Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Opps, this Saint Joseph Catholic Church!
This is Sacred Heart Cultural Center:

The horror of it all, Sacred Heart Catholic, I mean, Cultural Center is being used for a horror film? Good idea or bad? I report; you bloviate. 

Scenes for horror movie being filmed at Sacred Heart

Don’t be alarmed this week if Sacred Heart Cultural Center resembles a crime scene.

The downtown landmark will be filled with a 60-member film crew in Augusta shooting scenes for a small-budget horror flick that is expected to air next year on cable channel Chiller Network – a division of NBC Universal.

While most of the filming for Siren is taking place inside the former Catholic church, certain scenes, which incorporate police cars borrowed from Richmond County School Safety and Security office and actors portraying police officers, will be filmed Wednesday night outside the historic building on the corner of Greene and 13th streets and at the parking lot across the street, said Jennifer Bowen, vice president of destination development with the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Bowen said the filming in Augusta is closed to the public and that many aspects, including details of the movie plot, are confidential.

A posting on Chiller’s Web site summarizes the Siren plot as a bachelor party “that becomes a savage fight for survival when the groomsmen unleash a fabled predator upon the festivities.” The film is being produced by independent filmmaker David Bruckner, Bloody Disgusting founder Bard Miska, Collective Digital Studio and Blue Falcon.

Bowen said certain scenes in the film’s script called specifically for a Gothic-style building, which led producers to Sacred Heart.

“They’re shooing the majority of the film in Savannah, (Ga.), but they couldn’t find anything that was exactly like that in Savannah,” she said. “They were first given some pictures of Sacred Heart. Then they decided to come and take a look at it. They were pretty pleased with it.”

The crew has been in Augusta filming overnight since Sunday and will finish Thursday morning. The production is expected to generate more than $40,000 in visitor spending, according to the CVB.

In recent years, Georgia has become a powerhouse in the film industry as more production companies are flocking to the Peach State to take advantage of its attractive incentive program that was restructured in 2008. Marvel’s Ant-Man, released July 17, was the latest blockbuster produced in Georgia to hit theaters.

Last month, Gov. Nathan Deal said that feature films and TV productions shot in Georgia had an economic impact of more than $6 billion during the 2015 fiscal year.
According to Film L.A., a nonprofit that handles film permits in Los Angeles, Georgia ranked as the fifth best filming location in the world last year, following California, New York, the U.K. and Canada.

Augusta-Richmond County was among the earliest adopters of Georgia’s “Camera Ready” program, which serves as a liaison to the entertainment industry by providing resources and other services to attract film and TV production companies here.

Bowen said the film crew currently in town is the largest that her department has assisted but noted that two other productions were recently taped in Augusta. The Weather Channel shot a segment last November on the city’s “haunted pillar” for its series American Supernatural, and a paranormal team was at Sibley Mill in late March shooting material for Destination America’s Ghost Asylum. That episode has not yet aired.

“When a script calls for something in particular there is a very good chance that Augusta or the immediate surrounding area will have something that will meet those needs,” Bowen said. Right now, it’s all about do we have a specific site or a specific location that will meet those needs.

“Another thing that is very critical to getting more business is doing it well and right the first time. When a production company like this one is here and they are able to say, ‘we had a great experience in Augusta’ then that word of mouth travels very fast.”


Anonymous said...

Seriously? You have to ask?

The Greek said...

I've always wanted to play a bishop. Or maybe a cardinal.

(Although, I'm content to wait a few decades to become a real bishop... or maybe never becoming one at all)

Anonymous said...

Though not a native of Augusta, I have kin down there who have passed on memories of the Old Sacred Heart Church. My aunt was the last person to get married there (after the church had "officially" closed in July of 1971---got a dispensation to have it there because the wedding was planned before the closing announcement). I think someone wrote a history of the church as well (maybe the late Ed Cashin of Augusta State University)? I would have been too young at the time to recall, but I suppose then-Bishop Frey got a lot of heat for its closure (no doubt from my grandmother among them), but by then many of Augusta's Catholics had relocated to the Hill (as in, St. Marys on the Hill) and downtown Augusta could not support 3 Catholic parishes, all so close to each other. I guess that benefited Holy Trinity, though of course that was many years before Fr. McDonald was pastor there. Maybe Fr. M., growing up in Augusta, could confirm that general overview of the closings? I think about 30 years ag0, after a fire, Atlanta's bishop had considered closing Atlanta's first Catholic Church, Immaculate Conception, which today is mostly a commercial area---but he kept it and today its membership comes from "all over"---it could not survive just on the old parish boundary system.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I can say this as a former pastor of Most Holy Trinity, which I loved/love, but it was a tactical mistake on the part of the bishop at the time to close Sacred Heart rather than Most Holy Trinity, although it is a beautiful and more historic structure, but Sacred Heart at the time of its closure was the most viable in terms of it being a parish and the building was and is beloved by all of Augusta regardless of religion (and this accounts for the non Catholic community saving it!) It was seen as the symbol of Catholicism in Augusta. So the Bishop not only closed a church, he closed a symbol. Not good and it created more problems than it solved. This would not have occurred with the closing of Most Holy Trinity at the time.

But that is water under the bridge and Most Holy Trinity is doing fine but it needs people to come in from all over for there are not enough Catholics in its parish boundaries to support it.

Anonymous said...

Father, thanks for your comments on Sacred Heart. I'm sure the closing was heartbreaking to many parishioners---one of whom was my grandmother, who died a few short years after that and insisted her funeral be across the river (in North Augusta), I guess her last protest against the closing (guess it was Our Lady of Peace Parish but I was pretty young at the time). I wonder if that was a factor in the bishop being transferred to a diocese in Louisiana after a relatively short 5 years overseeing the Savannah Diocese?

I agree with you on our thanks for the non Catholic community saving the church---only thing marring it today is the reality of the John Calhoun Expressway passing not far in front of the church (the ugly viaduct connecting Greene Street with 15th Street). That may be the world's shortest expressway, maybe two and a half miles long. Never understood why they built that road, though perhaps plans called for a longer stretch---I guess Augusta National stood in its way to the north (beyond its current northern end at Washington Road and Lake Olmstead).

Also, is St. Marys on the Hill the largest (membership) church in the diocese? If so, what would it compare in membership to say Holy Trinity or the new parish in Grovetown (forget its name, but you wrote about its dedication last year)?