Just last week, another major production studio set up shop in Gonzales for a round of filming. On Monday, Nov. 25 and Tuesday, Nov. 26 a film crew producing an AMC project codenamed “Monarch” shut down Saint Francis St. with burned-out cars, simulated smoke and zombies.
“Monarch” is rumored to be the codename for AMC’s TV show “Fear the Walking Dead,” a prequel to AMC’s fan-favorite drama “Walking Dead.” This most recent round of filming marks the third known time a studio producing an AMC show has filmed in the county this year, with crews at the Edwards Community Center and near Ottine over summer.
Opportunities like this arise for Gonzales because of the city’s Film Friendly Texas certification. Since becoming certified in 2016, the city was featured in AMC’s western program “The Son,” had the Come and Take It Celebration highlighted in an episode of the Comedy Central docuseries “Klepper,” had the old county jail visited by several ghost hunters and was home to several small music videos.
Gonzales’ distinction as a “film-friendly” community is granted by the Texas Film Commission and, among other benefits, streamlines the permitting process for production studios. Gonzales becoming film friendly certified was driven by a joint project between the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and the city itself.
Chamber Executive Director Daisy Scheske Freeman, who serves as a point of contact for any studios interested in filming in Gonzales, maintains that the certification is a net positive for the community and ensures Gonzales remain a viable filming location for interested studios.
“Anytime I receive notification from a scout, I always try to respond as fast as I can to stay on top of things,” Freeman said.
Freeman further mentioned that she had been asked to speak on film friendly community panels several times and shared a picture that shows the Texas Film Commission using a photo from when Gonzales became certified in a PowerPoint presentation shown at conferences.
The Texas Film Commission lists lodging, catering, transportation, location fees, lumber, construction supplies and local hires as possible economic impacts from being a film friendly Texas community.