Bringing Hollywood To Small Town USA


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Up-and-coming actor Alexander Kane has helped transform his small hometown of Fitzgerald, Georgia, into a hot spot for the film industry.

The first time someone from Hollywood told him he needed to lose his Southern drawl, well … he had a suggestion for a specific way they could entertain themselves.

Kane always told folks in his hometown of Fitzgerald, Georgia, he was going to be a movie star, but he’s never been eager to pull up his roots, especially with six kids.

He took the leap into acting after retiring from surveying oil pipelines, and his star quickly rose. But the roles he was booking often required him to travel to far-flung small towns not too different from Fitzgerald.

“I was thinking, you know, my small town in South Georgia is economically depressed…,” Kane recalls, “and we have the best damn tax credit in the nation.”

He concocted a plan.

“I started telling people I was going to start shooting my movies here,” Kane says. “And I started telling the town I was going to bring Hollywood here. People kind of laughed.”

But Kane wasn’t joking.

He endured the giggles and guffaws, but in October 2018, he and producer Danny Roth came together to shoot his feature film “Lena and Snowball” in Fitzgerald.

Two years later,  Kane is a rising star — filmmakers are falling for his throwback style, a la Steve McQueen — and his vision to build a booming economy in Fitzgerald is coming to fruition.

Fitzgerald is a fur piece from Hollywood, as someone from the town of 9,053 in Ben Hill County might say. But it looks damn good in movies.

Town officials, including Mayor Jim Puckett, have helped build the framework for a booming industry — one that has $7 million worth of projects to the community in the first year, with several top-secret projects and efforts to build a full-fledged film studio on the horizon — and folks there are eager to keep the jobs coming.

“We’re all chipping in,” Kane says. “We’ve got crackheads and millionaires working side by side with a common goal to help the movies be the best they can be.”

And if you don’t like that, Kane has a suggestion for another way to entertain yourself. 

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This is not a celebration. It is not a salute. This, readers, is a manifesto. It is a bold declaration of the richness of the South, of the majestic talents, relentless ambition and singular vision that reside just behind each face you pass in your travels. These are the faces of the people who are creating the new South through the sweat of their brow and the depth of their passions. But if you never look closer you may never know how deep that passion goes, and what it has accomplished.

FACES OF THE SOUTH-THE TRILOGY GALLERY 2

This is not a celebration. It is not a salute. This, readers, is a manifesto. It is a bold declaration of the richness of the South, of the majestic talents, relentless ambition and singular vision that reside just behind each face you pass in your travels. These are the faces of the people who are creating the new South through the sweat of their brow and the depth of their passions. But if you never look closer you may never know how deep that passion goes, and what it has accomplished.

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This is not a celebration. It is not a salute. This, readers, is a manifesto. It is a bold declaration of the richness of the South, of the majestic talents, relentless ambition and singular vision that reside just behind each face you pass in your travels. These are the faces of the people who are creating the new South through the sweat of their brow and the depth of their passions. But if you never look closer you may never know how deep that passion goes, and what it has accomplished.

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