What does a car do? Its simplest purpose is to take us from one location to another. If we’re lucky we can use our cars to get away. Maybe we seek to find great comfort and familiarity in our chosen destination. Perhaps we choose places with a bit of intrigue or a touch of the unexpected.

Cars can also take us to another time. It might be a car from our childhood that inspires nostalgia—station wagons for some, minivans for others. Cars can even remind us of entire decades that we never experienced firsthand, like spotting a pristine antique car as it glides through town.

Picture-perfect Automobiles

Cherokee Film Summit 2023, Jeff Chattin, Photo Courtesy of COED

Jeff Chattin, owner of JC Picture Cars, speaks with attendees of the 2023 Cherokee Film Summit. (Photo Courtesy of COED)

Enter Jeff and Angie Chattin, a Cherokee County couple who put their antique cars to work and founded JC Picture Cars. A self-described car guy since early childhood, Jeff is a lifetime member of the Horseless Carriage Club of America and serves on its board of directors. Angie was a senior executive at CarMax until retiring in 2015. Although corporate life is in Angie’s rear-view mirror, retirement doesn’t always mean hitting the brakes.

Jeff and Angie enjoy sharing their collection of historic vehicles, now more than 130 of them to be exact. Whether driving around town or across the country, Jeff feels the increased visibility helps bolster acquisition and encourage preservation in others. Since 2007 the Chattins’ collection has gained visibility in an uncommon way. As Jeff recalls, “We were approached by someone who needed some period vehicles and machinery. That was in 2007 for the Get Low picture.”

Released in 2009, Get Low is a dramatic film starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, and Sissy Spacek. Although set in Tennessee during the 1930s, filming took place entirely in Georgia and prompted a new way for Jeff and Angie to bring historical automobiles to the masses. Among their early projects, described by Jeff as “sporadic,” the Chattins provided Ford Model Ts for flashback sequences on The Vampire Diaries. Filmed southeast of Atlanta in Covington, Georgia, the show has a considerable fan base that persists since its cancellation in 2017.

The demand for cars has since swelled so much that Jeff and Angie began sourcing vehicles that weren’t in their collection. As Jeff describes the experience, “Eventually it got to the point that we were renting other cars, and then we had to go out and purchase vehicles. That’s when we stood up the company because we were going beyond our collection.” The Chattins established JC Picture Cars in 2019 and since have furnished films, commercials, and photo shoots with pristine historical automobiles.

Car Star

Bruce Patton, curator of Savoy Automobile Museum in Cartersville, believes the use and accuracy of historical cars while filming benefits the production as well as car enthusiasts. He explains, “While not all people watching the film may know the difference between a car from the 1930s versus one from the 1940s, it can severely impact some viewers’ opinion of the film.” He notes that for some movies, “the car actually becomes one of the stars of the film.”

When asked to discuss any considerations involved in preserving automobiles for film, Bruce offers an insightful reply. “Many of our older generation that grew up with these cars are aging out of working on them, and we need them to mentor the younger generation. This comes down to getting younger people excited about the vehicles.”

Angie agrees, adding “We truly feel like we are caretakers for a season and love to share them with others to inspire them to one day be a caretaker themselves.” Jeff elaborates on this idea by explaining that there are nostalgic cars or “memory cars,” as he calls them, and cars that are purely collectible. “The only way to get people to understand what they are is in the context of film or an experience.”

The Chattins are certainly doing their part to contribute captivating historical automobiles to notable productions. They have supplied cars for such recent projects as Disney’s Jungle Cruise (2021), Devotion (2022), The Color Purple (2023), and current Best Picture Oscar nominee Killers of the Flower Moon (2023). The films they have worked on appeal to diverse audiences, and their cars contribute to the immersive experiences that keep box offices and viewers happy.

Generations of Entertainment

What does a film do? Its simplest purpose is to entertain us. Films can enlighten us and evoke powerful emotions. Maybe we seek to find great comfort and familiarity in our movie of choice. Perhaps we choose stories with a bit of intrigue or a touch of the unexpected.

Movies can also take us to another time. It might be a film from our childhood: Mary Poppins for some, Matilda for others. Movies can remind us of entire decades that we never experienced firsthand. The notion of filmmaking might transport us to a bygone era that turned Hollywood into Tinseltown, veiled in black and white.

Although far from the bright lights of Hollywood, the Cherokee Office of Economic Development [COED] and its film project manager, Molly Mercer, are rewriting the script to ensure burgeoning local talent has a chance to make a claim to fame.

Lights, Camera, Action

In 2011 COED committed to designate resources to support Georgia’s growing film production industry, making it one of the earliest Camera Ready Communities. As such, COED operates as an arm of the Georgia Film Office to efficiently respond to the needs of both regional and local film professionals, of which there are many. An estimated 11,700 industry workers reside in the market area, ranging from award-winning screenwriters to on-set snake wranglers.

Since 2019 COED has organized the Cherokee Film Summit, an event offering the community a front-row seat to the film industry. The Cherokee Film Summit started with a strategic plan “to connect film professionals, businesses, creatives, and our community” and inform them of the roles they could play in Georgia’s Film Production industry. Working hard “to build relationships with regional industry professionals” allows COED to recruit qualified speakers for the event’s opening and closing presentations and breakout sessions.

These speakers detail their routes to success, including the speed bumps, providing attendees an opportunity to learn more about the film industry beyond the screen.

Cruising toward the celebration of five years of its flagship effort, the COED film and media team has announced the theme for 2024: “Connect with Tomorrow.” The event takes place Thursday, March 14, at the Yanmar EVO Center in Acworth from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

To Infinity

Cherokee County filming locations have taken viewers from the Ozarks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and deep within the mind of Stephen King. JC Picture Cars is one of the companies that chauffeurs moviegoers into the past as the Cherokee Film Summit gears up to steer this year’s attendees into the future. As we welcome more projects to the area it’s an exciting time to live in the present.

 

Can you spot JC Picture Cars in these films and shows?

2009Get Low • The Vampire Diaries

2013The Originals

2015Bessie

2016Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love • Macgyver • Stranger Things

2017Dynasty

2018Legacies

2019Doom Patrol

2020First Ladies • Lovecraft Country

2021Genius: Aretha • Jungle Cruise • Red Notice • Respect • The Innocent • The Underground Railroad

2022Candy • Devotion • Till • Tom Swift • Women of the Movement

2023Dashing Through the Snow • Haunted Mansion • Killers of the Flower Moon • May December • Origin • Rustin • Southern Gospel • The Bike Riders • The Color Purple

2024Alto Knights • A Man in Full • Descendants: The Rise of Red • Genius: MLK/X • Hysteria! • Project Artemis • The Piano Lesson

 

Cherokee Film Summit 2024

2024 Cherokee Film Summit – Fifth Annual Celebration of ‘Reel’ Success + Expert Instruction = Vision for Tomorrow’s Film Production Industry

Thursday, March 14, 2024
5:00-9:00 p.m.

YANMAR EVO//Center
5889 Old Alabama Road
Acworth, GA 30102

View Cherokee Film Summit event details and get tickets on Eventbrite…

 

Cherokee Film Summit 2024

 

 

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