Movie companies follow COVID-19 guidelines in Mississippi

Movie companies follow COVID-19 guidelines in Mississippi

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - In New York, Los Angeles and even Georgia, film production is on hold because of the pandemic, leaving some projects being created in Mississippi.

The state of Mississippi has put COVID-19 restrictions in place for movie makers.

From classic coast scenery, unique and historic architecture, and quaint southern towns, South Mississippi is becoming a prime sport for movie makers scouting locations.

“One of the reasons the Coast is attractive is because of the diverse nature of our communities," said Film Office Gulf Coast Project Manager Bill Webb. "The southernmost counties makes up 21 communities. All of them have something to offer that’s different from the others.”

Right now, a movie titled “The Longest Night” is being shot all along the coast. A scene was recently shot on a set at the Harrison County Skate Park.

The movie stars Morgan Freeman, a Mississippi native and international superstar.

The producer, who previously worked on a film on the Coast reached out to the Mississippi Film Office. They were delighted, especially with the Morgan Freeman Connection.

“He worked with us before and knew we were good at finding the locations," said Webb. "When they told us that Morgan Freeman, being the first time he shot in his home state we were very excited.”

After consulting with doctors and other experts, the Mississippi Film Office devised a set of pandemic protocols and if a film maker wants to come to the state, they have to abide by all the rules and regulations.

“They have to sign an agreement when they apply for our incentives. If they want to shoot in Mississippi they have to apply and sign. This production right now, “The Longest Night” cast and crew is being tested twice a week.” according to Webb.

A movie titled “The Card Counter” operations were shut down on the Coast back in March. But, they came back in late July to shoot five scenes at Jones Park under the virus guidelines.

“The Longest Night” will wrap up production here soon and so far workers on both sides of the camera appeared satisfied with Mississippi’s COVID-19 restrictions.

As the industry finds ways to adapt, The Mississippi film office said they have 17 scripts under consideration right now.

This could be great news for Coastal Mississippi’s film prospects.

“I see the future of the Gulf Coast and the state of Mississippi as being on the cutting edge," said Webb. "We’re about to bust wide open.”

Those rules apply to all films being shot here right now.

The Mississippi Film Office is constantly monitoring pandemic conditions and will adjust their guidelines accordingly.

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