For many years, we rejected film permissions after an incident where a somewhat ghoulish independent film was produced at Hillcrest (without our involvement) that some families happened upon and were upset about.
Then in 2019, HBO-affiliated producers contacted us about filming basic cemetery scenes for Stephen King's The Outsider limited series. They convinced us to give it another try and made a nice donation to our non-profit's maintenance fund. (The cemetery is maintained solely through volunteers and tax-deductible donations.) This came at a time when we were about to run out of mowing funds. We realized we have been missing an opportunity, so we now welcome you to Hillcrest.
Nearly a mile of paved and gravel drives
Wide-open, well-maintained areas typical of the latter half of the 20th century to today
An historic section with late Victorian monuments and large trees, reminiscent of small European graveyards
Sunny and shaded old and modern areas
Grand oaks, hickories, magnolias and cedars
Adjacent kudzu fields (not something we love but may be just what you need)
Overgrown areas around the edges with graves in the brushy areas (subject to change)
A hilly wooded section with "lost" grave markers
Terraced sections that allow equipment to be parked in the cemetery out of sight of cameras
A modern flat bronze marker section across the street from the main cemetery
Known empty lots throughout the cemetery that can be used for open or closed grave scenes (At this time, we also have two large areas of grave spaces available for sale which may be used for filming without concern about proximity to actual graves—subject to change.)
The ability and willingness to adjust maintenance schedules to assist with continuity and scene-setting
We are open to special needs for production such as limb removal, removing certain other growth, etc.
Infrequent visitors—Because Hillcrest is an old, mostly sold-out cemetery, and due to population shifts, we only have about one burial per month and maybe 2-3 family visits per week
A cooperative city government that welcomes the film industry. We are not city-owned property so city permits are not required for all productions, but certain film activities such as overnight filming and effects that could create perceived public safety impacts (simulated weapons, fire, smoke, etc.) can trigger the city's film permit process. Please visit the link in this bullet point for details and additional notification requirements.
We have no involvement with family rights to visit graves and can not control when a funeral may be planned for any given location. Both are much less common here than most cemeteries.
We have reasonable content restrictions for extreme violence, gore, and scenes that may be commonly construed as sacrilegious or offensive to families of this largely Christian burial ground, however these are negotiable considering value, context and extent.
We request that names on actual memorial markers be reasonably minimized to background, and never featured.
No equipment, food, beverage, tools or personnel may be placed on or leaned against memorial markers or other stonework without explicit authorization.
We are working on developing a structured pricing schedule for small productions, and looking for a representative to represent us on larger productions. For the time being, we have a minimum fee of $1000 for any professional filming and $500 for true student film projects (evidence required). This minimum is mainly because our current chairman/film representative lives so far away and will need to visit at least twice for most productions with travel cost reimbursement. Please email email@example.com for details.
This photo album was taken at about 10am on January 18, 2022 with filming in mind. Note that some of the overgrown areas and stray shrubs are expected to be cleaned up over the course of the next year, but some of the worst areas will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future. We can focus volunteer efforts on other areas if you need a location preserved as is, within limits.