Production decisions are currently being made for the filming of the movie Big Stone Gap, based on the novel by Adriana Trigiani. Big Stone Gap is a great read, as is her entire series, and it really captures the small town essence of Appalachia (the region, not to be confused with the neighboring town of the same name).
One would think that a story about a quaint town in Southwest Virginia would logically lend to the movie being filmed in that very location. "Big Stone", or "The Gap", as we natives of Wise County refer to it, is truly a special town and would make a great backdrop to any film, but especially this one. But there's a good chance this movie depicting small town life in Appalachia in the 1970's and 80's will be shot in South Carolina.
Trigiani will be directing the film and, if she had her way, would be making it in Big Stone in a heartbeat. The film's Los Angeles producers are looking for greener (read $$) pastures, thus the consideration of South Carolina, which is currently offering financial incentives to expand the state as a filmmaking location. So far, it is not clear if Virginia will ante up to South Carolina's incentives.
Not only would the decision to film in Big Stone Gap make the best sense, it also has economic ramifications. The town has been anticipating the economic benefits of the movie being shot on location, as well as the tourist draw. Tourism has been highly promoted by key decision makers as a future economy for the region, and what better chance to reinforce that vision than by filming this homegrown Appalachian story?
Luckily, a final decision has not been made. There's a strong grassroots effort to still bring the film to it namesake location. The website Film Big Stone Gap in the Gap, is spearheading the effort to have the film shot where it should be; in Appalachia, in Southwest Virginia, in Wise County, in Big Stone Gap!
Give them a visit and lend your support to this great Appalachian town.