By Hannah Osborne
Georgia, often referred to as the “Hollywood of the South,” has had a new production studio added to its repertoire by Gray Television.
On Oct. 20, 2023, a red carpet event marked the completion of and opened doors for the future of the studio, ‘Assembly Atlanta.’
“Assembly Atlanta is a studio complex that is focused on arts and entertainment,” says Assembly Atlanta Senior Vice President, Rick Burns. “We want to elevate and amplify Georgia, showcase it as a frontrunner in the world and in the country, as a place and destination for people to create art, whether it’s television, film or music.”
Previously a General Motors plant, Assembly Atlanta sits on 135 acres of space in Doraville, GA. The state of the art production facility features facades mimicking the French Quarters of New Orleans, Brooklyn-style brownstones and Europe.
Attendees of the red carpet event were provided a special first look of the stages, first entering into the 30,000-foot New Orleans stage. “That’s where we built this atmosphere where nobody really knew what would be behind the stage when new doors opened,” says Burns.
In addition to the variety of location facades, Assembly Atlanta has 19 sound stages, which act as a blank canvas to transform into the scene of an action film, the set of a sit-com or the location of a game show. The studio features a floodable parking lot and a wet stage that also serves as an above-ground retention pond.
The Jewel Box is Assembly Atlanta’s private event space and served as the destination of the party. Aside from hosting parties, the venue can host movie premieres, press junkets and can even serve as a filmable location.
“Everything is filmable, everything is designed to be filmable, inside and outside of the gates,” says Burns.
Anticipating the grand red carpet reveal, Atlanta News First, owned by Gray Television, set up shop on the second floor of Assembly in the week leading up to the event. This week of broadcasting known as “Assembly Week,” is a new tradition for the company. These broadcasts came to a head on Oct. 20, when the red carpet event took place.
Featuring broadcast legend Monica Pearson as a host, the red carpet broadcast interviewed guests that come from various career fields, including local celebrity chefs and influencers. Due to Gray Television’s presence in all Georgia television markets, the black tie celebration was viewable across the state.
Assembly Atlanta took great care in organizing the event, intending the celebrations to serve as a “love letter to Georgia.” The studio was intentional in its selection of vendors for the event, prioritizing Georgia businesses to provide music, food and entertainment. With content at the forefront of the evening, the party included a kinetic chandelier, lots of screens and a drone show made up of 300 drones.
“Given we are a content company, we really took a lot of pride in the visuals and tried to tell a story throughout the entire evening with the visuals we used,” Burns says.
Over the past two and a half years since the studio began construction, Assembly Atlanta has created numerous jobs for Atlanta residents and will continue to do so now that doors are open.
“I imagine the most exciting thing for me is to see people flocking to this area to do what they love,” says Burns. “Which is not just being on screen, it takes an army of people to create a production and it’s not easy work, people are passionate about it. It’s really exciting to see all of these people come together to work on a project and put a stamp on Georgia, to keep tv and film here and be a frontrunner with other states.”
The opening of Assembly Atlanta has brought the state one studio closer to solidifying Georgia’s place in the film industry.