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Plans reported for outdoor, action movie filming site east of Covington
Publication reports 1,500 acres purchased to create content for streaming service owned by Blackhall Studios founder
Special | Blackhall Americana

COVINGTON, Ga. — Residents already were voicing their concerns Sunday about a production company owner's reported plans for filming action movies on 1,500 acres east of the Covington city limits.

The news website Bisnow and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported Blackhall Studios founder Ryan Millsap "is looking to bring action and adventure to a sprawling site in Newton County" on Elks Club Road near the new Eastside High School campus by late summer of this year.

The "action and adventure" to which Millsap referred is planned to include "Blackhawk helicopters and ... Humvees at speed” for use in films for his new Blackhall Americana streaming service, he told Bisnow and the AJC.

One area resident told The Covington News, "This certainly looks like those of us living on the east end of Covington are about to put up with the sounds (of) war in our backyard. 

"I am personally concerned to have the film industry in immediate proximity to residential areas filming things akin to 'Blackhawk Down' in the outdoors,” he said. 

Though unconfirmed, the site appears to be three adjacent tracts centered around the intersection of Elks Club and Otis Nixon Farm roads that were sold in September and November of 2021 for a total of almost $14 million, according to Newton County tax records. 

A small part of the site borders the south side of the new 107-acre Eastside High campus near U.S. Hwy. 278 and Georgia Hwy. 142.

Millsap said he and a group of investors bought 1,500 acres for development of a campus to film and produce content for Millsap's new action movie streaming service, Blackhall Americana, Bisnow reported. 

Production on films and series is slated to begin on the new campus by the end of this summer, Millsap told Bisnow.

He said the property "is ideal for films involving military vehicles, exotic equipment, explosions and gun battles ... it is currently being used as a hunting ground, and its neighbors are used to gunshots," Bisnow reported.

The site contains "lakes and swamps and rivers and forests and fields and hills and dales. That's the nice thing about 1,500 acres," Millsap told Bisnow.

Millsap said it was "ultimately going to be a massive production campus not dissimilar" to film mogul Tyler Perry's 330-acre studio that encompasses a dozen soundstages, green space and 40 historic buildings in south Atlanta.

Millsap's company is "dedicated to producing action, espionage, military and crime drama series and movies" and "is expected to launch on a proprietary platform next year," Bisnow reported.

Millsap sold Blackhall Studios campus in Atlanta to Los Angeles private equity firm Commonwealth Asset Management last year for $120 million and the right to continue using the name Blackhall.

Blackhall opened in 2017 and was the site for the filming of such blockbuster films as "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" and "Doctor Sleep."

Newton County already is home to two film studios, including Cinelease-Three Ring Studios on Georgia Hwy. 142 on the north side of Covington; and Triple Horse Studios on Technology Drive.

Cinelease-Three Ring recently announced it planned to add eight new stages to give the studio complex a total of 14 purpose-built sound stages and a total of 276,000 square feet of stage space, 100,000 square feet of office space, and an additional 72,800 square feet of flexible space, upon its completion in 2023.

The Newton resident who complained about the plans told The News he saw Blackhall Americana as “the worst kind of neighbor.”

“They have no ties to the community and their business looks to directly be at odds with the reason I moved to the area in the first place,” he said.

Millsap also apparently has other development plans for northern Newton County apart from Blackhall Americana.

He has a memorandum of contract filed with Newton County Superior Court to purchase 1,000 acres from BPV Real Estate Holdings LLC and Susan Wahl between Strouds Creek Road and Georgia Hwy. 11 for a "large industrial development," Bisnow reported.

He plans to partner with a major developer on the project that is partly in the Social Circle city limits and not adjacent to his planned Blackhall Americana site.

It also is northwest and a few miles from the planned 2,000-acre Rivian electric vehicle production facility.