Chamber launches website for film scouts, tourists

COVINGTON -- Triple Horse has plans to build a motion picture studio in Covington, where customized sets can be built to suit a production. That's all in the future.

But the folks at Triple Horse are also helping promote filming locations that already exist in Newton County, by partnering with the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce to launch a website that will be a resource for filmmakers and tourists alike.

The Chamber premiered the website, www.gocovington.com, Thursday evening at Triple Horse's facility off Bob Williams Parkway.

Among the features is a dedicated portal -- accessed by clicking the "On Location" tab -- for film scouts and producers to view filming sites, that includes 360-degree panoramic views of locations, photos of production-specific angles, incentives and tax credit information, availability of existing crews in the area and production crew parking information. It even includes sun tracking data, a graph that shows the sun's path for a particular day in a particular location.

"When shooting a film, you want that golden hour, which is early in the morning or just before the sun sets," said Brian Barnard, director of post production for Triple Horse.

Step-by-step instructions for requesting a location and downloadable permit forms are also provided.

Local property owners may also register their properties for consideration to be included on the site.

"Our whole concept was just to make it one stop. You come here, we've got it all right here," said Assistant Director of Tourism Ron Carter. The tourism department at the Chamber will remain the point of contact for location scouts.

Other features of www.gocovington.com include a "Hollywood of the South" section, listing the more than 60 productions that have been filmed in Newton County; an attractions and tours section, providing information on the popular Mystic Falls Tour showcasing "The Vampire Diaries" filming locations and self-guided tours, such as the Walk of Stars, a calendar section for upcoming events, a list of attractions and recreation sites throughout the county, information on local farms and agritourism, and hotel, restaurant and shopping options. In addition, there's a history of Newton County, a section on arts and culture and information on how many visitors have recently been welcomed at the Visitors Bureau and their home countries.

Chamber President Hunter Hall said the launch of the website, the trademarking of the slogan "Hollywood of the South" and the Walk of Stars in downtown Covington have all been part of a strategy by the Chamber and the tourism department to make Covington and Newton County a global name when it comes to film production. The culmination of that strategy is the announcement by Triple Horse of its planned $100 million investment in a film studio.

"Our hope is to continue to fill the pipeline of productions, so if you're getting frustrated with traffic delays, we're here to say 'Get over it,'" Hall said, adding the hope is that there will more traffic delays in the future due to filming.