity by the city, the county and the Film Commission hopefully will be repaid many times by the films we make here and the filmmakers we attract here by our example," Stephanie Allain - producer of "Black Snake Moan" and "Hustle & Flow" - said ... "We want to shed light on Memphis as a place to work and create, and share that with the world."

Allain and Brewer recently formalized their partnership by forming a new company, Southern Cross the Dog, which has entered into a two-year deal to develop projects for Paramount.

Named for a line in W.C. Handy's "Yellow Dog Blues" that refers to the Mississippi crossing of the Southern and Yazoo railways, Southern Cross the Dog hopes to develop an extensive slate of local projects, including a television series set in Memphis, Brewer said. The company will maintain offices in Memphis and Los Angeles.

... Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton said the deal can only benefit The Pyramid, which has been underutilized since [the] opening of FedExForum.

Wharton said the glamor of a film production could attract other investors to The Pyramid, which is owned equally by the city and county. Asked about its future as a soundstage, he said: "I would love to see it as Paramount East."

The Pyramid also offers offices, dressing rooms and catering facilities.
Now, there aren't that many "large film companies," and the connections here to Paramount are certainly strong. Southern Cross the Dog has supposedly moved into new offices on South Main. And if the intentions of the movers and shakers last year are still in place, then Paramount just might be the one. That's just based on some history. Maybe it's Disney or Universal. But if past is prologue ...


Brassmask said...

My friends and I have always said that the Pyramid would be perfect as a studio.

I don't know what the city is thinking.

Anonymous said...

We can always make movies about the Buck and Bass Pyramid. I hear they're going to have NASCAR play on the trinitron! But how about the empty Coliseum?

Brassmask said...

Well, whoo E.

I haven't been there in some time but I'm betting the Coliseum is on the verge of collapse.

And being of the paranoid type, I'd be willing to be there are certain factions in local government who want it to fall down.

Consider that there was the fire there last year that burned the beloved building that housed the flea market and such for years and then there was the less than publicized effort to sell Libertyland which was only halted by some terrific stalwarts one of which was Michael McCarthy.

Methinks there are millions to be made in the development of the fairgrounds land and someone to move things along.

But these is, of course, no proof.