Hollywood comes to Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's been a decade since a big studio picture was shot in Memphis, but a TV show about one of the city's most famous landmarks and other television and independent film projects are bringing big bucks into the city.

When 'Sun Records' begins airing this month on CMT, many are hoping it does for Memphis what the show 'Nashville' has done for the Music City.

guitar"It`s going to be great for tourism. It`s going to mean a whole lot for our music heritage and it also has sparked interest in other projects coming here," said Linn Sitler.

Thanks to a $4 million grant from the state, crews spent five months in Memphis shooting the TV series about Sun Records' founder Sam Phillips and the music legends he discovered.

The History of Sun Record Company

They also pumped more than $6 million into the economy and hired 900 locals.

Singer and musician Will Tucker landed a speaking role and can't wait for Memphis to be in the spotlight.

"Memphis is a city with so much history and so much potential, and unlike other cities we have all the history and it is all still here."

That's something others are now realizing too. WREG was told 2016 was a record year for Memphis as TV and film crews spent over $8.5 million in the city and provided more than 2,000 jobs. hollywood

The Memphis and Shelby County Film Commission said if the state offered tax incentives, there's no question Hollywood would be sending more big budget projects this way.  But films are not just being shot in Memphis, they're being developed here as well.

"Mississippi Grind is my favorite that we`ve done."

Ben Nearn, an investment banker turned movie maker, started Sycamore Pictures in 2011.

"I really just got burned out in investment banking," he said.

Sycamore Pictures was behind the Sundance Film Festival favorite 'The Way, Way Back' and the John Carney written and directed movie 'Begin Again.'

"Yeah, a lot of stuff originated here in this office."

sycamore-picturesNearn said he has a partner in Los Angeles, but chose to stay in Memphis. When he's not on a film set, he's screening the dailies.

"I`ve always loved film and so I was never really audacious enough to really dream to be in it."

Up next for Sycamore Pictures?

The Felicity Jones and Anthony Hopkins thriller 'Collide' and the comedy 'Speech and Debate.' He also wants to make a movie about the Memphis Sanitation Strike in 1968, which will be shot here.

"Would be a crime in my mind to not shoot that in Memphis because it is so at the basic level about Memphis."

One thing's for sure, his movies are making an impact in Hollywood.