Film Crews Make a Glitzy Hollywood out of Georgia; A 30 Percent Tax Credit Has Lured Film and TV Crews Here along with Economic Impact

The Florida Times Union, September 17, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Film Crews Make a Glitzy Hollywood out of Georgia; A 30 Percent Tax Credit Has Lured Film and TV Crews Here along with Economic Impact


By WALTER C. JONES

ATLANTA - Tractor-trailor trucks circled the Capitol, and cables snaked through its hallways Wednesday as a production company filmed scenes for a Fox television series.

The lights, cameras and dozens of T-shirt-clad technicians served as the perfect setting for state officials to trumpet the impact of tax breaks enacted into law in 2008. In the 16 months since the 30 percent tax credit took affect, 60 feature films, television movies, series and specials have been produced in Georgia, representing $521 million in investment and a $929 million economic impact.

Productions have ranged from the Lifetime cable TV series "Drop Dead Diva" that films in Peachtree City to Disney star Miley Cyrus' movie "The Last Song" that filmed on Tybee Island.

Currently shooting at the Capitol is Fox's production of "Past Life." It took over the offices of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, which is a stand-in for a fictitious Florida law firm.

"When we worked for the passage of [the tax breaks] in the Senate, I didn't expect to see the fruition of our efforts first-hand with a film crew working out of my office," Cagle said in a statement.

He didn't see it first-hand because his staff scheduled him to work elsewhere, perhaps because his acting skills were not going to be employed in the show. But dozens of Georgia-based production technicians have been employed as a result of the new level of entertainment production.

Policymakers like the quick spark in employment, an economic stimulus that resulted in a clean industry and high-paying jobs, Cagle said.

Georgia is tops in the Southeast and among the top three states nationally in production, according to Bill Thompson, deputy commissioner of Georgia's Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office housed in the Department of Economic Development.

"The thing that has certainly made the difference is the competitive incentives we have put in place," he said. "We have seen activity throughout the state."

To cash in on the full tax credit, movies, videos and other productions must include the state's peach logo in either a scene or in the credits.

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