Pigmental Studios is actively recruiting military veterans, the handicapped, and high school students for job training to support a planned $200 million studio in St. Marys once productions begin.

During a Southeast Georgia Development Authority meeting Wednesday, Jennifer Elders, head of production services for the studio, explained the company’s preparations.

The plan is to have a trained support staff to work productions on site by the time the studio opens in two years.

Pigmental Studios has produced hit movies such as “Despicable Me,” “Klaus,” and “Household Pest,” and plans are to produce documentaries, TV series, live action and animation films at the new studios. The company will also produce games and turn children’s books into animated features.

“We’ll have a crew ready on the ground,” Elders said.

The movie complex on 67 acres at the site of the old St. Marys Airport near the city’s historic downtown district will include 18 sound stages, meeting rooms, a kitchen, a hotel for actors and support staff, and other support facilities.

The studio wanted a location in Coastal Georgia to take advantage of the state’s generous incentives to attract moviemakers to the state.

The studio is forming a “strategic alliance” with surrounding counties for what Elders predicts is the next big destination for films.

The studio has asked for a single permit that will allow it to film anywhere in Camden County to simplify the process. The new permit, guidelines and regulations will make filming at the studio an “unstoppable force,” she said.

Atlanta had a $4.4 billion impact by the film industry last year, followed by Savannah with about a $1 billion impact.

“We want to take a huge piece of that pie,” Elders said. “We want to make sure no film leaves Georgia.”

A company conducting site selections for the national film industry is coming to Camden County and will be looking for different locations, and just not the pretty stuff, she said. Those recommendations will be shared with many of the movie producers in Hollywood, she said.

Local support of Pigmental Studios will be important once operations begin.

“We want citizens behind us,” she said. “We want to be able to accommodate every film.”

The impact to the local community could be substantial. Elders said when studio officials made a presentation to high school students, they gave their undivided attention.

“We want to make sure our Georgia children have jobs,” she said. “This is a community effort. This is not a Hollywood endeavor.”

Text via The Brunswick News