Film industry in Georgia (U.S. state)
The film industry in Georgia was, in 2010, the fourth largest among U.S. states, eclipsed only by California, New York State, and Louisiana. The industry in Georgia was boosted substantially by tax incentives introduced in 2002 and strengthened in 2008. The state government claims $770 million in economic impact to Georgia (2009), while industry sources claim that the tax subsidy costs the state $141 million (2010). Atlanta is the center of the film industry in Georgia with Turner, Tyler Perry and EUE/Screen Gems studios located there. There were 348 productions shot in the state in 2009. Films shot in Georgia include Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns (2008), Life as We Know It (2010), and Contagion (2011).
Research by Film Works L.A., a campaign to keep movie production in Los Angeles, shows Georgia in the #4 position (or if including Canadian provinces, #5 in North America). Note that California, #1 is not included in the chart:
|New York State (2009)||1,880||85||30||119||367|
|British Columbia (2010)||778||36||14||94||129|
The state’s first tax incentive, a point of purchase sales and use tax exemption, was introduced in 2002. The state’s second and most progressive tax incentive, the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, was signed into law in May 2005 and updated in May 2008. The act granted qualified productions a transferable income tax credit of 20% of all in-state costs for film and television investments of $500,000 or more. An additional 10% tax credit was awarded to approved projects that embed a Georgia Entertainment Promotional logo within the titles or credits of each production.
In 2005 Georgia spent $10.3 million on its film incentive. That amount increased to $140.6 million by 2010.
Impact on economy
The Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office states that more than 700 feature films, TV movies, TV series, single episodes and pilots have been produced in Georgia since 1972, generating $7 billion in economic impact. They estimate the economic impact of entertainment industry projects that they handled in 2009 was $770 million.
According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development:
- There are more than 5,000 individual technicians and other workers in Georgia
- The average number of local employees on a medium budget feature film is about 150-175
- On a larger budget production there are about 200-250 local employees
- The average feature film budget is $41.7 million
- The average amount (below-the-line) of feature film budget spent in a state is 60% - 70%. This is higher for locally produced projects.
Atlanta has become a center for film and television production and counts the presence of Turner Studios, which produces content for the Turner Broadcasting family of stations; since 2008 the Tyler Perry Studios in Southwest Atlanta; and since 2010 the EUE/Screen Gems soundstages in Lakewood Heights, south Atlanta, and to a limited extent, the facilities of Georgia Public Broadcasting, where the first season of Swift Justice with Nancy Grace was taped using state tax credits. Both films and many popular TV shows such as the Real Housewives of Atlanta, Tyler Perry's series, and Family Feud (since Season 13 of the 1999 revival, starting in 2011) are produced in Atlanta.
Productions in Georgia
There were 348 productions shot in the state in 2009. These industry establishments are supported wholly or in part by the production of feature films; television movies, series, pilots and miniseries; commercials, music videos, documentaries and still shoots.
Films shot in Metro Atlanta
Films shot in Atlanta include Little Darlings (1980), Sharky's Machine (1981), Driving Miss Daisy (1989),Outbreak (1995), Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns (2008), Life as We Know It (2010), and Contagion (2011).
Covington in Metro Atlanta has been home to dozens of feature and television projects that include the hit TV series The Vampire Diaries and In the Heat of the Night. Although many types of films are shot in Atlanta, the New York Times in 2011 recognized the particular concentration of horror and zombie-themed productions in the city.
Films shot outside Metro Atlanta
- Crawfordville has been host to more than 8 feature films and television movies ("Get Low," "Sweet Home Alabama," "The Neon Bible," "Stars and Bars," "The Coward of the County")
- Savannah has been host to dozens of feature film and television projects that include: "The Last Song," "The Conspirator," "The Legend of Bagger Vance," "Forrest Gump," "The Gift," "Glory," "Forces of Nature," and "The General’s Daughter"
- Columbus hosted "The Fighting Temptations" at its River Center for the Performing Arts
- Rome, Georgia hosted "Sweet Home Alabama," as well as "The Mosquito Coast," "Remember the Titans" and "Class of 61".
- Americus was host to the TV movie "To Dance with the White Dog".
- The small town of Juliette was revitalized when "Fried Green Tomatoes" was largely shot there