Film studio complex moves to South Carolina

YORK CO., SC– “The film industry is the number one industry that attracts tourism dollars and York County gets it,” said Studio South President, Bert Hesse.

Studio South President Bert Hesse says he’s teaming up with the Catawba Indian Nation for a $350 million state-of-the art studio complex. It will be built on 120 acres between Dave Lyle Boulevard and Sturgis Road.

“Anything that’s going to be beneficial and profitable for the Nation, I’m going to say is going to be a good economic development project,” said Catawba Nation Chief, Bill Harris.

Hesse tried working with Charlotte city leaders to buy the old Eastland Mall site, but that fell through.

“We have lifted our master plan from to what called Studio Charlotte to Catawba Studios,” said Hesse.

There will be three districts. First is sound stages, second is the educational component, where universities in SC will be on the lot for film schools, and then retail, and restaurants.


While the project is still in the works Catawba Nation purchased a production company Red Heritage, they’re renting space in Fort Mill already working on projects, then the equipment plus much more will be part of Catawba Studios.

Red Heritage President Chris Cates says being lured from Charlotte wasn’t hard.


“Our state legislature helped a little bit with that when they put a knife in the film incentives,” said Cates.

Cates says with South Carolina incentives and the Catawba Tribe resources it’s a perfect fit.

“Our potential is immense in terms of the volume of work we can do,” said Cates.

Hesse says this plan is different than in Charlotte, and a much better fit.

“We weren’t looking to just buy 84 acres, we were looking for a partner to help us develop an industry in a state, and that’s what we have been able to find in South Carolina a partner in the Catawba Indian Nation,” said Hesse.

The Catawba Nation will own the land and finance much of the project with Federal Indian grants.

Studio South will manage the film business. They plan to break ground before the end of the year.