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American Pie sequel filming at Lanier park
Crew consists of 150 members
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For the second time in a little more than a year, Mary Alice Park will be featured in a Hollywood blockbuster.

The park in Cumming has been closed for the past week while a film crew for "American Pie Reunion" shot scenes on Lake Lanier.

In spring 2010, the Farrelly brothers directors used the park to shoot beach scenes for "Hall Pass." The local site has caught the attention of a few producers since then.

Dave Horton, manager of the park site, said the "American Pie" franchise was led there by the same location manager who worked with "Hall Pass."

"It's a pretty part of the lake, but it's also easy to secure - one way in, one way out," said Horton, who is also director of the Cumming Fairgrounds.

"You've also got a big parking lot for all the trailers."
That location manager, Maida Morgan, agreed the site is a good one for filming.

"Cumming has a great beach," Morgan said. "It's a very good and beautiful location.

"And the city of Cumming is very film friendly. This is the complete package."

Several of the big-name actors and actresses in the film, the fourth in the popular series, each had their own trailer on site, Horton said.

He said he's seen plenty of cast members from the original "American Pie" movie, adding that it's his understanding all the main characters signed on for the upcoming sequel.

About 100 extras were hired to act in the background for the beach scenes, he said.

The park has been closed to visitors and the lake patrolled by law enforcement to keep curious onlookers away during filming, he said, though the boat ramp remained open.

Whatever revenue is lost in visitor fees, Horton said is well made up for by the film crew renting the site.

At a recent city council meeting, Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said the movie production company paid $23,000 to have full access to the property for the week.

The fee is a small price to pay for the location, said one of the movie's producers, Chris Moore.

Moore said the film is set in Michigan and the beach at Lake Lanier "looks very much like what we have in Michigan."

"We needed to be able to match to the first three movies, which were all shot in Los Angeles to look like Michigan," he said. "We had this little lake in L.A., so we're happy to have a real outdoor lake."

The film has also brought in several folks to stay in local hotels, said Anna Brostrom, tourism director at the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.

"We're just looking forward to the economic impact that we're going to receive in the county," Brostrom said.

Moore said the crew of about 150 has "been to about 10 local restaurants" and "enjoyed the county."

Georgia's overall economy has been impacted by the film industry in recent years.

According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development website, more than 700 film and television projects shot in the state in 2009 and 2010.

Brostrom said a tax incentive given to those who film in Georgia has been a driving force in making the state one of the top places to film nationally.

Moore agreed and said the state is likely to continue to see more movies produced here.

"Guys like me are big fans of tax credits," he said.

"Georgia is getting a great reputation out in L.A.
"You guys are doing well and will see a lot more movies made here as long as those tax credits are here."

Brostrom noted that Forsyth County commissioners heard a proposal at a recent work session from a business that would help film producers more easily secure permits and work with local governments.

The Alpharetta-based business, FLIPSFilm, offered to provide its concierge service for $600 annually to the county and city if officials agree to sign on soon.

"It should make us more attractive to companies that want to come to the area," Brostrom said, "instead of them having to dig and get all that information for themselves."

Finding great locations is one of Morgan's main jobs. She said when in need of beach location, she'll definitely keep Mary Alice Park in mind.

"This is my second time here in a year, so I think we will be back," she said. "When this script called for a lake beach, I knew exactly where to come."

Regional staff Crystal Ledford contributed to this report.

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