RiverWood inks management deal with big-name studio

By Jeff Bishop
The Times-Herald
RiverWood Studios in Senoia has inked a deal with Raleigh Studios in Hollywood that President Scott Tigchelaar said should “have a pretty big impact” on the regional film industry.
“Raleigh Studios is the largest owner and manager of stages and studio facilities in the world,” said Tigchelaar. “They have locations throughout the world, in Hollywood, Baton Rouge, Detroit, Budapest, you name it.”
RiverWood Studios will now be called “Raleigh Studios Atlanta at RiverWood,” Tigchelaar said.
“And they are bringing their grip and lighting company, Hollywood Rentals, out here,” he said. “Raleigh is a marquis brand in the industry, and their presence here is going to be huge.”
As the longest continuously operating studio in the country, Raleigh Studios has played a central role in creating and supporting the modern entertainment industry, according to its Web site, while Hollywood Rentals is one of the premier lighting equipment rental companies in the country.
Along with the company’s theatrical lighting division, Olesen Lighting, and expendable supply business ESS, Raleigh services the lighting, transportation and consumable needs of film and theatrical productions across the greater United States, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and soon Europe.
Together, Raleigh’s entertainment companies comprise the largest independent studio and production support operation in the nation, according to the company Web site.
In 1915, Raleigh’s Hollywood studio commenced operations as Famous Players Fiction Studios, with a Mary Pickford production — one of the first features to be filmed on this historic Hollywood lot.
Tigchelaar said the new deal will help RiverWood Studios remain competitive now that Screen Gems is coming to Lakewood in Atlanta.
The Atlanta City Council approved a multi-million dollar, 50-year lease to rent out the Lakewood Fairgrounds to EUE/Screen Gems earlier in May.
EUE/Screen Gems will utilize about 30 acres of the fairgrounds and the fairground’s Spanish Mission Revival exhibition halls and convert them into sound studios, according to the agreement. Some 40,000 square feet of new sound stages will accommodate television, commercial, digital and film productions.
When asked if the Screen Gems and Raleigh presences here will be synergistic or competitive, Tigchelaar said it will probably be “a bit of both.”
“Screen Gems is certainly going to be a competitor,” he said. “Their presence here and Raleigh’s presence here now really both underscore the positive impact the Georgia tax incentives are having. We’re getting real players to Georgia.”
He said Raleigh Studios will bring its decades of experience in movie marketing and production to this community.
“This is a company that keeps 90 percent of its facilities booked 90 percent of the time,” he said. “So we see this as a foundation we can use to expand and grow and better service the industry here.”
On the web: http://www.raleighstudios.com