Cherokee Office of Economic Development · Cherokee by Choice.

Reel. Community. Connection.

December 7, 2021

Reel. Community. Connection.

Italians singing from balconies.

Just as the pandemic was hitting Georgia, we watched as the Italians, a few weeks ahead of us, took to their balconies to connect al fresco. That video, which went viral in half a blink, was the harbinger—both of the pandemic, and one of its finer silver linings.

As we sheltered in place, we connected through film. Both personally and professionally shot, film revealed our common struggles, celebrations, victories, and milestones. It helped us laugh at ourselves, see from new perspectives, and caused us to profoundly consider our role in these times. Through that connection, we found community.

Film entertained and transported us, momentarily, from our difficulties—and through our shared bewilderment at Baskin and our love for Lasso, we connected again.

With community and connection fueling media consumption, streaming subscriptions skyrocketed, and content creation saw unprecedented demand. To meet that demand, Georgia’s Film Production Industry blazed the trail back to set by implementing groundbreaking health protocols.

Cherokee, whose reputation for creative problem solving with film teams is well known, stood ready to safely host filming.

Location Manager Dodd Vickers was one of the first to scout our community post-pandemic for the film High Expectations, starring Kelsey Grammer.  “Cherokee has always been supportive and responsive,” said Vickers, whose team chose Canton and Woodstock locations due to walkability as shuttle travel for crew was not yet permitted. Remarkably, even with scores of extras, the team never had one positive covid test. “The things we learned early on helped people in other markets. We had nothing but support from the community while there.”

Cherokee’s trademark adaptability yielded a record-breaking number of inquiries and projects in 2020 and is on track to exceed those numbers for 2021, having attracted more complex productions such as Marvel’s Hawkeye, which filmed in Downtown Canton.

Our local film scene has been strong, as well.  Cherokee-based screenwriters have cranked out new scripts, videography and streaming businesses have opened, filmmakers have mounted CDC compliant film teams, and creatives with dreams have hammered away at ideas.

Ideas like Stream MOKO—the new “good moods only” streaming platform that shares profits with a charity of the subscriber’s choice, launched from Woodstock in October.  Once a brain spark from local filmmaker/producer Thomas Cantley, the idea caught fire when Thomas met graphic designer Tom Cox at the Cherokee Film Summit.  The two connected, and less than two years later, Stream MOKO launched.  “I admired Tom’s work for a while—he is a genius.  And now he’s MOKO’s Chief Creative Director.” Previously a summit instructor seeking to inspire local filmmakers, this year Thomas Cantley will return to the Cherokee Film Summit seeking something else. “MOKO is looking for content creators.”

To celebrate these silver linings, COED happily announces the return of the Cherokee Film Summit. Designed to cultivate our film community by bringing business partners, film industry professionals, and local creatives together to create meaningful connections, the in-person Cherokee Film Summit features breakout sessions, networking, and expert panelists to ignite your reel ideas and provides connections for seeing them through.  To quote Cantley, “The Cherokee Film Summit is a great place to connect with people – you never know how they’re going to be a part of your life.

The 2022 Cherokee Film Summit is an initiative of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development and will be presented at the YANMAR EVO//Center on January 27, 2022, from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm. 

Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite or by visiting our website at
For more information on the Cherokee Film Summit, email Film Project Manager Molly Mercer at or call 770.345.0600.