Georgia’s film industry is booming and Rep. Terry Rogers wants to keep it that way. Governor Nathan Deal recently appointed the Clarkesville Republican to serve as a member of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Advisory Commission.
“It is a great honor to be appointed by Gov. Deal to serve on this important commission,” Rogers says. “Georgia is widely known as the ‘Hollywood of the South’ and the ‘Music Capital of the South,’ and the film, music and digital industries have brought great economic growth to our state.”
In 2017, there were 320 feature films and TV shows shot in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). Those projects included two of this year’s biggest releases, Avengers: Infinity Wars and Black Panther.
Other major movie releases to come out of Georgia recently include The Hunger Games trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-man: Homecoming, and Sully.
Netflix original series Stranger Things is currently filming in Atlanta and the cult-favorite Walking Dead continues to film in Senoia. There currently is a Hallmark movie in production at Toccoa Falls.
“Last year, Georgia had more film and television productions filmed on site than any other state, including California and New York,” says Rogers. “You’re looking at $9.5 billion of economic impact for the state.”
Tax incentives and locales
Rogers credits a variety of factors with the boom in Georgia’s film industry. Those factors include generous state tax credits. Georgia’s status as a ‘right to work’ state, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and the state’s diverse terrain.
“From the islands to the highlands, we have it all,” he says, citing an old film industry ad. “Anything you want to film you can film in the State of Georgia. From mountain to beach scenes to urban areas, whatever.”
Georgia’s music industry, too, is growing.
Frequently referred to as the “Music Capital of the South,” Georgia is home to one of the world’s largest networks of music artists, composers, producers, engineers and other professionals, according to the GDEcD website.
Last year, state lawmakers approved – and Gov. Deal signed into law – the state’s first-ever tax incentive targeted for musicians and music production. The music industry has an annual economic impact of over $3 billion, according to the political advocacy group Georgia Music Partners (GMP). The new tax incentives are expected to increase that.
These tax incentives save production companies millions of dollars annually. Still, Rogers says the state more than makes up what it gives away by luring these lucrative industries to Georgia.
“People might wonder why the film and music industries are so important to Georgia,” Rogers says. “It’s all about local businesses really. It’s a great opportunity for people to expand on their businesses. That’s one of the things that’s impressed me so much is that they’re (production companies) committed to using as much in the way of local resources as they possibly can.” He adds, “I’m looking forward to serving alongside my fellow commission members as we continue to attract these thriving and diverse industries to Georgia.”
For more information on the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, click here.