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Blackhall Studios Founder Buys 1,500 Acres In Georgia For Action Movie Production Campus

Ryan Millsap, the founder and former owner of Blackhall Studios, is looking to bring action and adventure to a sprawling site in Newton County roughly 40 miles east of Atlanta.

Millsap told Bisnow this week that he and a collection of investors have purchased 1,500 acres where they plan to develop a campus to film and produce content for his new action movie streaming service, Blackhall Americana. 

Blackhall Americana will use 1,500 acres to fly helicopters and other military equipment for its action and adventure productions.

The property is ideal for films involving military vehicles, exotic equipment, explosions and gun battles, Millsap said — it is currently being used as a hunting ground, and its neighbors are used to gunshots.

“This is the kind of space we need to fly in Blackhawk helicopters and drive Humvees at speed,” he said. "We have lakes and swamps and rivers and forests and fields and hills and dales. That's the nice thing about 1,500 acres."

Millsap founded Blackhall Americana as a streaming service dedicated to producing action, espionage, military and crime drama series and movies, as first reported by Bisnow. It is expected to launch on a proprietary platform next year.

“This is going to try to recapture the glory days of action-adventure,” Millsap said. "Think about Red Dawn. Those kinds of things need to be made again."

Production on films and series is slated to begin on the new campus, located off of Elks Club Road in Covington, by the end of this summer, Millsap said. 

“It's ultimately going to be a massive production campus not dissimilar to Tyler's campus,” Millsap said, referring to film mogul Tyler Perry and his 330-acre studio that encompasses a dozen soundstages, green space and 40 historic buildings.

Millsap purchased the land for about $14M, according to Newton County tax records

"This is not a campus for other people to use. This is a campus just for Blackhall Americana," he said. "It's going to be built out as we need it."

Millsap sold the nine-soundstage Blackhall Studios campus in Atlanta, one of the state's largest film and television production facilities, to Los Angeles private equity firm Commonwealth Asset Management last year for $120M. At the time of the sale, Millsap got the right to continue using the name Blackhall.

Since opening in 2017, Blackhall has signed production deals with a number of major studios, including Disney, Sony and Warner Bros. It has been the site for the filming of recent blockbusters like Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Venom and Doctor Sleep.

Marketing materials for the Blackhall Americana concept say it will produce content that “unapologetically reaffirms the American spirit.”

The materials identify Santa Monica, California-based investment bank DelMorgan as Blackhall Americana's investment partner, and count Narcos co-creator Paul Eckstein and entertainment attorney Joel Katz among its leadership.

"Blackhall Americana is going to take a $300 million investment and turn it into a Netflix," the materials state.

Blackhall Studios CEO Ryan Millsap

The company's upcoming campus would build on a run of studio deals in the counties east of Atlanta. The property, just outside of the Covington city limits, is 6 miles south of Cinelease – Three Ring Studios, a 50-acre TV and film production campus that recently got an infusion of capital from CIM Group to expand further.

Blackhall Americana's campus will also be built 10 miles south of Rivian's planned — but not yet approved — $5B electric vehicle manufacturing facility.

Georgia has become a major film and TV production hub, thanks mainly to a lucrative incentive program that gives studios a 20% tax credit for productions of at least $500K and another 10% credit if Georgia's logo is used during the credits. Those credits are transferable, which means studios can sell them to state entities while immediately reaping their benefits.

With Blackhall Americana, Millsap said his ambition is to go far beyond what he accomplished with his debut studio — he wants to create a content service that will rival the giants of the industry.

“This is way beyond Tyler [Perry Studios],” he said. "This is a Netflix competitor."

Millsap, who was in commercial real estate before launching into the studio and, now, content business, is in the midst of a separate large land deal nearby. He put 1,000 acres under contract across the Newton and Walton county border from BPV Real Estate Holdings LLC and Susan Wahl, according to a memorandum of contract filed with the Newton County Superior Court last month.

Millsap said he plans to partner with a major developer to develop that property, which isn't contiguous to Blackhall Americana's site, into a large industrial development.