Film industry in Georgia
The film industry in Georgia became the largest among U.S. states for production of feature films in 2016. The industry in Georgia was boosted substantially by tax incentives introduced in 2002 and strengthened in 2008. Just in the fiscal year 2017 film and TV production had an economic impact in Georgia of $9.5 billion, 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), Contagion (2011) and a number of Marvel Studios productions including Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, as well as Ant Man and the Wasp and Black Panther. Atlanta has been called the "Hollywood of the South".
Georgia overtook California in 2016 as the state location with the most feature films produced.
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. This vanity card, usually seen in closing credits, is rendered as an image of the Georgia Department of Economic Development's peach logo, a link to the GDEC's filming-specific tourism website, and a male voice saying or a woman singing "Made in Georgia".
In 2005 Georgia spent $10.3 million on its film incentive. That amount increased to $140.6 million by 2010. By the fiscal year 2015, the amount spent by Georgia in issued tax credits for the year was just over $504 million.
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. In fiscal year 2017 film and TV production had an economic impact in Georgia of $9.5 billion.
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 (from 2011 to 2017) are produced in Atlanta, while Floyd County Productions's FXX animated series Archer and several Adult Swim animated series are also produced under GEDC tax credits. In 2014, Pinewood Studios opened a large studio in Fayette County, Georgia. Films such as Ant Man and Captain America: Civil War have been shot at the studio.
Productions in Georgia
There were 348 productions shot in the state in 2009. These industry establishments are probably 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 including Get Low, Sweet Home Alabama, The Neon Bible, Stars and Bars and 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 RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.
- Rome 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.
- Sherwood Pictures produced the Christian theme films Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous, all filmed in and around Albany.
- The American post-apocalyptic zombie comedy Zombieland amusement park scenes were filmed at Wild Adventures theme park in Valdosta.
- The Walking Dead is shot nearly all in Georgia. The first season used many locations in and around Atlanta, and subsequent seasons have moved to a 120 acres (0.49 km2) lot outside of Senoia and additional locations nearby.
- Stranger Things was principally filmed in Jackson as a stand-in for the fictional "Hawkins, Indiana", with other nearby areas serving as other sets.
- "Marvel VP: Not true Marvel is 'abandoning' Georgia (Video)". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
- Simmons, Kenna. "GA GA LAND Georgia's film industry spurs big plans beyond production". georgiatrend.com. Georgia Trend Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
- Stevens, Tiffany (29 August 2015). "How Atlanta became the Hollywood of the South". The Washington Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
- Georgia Department of Economic Development Archived February 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Film Works L.A.
- Bell, Kandice (February 25, 2017). "Pinewood Studios expanding to accommodate film industry in Ga". Times Herald.
- Robbie Brown, "Zombie Apocalypse? Atlanta Says Bring It On", New York Times, October 18, 2011
- Pane, Lisa Marie (October 22, 2017). "'The Walking Dead' reaches 100th episode milestone". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- Wigler, Josh (October 23, 2017). "'Walking Dead' Turns 100: Taking a Stroll Through the Show's Apocalyptic Set". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- Gross, Dough (July 19, 2016). "New Netflix Show 'Stranger Things' Films in Georgia". The Wrap. Retrieved September 15, 2016.