The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) reports that the film industry recorded a blockbuster year in Georgia with the film and television industry setting a new record with $4 billion in direct spending on productions in the state during the 2021 fiscal year.
The Georgia Film Office (a division of GDEcD) says these numbers are due to a variety of factors in addition to the state’s overall attractiveness to the film industry, including an earlier safe return to production, pent-up demand from the COVID-19 hiatus, and the associated expenses to mitigate risk. New safety protocols also added to production costs and timelines.
For more than a decade, Georgia’s film industry has posted exponential growth to become an epicenter of film, with new record spending regularly set by productions. Today, in addition to a wide range of natural and physical settings from the mountains to the coast that are ideal for production, Georgia also offers 2.1 million square feet in purpose-built stage space and 3.2 million in retrofitted stage and dedicated warehouse space. New support service company announcements are a regular occurrence. In fiscal year 2021, 366 productions filmed in the state, represented by 21 feature films, 45 independent films, 222 television and episodic productions, 57 commercials, and 21 music videos.
Georgia was the first state to provide a “best practices” guide for film and television during COVID-19, which assisted the rapid return to filming in the state. The “COVID-19: Georgia Best Practices for Film and Television” production guide for studios was provided by the Georgia Film Office, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). The Guide complemented the safety protocols released by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force to help ensure a safe workplace environment and reduce the spread of the virus.
Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp (who initiated an unpopular voting law earlier this year, causing some concerns of production leaving the state) said, “Because Georgia was the first state in the country to re-open our economy and worked with film productions across the state to ensure they could safely continue operations, the Peach State’s film industry is leading the nation. As the top state for business for an unprecedented eighth year in a row, the jobs, economic development, and investment in film and other supporting industries are a key part of Georgia’s success story. This record-breaking announcement also highlights Georgia’s incredible momentum in economic recovery as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Georgia House of Representatives Speaker, David Ralston, added, “This year’s record-breaking spending by the film industry demonstrates that our efforts to grow jobs for Georgians continue to pay dividends. With an industry-leading film tax credit, a ready workforce and a business-friendly attitude, Georgia is perfectly positioned to continue attracting more productions and the jobs they will support. Our continuing success is a testament to what can happen when the public and private sector work together to expand economic opportunity in every corner of our great state.”
In June 2020, the major motion picture, television, and streaming companies committed to bringing back and hiring an estimated 40,000 production workers to work on 75 production projects in the state that would invest over $2 billion into the Georgia economy over the following 18 months.
On this plan, GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson says, “The growth of Georgia’s film industry is truly exciting, impacting every corner of our state from communities to small businesses to individual Georgians. Seeing our beautiful state on-screen along with our iconic Georgia peach logo is good for tourism and other marketing efforts, ultimately making an even bigger impact on our economy. The Georgia Film Office has been working with our Camera Ready communities, productions, education partners, and so many more to make sure we are responsive and continuing to capitalize on the benefits for small and large communities across Georgia.”
Georgia Film Office Director Lee Thomas says, “Georgia allowed productions to return before other markets, so we not only had returning shows that shut down due to the pandemic, but we were also able to attract new shows that were slated to shoot in other, locked down markets. This additional slate of projects, combined with increased budgets due to the need for additional crew and space, plus stringent safety measures, led Georgia to have an even higher than projected record year.”
According to the report, productions filmed in Georgia earned 62 Emmy nominations from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences last week. Shows that shot in Georgia include Marvel Studios‘ Disney+ series Wandavision with 23 nomintions, HBO‘s Lovecraft Country with 18, Amazon‘s The Underground Railroad with 7, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (also from Marvel/Disney+) with five.
Upcoming films that shot in Georgia and will be released soon, include the Dwayne Johson–Emily Blunt adventure film, Jungle Cruise; James Gunn‘s DC/Warner Bros. superhero movie, The Suicide Squad; and the Universal Pictures musical, Dear Evan Hansen.
Despite the effects of COVID-19 on production in 2020, causing shutdowns, productions spent $2.2 billion in Georgia during the previous fiscal year, which was down from the $2.9 billion spent in 2019 on Georgia production.
For a list of Georgia-lensed productions currently in theaters, streaming online, or set to premiere soon, visit “Release Dates for Georgia-Lensed Productions.” To learn more about productions currently filming in Georgia, you can visit “Now Filming in Georgia.”