Can Memphis Still Make It Big In The Movies?

By Ted Evanoff
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Memphis resident Marie Pizano has opened MVP3 Entertainment Group, bought the movie rights to six local books, and this month brought aboard Hollywood insider Steven Sahlein to help produce four films. Is Pizano about to turn Memphis into Hollywood East?

The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

Marie Pizano never has made a blockbuster movie, though in America’s new golden age of film, which we live in now, even divorced single moms in Memphis can dream of motion picture fame.

“I’m sitting on a gold mine of Memphis stories,” Pizano said. “I want to make movies out of them.”

Actually seated in a Downtown cafe the other day, talking about her life, Pizano offered her own storyline:

She has opened MVP3 Entertainment Group at 5100 Poplar, bought the movie rights to six local books, and this month brought aboard Hollywood insider Steven Sahlein to help produce four films.

Sahlein once worked as a Walt Disney Co. studio executive on 35 films ranging from “Sister Act” with actress Whoopi Goldberg to “What About Bob?” with actor Bill Murray. His role at MVP3 isn’t signing movie stars. It’s signing deals with bankers and the film distributors who put the movies in the theaters.

Are Sahlein and Pizano about to turn Memphis into Hollywood East?

Not hardly, though something else interesting is at play.

“Nashville gets all the glory with country western, but we think Memphis needs a shot in the arm like this,” Sahlein said. “We can do it. We can make the right movies at the right price.”

Remember Tom Cruise?

Since the 1993 debut of “The Firm,” a motion picture that shows actor Tom Cruise outwit a mob law firm, filming has ticked up in Memphis. But nothing big has come in like the $42 million Paramount Pictures budgeted for the Cruise film.

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