Tennessee officials have moved a step closer to realizing what developers say is a major black-owned movie studio.
The developers have obtained approval from the Memphis Land Use Control Board to zone land in the city’s Whitehaven community to build BLP movie studios. The owners say they hope to attract investors who will help close diversity and inclusion gaps in film and television.
“Our goal is to make Memphis the international epicenter for producing films and projects led by black and brown creators on the production and directing side of those projects.” Talk with the Memphis Trade CallJason A. Farmer, founder of BLP, who develops the site with his son Jason Farmer II, said black and brown consumers are increasingly savvy. “We’ve done several years of research to look at this market shift that’s happening and to figure out what some of those driving forces are. We asked, ‘What’s the best package we can put on the table that will reposition Memphis?’ allow Memphis to develop our own unique niche in the market? ” “
RELATED: Tyler Perry announces entertainment district near production studio
The owners of BLP are planning a campus with 12 sound stages, editing suites, an executive building, event spaces and a hotel among others, the Sales call noted. The farmers did not disclose the specific price for the project, but the newspaper noted that the cost would be in the millions of dollars. They said their funding partners would be announced later.
Groundbreaking will begin in the fall, Farmer said, and the installation will be completed over the next 24 to 30 months. Some soundstages should be ready in as little as a year.
Farmer, a Memphian native, said the project would benefit the city, bringing jobs and opportunities to residents. Some projects have been filmed there, but not yet to the extent he envisions.
Up to 80 new film and TV projects could be in production at the studios when they go live, he says.
“We had a number of opportunities to move the project outside of Memphis, but we felt it would be the kind of project that would help uplift the Memphis community,” A farmer told local station WMC. “When a film production comes to town, about 60% of that money is spent on the local economy. So if a $5 million project comes here, $3 million will be spent locally on things like hospitality, travel, tourism, and catering.