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Ask a Tennessean where she’s from, and you’ll never get a one-word answer. Tennessee’s division of West, Middle and East are representative of the three distinct aspects of Tennessee life and culture.
West Tennessee thrives on the banks of the Mississippi River. It’s home to a legendary delta culture that includes the Beale Street blues scene, world-famous Memphis barbeque and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll.
Middle Tennessee is our heartland. It’s where you’ll find Nashville – our beautiful capital city – not to mention vast expanses of rolling green hills and forests so dense and lush, they’ve stood in for the jungles of Asia.
In East Tennessee you’ll enjoy the breathtaking vistas and unspoiled forests of the Smoky Mountains, hear the most authentic bluegrass in the world, and experience our fabled Appalachian heritage.
Tennessee has been inspiring storytellers for centuries, and it offers a bounty of locations to make any production a success story.
The Arcade Restaurant is one of Memphis’ oldest eateries and boasts vintage ’50s-style architecture. It’s located on South Main Street, where you can hear the clanging bells of the city’s vintage trolley rail system. Movie buffs have been seeing this classic diner on the big screen for decades, in films such as Mystery Train, Great Balls of Fire, The Client, The Firm, 21 Grams, Elizabethtown, Walk the Line and My Blueberry Nights.
In Downtown Chattanooga, Engel Stadium was built in 1930 and retains a classic grandstand structure. In 2012, millions of moviegoers saw Engel Stadium when it was used as a location for the Jackie Robinson biopic 42. Much of the film’s baseball action was shot at Engel Stadium, which also doubled for Brooklyn’s iconic Ebbets Field.
The Community of Watertown, located just 45 minutes east of Downtown Nashville, is the living embodiment of small-town USA. With its vintage storefront signage, traditional Main Street and film-friendly residents, this town has hosted a number of features, music videos and national commercial spots.
Tennessee Valley Railroad, located just 30 minutes east of Downtown Chattanooga, is privately owned and boasts three miles of controllable track, various topographies, an 18th century stone train tunnel, two early-century train depots and working vintage trains. TVRM has extensive experience working with film production professionals, and their railroad coordinator will collaborate seamlessly with your crew, serving not only as the “train hostler,” but also as an extra location manager and production supervisor.
Besides these privately owned locations, Tennessee offers easy access to state-owned buildings and properties, which are available to filmmakers to use for free. State parks, government buildings and government-owned land are fee-free location possibilities.
One of our most famous fee-free locations is the old Tennessee State Prison. It features unique 19th century architecture, and it’s located just 10 minutes west of Downtown Nashville. It’s been a go-to location for music videos, commercials and features since the early ’90s, including notable productions such as The Last Castle, The Green Mile and Walk the Line.
Another popular fee-free location is the historical Tennessee State Capitol, erected in 1859 in a Greek Ionic temple style.
Fall Creek Falls, located in one of our most famous state parks, boasts the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River, and is also available fee-free to filmmakers. When Disney needed an Asian jungle setting for The Jungle Book, they didn’t have to haul their cast and crew halfway around the world; they simply brought their production to Fall Creek Falls.
Tennessee is a temperate climate, with mild winters and warm summers. Temperatures ranges vary across the three regions due to their individualistic geological features, with late winter and early spring being the wettest seasons.
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Tennessee offers a vast array of deciduous and evergreen trees. In the spring, blooming dogwoods and rhododendron draw tourists by the thousands. By late April and early May, the trees and foliage are dense and green with summer leaves.
Tennessee’s autumn foliage flows across the state and reaches a crescendo in East Tennessee. In the East, color change begins in early October and peaks around the third week of the month, and is usually gone by Thanksgiving. In Middle and West Tennessee, color change begins in mid-October and peaks by Halloween, ending in early December.
Tennessee is home to five commercial airports, two of which have international service.
Nashville International offers 380 daily arriving and departing flights to 50 markets across the country. Memphis International – home to the FedEx global headquarters – is the busiest cargo airport in the United States.
No permits are required to film within the borders of Tennessee, unless you want to film on State property or Municipalities. If this is the case, just give us a call at 615.741.3456.
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