Out with the old Hollywood, and in with the new Atlanta as the prime spot for the film industry. Since 2008, Atlanta has played backdrop to more than 140 films and TV shows (and counting), according to the Georgia De-partment of Economic Development. While most movies showcase trends and technology, period films must travel back to nostalgic times and strategically hunt for props that maintain historical accuracy. Chamblee’s own Antique Row District is the largest and most distinctive antiques destination in the Southeast, a must for film-makers.
Prop scouts from major production companies frequently visit Chamblee’s Antique Row to hunt for unique items, taking pictures and then reporting back to set designers. Al Endel of Chamblee Antiques and Collectibles said some items are rented to film companies on a weekly basis while it’s more economical for other items to be bought outright extended months of filming. Popular props can include anything from fur-niture and clothing to miscellaneous items like old rotary telephones. Endel’s shop rented two vintage girls’ bikes in excellent condition for a period film set in the 1960’s.
Peter Pero, owner of Antique Factory, said many of his unique items are also bought rather than rented. In ad-dition, big production companies are building their own permanent prop studios in Atlanta and continually adding to their collection.
“Hollywood is going to have to get more competitive and match incentives like tax breaks to be able to keep up with Atlanta. Georgia is also home to mountains and beaches which give filmmakers different set-tings,” Pero said.
Antique Factory is famous for Danish Modern and mid-century Americana furniture and items. They have contributed to many films including The Hunger Games, Anchorman 2, Fast and Furious 5, Selma, Ant-Man, The Change-Up, and Last Vegas. They recently contributed to The Nice Guys, in theaters soon, and are cur-rently renting and selling to the movie Mena, in production.
The Hunger Games scouts went to Antique Factory to browse props and were pleasantly surprised to stumble across flamboyant sequin and feather hats from the 1940’s. Pero said the prop team bought many hats for the fashionable citizens of the Capitol and have kept the hats to add to their wardrobe collection for the entire Hunger Games franchise.
Syl Turner of Broad Street Antique Mall said he is now a Walking Dead fan after renting an entire room full of furniture and props to furnish an old farm house for the second season of the popular TV show. “It’s fun watching and looking for your stuff. The Walking Dead really is a great show, it’s well done with in-triguing story lines and great production,” Turner said.
Shop owners on Antique Row say they have shifted from average movie-goers to avid movie buffs who play “antiques eye spy” while watching films and TV shows. Turner said antique store owners have formed a commu-nity of like-minded experts and antique aficionados, pooling their knowledge to ensure movies have the perfect period pieces.
– Grace Simmons