MovieMaker names Memphis a Top 10 movie city - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

MovieMaker names Memphis a Top 10 movie city

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Just three years ago Memphians complained about the television series "Memphis Beat" being shot almost exclusively in Louisiana.

But hard work has paid off for the Memphis and Shelby County Film and Television Commission. Memphis has been named among the top 10 cities for filmmaking by the trade publication Moviemaker Magazine.

MORE: Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2014, Big Cities: #9. Memphis

Isn't it amazing how many people in Memphis claim to have been in those blockbuster movies filmed here in 1990s. They'll say that was me passing by Tom Cruise in "The Firm." You know they shot the back of my head in "The Client."

Well, for all you wanna bees the chances of being discovered in a Memphis-made movie or TV show just got a whole lot better.

As comic genius Mel Brooks once boasted, "It's good to be the king!" Apparently, the last year has been just as euphoric for the recognized "queen" of film and television promotion in Memphis and Shelby County, Linn Sitler.

For after some dark days in the last three years, where the Bluff City plummeted from the ranks of moviemaking meccas, the prestigious industry trade publication, MovieMaker Magazine, has chosen Memphis to reclaim bragging rights by being tabbed as No. 9 among the Top 10 cities conducive to filmmaking in 2014.

Just like an Oscar winner, Sitler was ready to share the glory of success. She even did it without using any notes.

"I give credit to everybody. Everybody!," Sitler said. "It's been such a team. Mark Norris, Mayor (A C) Wharton. Mayor (Mark) Luttrell, city council, county commission, Sharon Fox O'Guinn, whose personally handled all of those 361 filming days that helped us to win."

"The wonderful thing about Linn is that she always gives credit to everybody else," said Blanchard Tual. "But, like any great team, you have a great leader and she has been at the forefront for 27, 26 years now."

With the list being teasingly unveiled one spot at a time, Memphis captured the ninth slot just above San Francisco. Chosen from questionnaires, film commissions across the country were asked to assess issues such as their film readiness, film culture and overall friendliness exhibited with local and visiting film crews.

Memphis ascendency to among the elite reflects the "golden age" of 2006 through 2009 when Memphis made Moviemaker's list like clockwork. It hasn't been an easy road back with states like Louisiana, North Carolina and Mississippi luring filmmakers with multi-million dollar incentive deals with couldn't and still can't match.

But, under the realistic theory, a bunch of small to medium film projects more than add up to one "big one," Memphis now finds itself back among the video vanguard, simply by looking inward.

"The hotbed for Black filmmakers, for faith-based films," Sitler said. "I mean we support our gay film festival. We have our ... it's just so incredible what we have here. Plus we have our history."

With noted producer Mike Ryan joining the planning team this year at the commission, 2014 shows the times they are a'changin', but, not without one vital constant.

"I've had many directors over the years that have told me, 'Blanchard, if it weren't for Linn Sitler, we'd probably wouldn't be in Memphis,'" Tual said.

Yes, it's good to be "the queen!"

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