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Hollywood Meets Tucker

"The Odd Life of Timothy Green" is filming in town this week, but tax exemptions for local productions may be in danger.

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Just as a film crew was starting its work day at Tucker's Henderson Park early Monday, a high level meeting between Georgia officials and filmmakers was taking place at the State Capitol in downtown Atlanta.

The film in question is "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton, one of many movies currently in production in the state. The story takes place in a fictional town called Stanleyville and concerns a childless couple (Edgerton and Garner) and a boy, played by CJ Adams, who appears at their front door one night during a storm. The cast also includes Dianne Wiest, Ron Livingston, M. Emmet Walsh and Rosemarie DeWitt.  

Producer Scott Sanders said the decision to make the film in Georgia was an easy one. "To cover a 12-month period (in the story) we knew we had to go south," he said. "I'm loving working in Atlanta. There's a natural topography and a great infrastructure."  The latter includes most of the crew and extras, who, according to publicist Claire Raskind, are "90 percent local." 

But film productions such as this one could be threatened by a tax reform commission that is recommending the elimination of incentives used to lure Hollywood to Georgia. Currently, the State Legislature allows a 30 percent tax exemption to the movie and television industry and an extra 10 percent if Georgia is listed in the end credits. 25,000 jobs have been created as a result of this initiative and in 2010, more than $1 billion was added to the state's coffers. 

The gathering at the Capitol, presided by Governor Nathan Deal, was to promote the "Camera Ready" program of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office (FMDE). So far, the program has designated 73 counties, including DeKalb, as places that welcome film productions.

Deal wants the incentives to stay in place. He told 11 Alive News, "I think we should keep the tax credits," adding that he is willing to explore better ways of implementing them. 

None of these issues seemed to permeate the Timothy Green cast and crew on Monday, all of whom went about their business calmly and methodically.

This production, from Walt Disney Pictures, has taken over several sites around Tucker, including Dharma Jewel Monastery (crew parking), St. Bede's Episcopal Church (actors' trailers), Northlake Mall (extras' parking) and Henderson Park Community Garden (extras' holding area). Principal photography is confined to the soccer fields on Henderson Road, and everyone involved will move to other locations in Metro Atlanta after Thursday. 

Leonard Howell, president of the Tucker Youth Soccer Association, told Patch that the production company had paid them for the right to use the fields. "They made a generous donation to our scholarship fund," he said. Howell added that the TYSA has been able to continue its normal activities at the park despite the movie shoot. "We just need to keep them quiet," he said, referring to the soccer-playing kids, and more significantly, their cheering parents.

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