Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce members heard from Georgia Film Office representatives Wednesday during the October installment of Eggs & Issues.
They discussed what has made Georgia such a popular location for filming over the last decade or so, and shared the impact the industry has had on the state.
Formed in 1973 by former Gov. Jimmy Carter, the state film office is part of Georgia’s economic development efforts.
“What we do is market the state as a TV and film location,” said Craig Dominey, senior film location specialist for the Georgia Film Office. “We’ve done a pretty good job of that, I think.”
Later in his presentation, Dominey provided figures to support his statement that his office’s efforts have had a significant economic impact in the state.
But first, he gave a quick history lesson. The success of the film “Deliverance,” partially shot in North Georgia’s Rabun County, caused former Gov. Carter to create the Georgia Film Office.
“Gov. Carter at the time saw the economic impact that movie brought to Rabun County, so he wanted to bring more of the business to Georgia,” said Dominey.
Since big dollars are at stake, the race among states and countries to recruit productions is competitive. Production companies are often looking for two key aspects when selecting filming sites: tax incentives and locations that fit their story. Canada took a big step in 1997 when its government passed the first tax incentive given to studios that shoot their projects in the country. Louisiana jumped on board in 2001, making it the first state to create an incentive program. Dominey, whose has been with the Georgia Film Office for about 20 years, said a major turning point came when the 2004 film “Ray” chose to film in Louisiana rather than Georgia. About a year after the premiere of the Ray Charles biopic, Georgia’s first version of a filming tax incentive program was solidified in 2005. A second version, which is still in use today, was passed in 2008. Since then the state has seen a huge boom when it comes to filming. Georgia is now third in the country behind only California and New York in terms of production.
“If it weren’t for the incentive program, we’d be nowhere near that close to the top of the list,” Dominey said.
The 2008 bill gives studios the opportunity to get up to 30% back on their film investment in tax incentives. In addition to promoting the …….