COVINGTON — Three Ring Studios manager Rahim Charania gave a rousing speech to community leaders Thursday night, praising the vision of local officials who worked to bring Three Ring Studios to Covington.
Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Staffins introduced Charania to the audience at the Chamber’s annual meeting, saying that it was fitting that 2017 has been declared The Year of Film for the state of Georgia. “There is no better way to start the Year of Film than to also celebrate this theme tonight,” said Staffins.
Three Ring Studios was also honored as the Chamber’s Deal of the Year for 2016. The project, which has not yet broken ground, promises to bring an investment of more than $100 million, create more than 1,700 high-paying technical jobs and establish one of the largest studios in the east metro area. The facility will be located off Ga. Highway 142 near Covington Municipal Airport.
Charania is chief executive officer of American Fueling Systems, a Georgia-based company specializing in alternative fuels. He has also served as president of CGC Global, an investment and advisory group in the fueling station sector, and has been named Outstanding Young Alumnus by Georgia State University.
Charania spoke of Covington and Newton County’s long association with the film industry and the economic impact it has had and will continue to have on the community and the state.
“Last year alone the film and TV industry spent over $2 billion of direct spend in the state of Georgia with a total economic impact of over $7 billion,” Charania said. “While the city of Covington and Newton County have been able to capture their fair share of these dollars, with the development of Three Ring Studios I believe we will hit a whole new level of work in this area.”
Charania said, when completed, Three Ring Studios will be one of the largest film and TV production campuses in Georgia, consisting of three campuses of more than 600,000 square feet of sound stage space, 250,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of support and work space.
“It will house Georgia’s first post-production and game development campus and will provide space for the education of the leaders of tomorrow in this industry,” said Charania.
The goal in planning Three Ring Studios, he said, was to develop a facility that would integrate the three phases of video production — pre-production, production and post-production — so that “everybody who is making a movie, making a commercial or making a TV show only has one county on their mind — and that is Newton County.”
Charania said it was the “visionary mindset” of local leaders that helped to move this project — and others that preceded it — forward.
“But like anything else, these can only be achieved with a commitment to overcoming perceived risks and having a long-term perspective,” Charania said. “Too many times, great cities and counties all over our great nation sacrificed long-term growth because of short-term inconveniences or perceived risks that are inherent in anything we do. What makes this Chamber great, what makes this county great, and what makes the city of Covington great is that they can look beyond this, and they have the strength of conviction to say that we care about our community a lot more than we are scared by those risks that might be out there.”