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New council to encourage more TV, film projects in Nashville


Robert Altman's Nashville, The Green Mile, Hee-Haw, The Last Castle, StokerErnest Goes to Jail and the TV series Nashville all have one thing in common. They're just a few of the TV and film projects shot in Music City. Now, Mayor Karl Dean is hoping a new council will help lure more big-time productions to Nashville.

"Students coming here are very committed," said Richard Gershman, the new chairman of the film school at Watkins College of Art Design and Film. "They're deciding what they're going to do with their lives. It's not something they're feeling out or sampling. It's a big commitment."

Gershman has some impressive directing and assistant directing credits.

"Got started in the late '80s with LA Law," said Gershman. "I did Chicago Hope, Judging Amy. I did a season of Ugly Betty that moved to New York. I did a season of Lost. I was in Hawaii for that."

Watching students cutting and trimming video in an editing class, Gershman said his new gig is all about paying it forward.

"The idea is to give back that accumulated knowledge to continue to challenge myself in new ways," he explained.

Gershman added, the future for his students looks good.

In a press conference Thursday, Dean announced the formation of the Film, Television and Transmedia Council.

Gershman is part of the council of local high schools, universities and nonprofits that will discuss how to nurture and grow Nashville's film and television presence. 

"It's a natural place to make movies," Gershman explained. "There's a lot of talent here. There's a lot of studios present, and though they're mostly music, they're physically here."

"The show, Nashville, has not only employed many actors, music artists and production workers, but has also generated increased tourism dollars that can be applied to many areas of our city's budget including education and healthcare," said Dean.

Gershman said his hope is to guide students toward the art he loves.

"By having a council that meets periodically and has an agenda, there can be some movement in that area," he said.

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