Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Speaker David Ralston: film tax credit here to stay

The tax incentives that have lured a steady and growing stream of movie and television projects to Georgia are here to stay as long as Gov. Nathan Deal and Speaker David Ralston have anything to say about it.

They and Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson were joined by actors dressed as Captain America, Thor and Katniss Everdeen (whose other doppelgangers, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence must have been busy) for Georgia Film Day. 

The Wednesday morning event was held in the Capitol building, a doubly appropriate location as it’s the site where legislators have passed and kept intact Georgia’s film-friendly tax policies as well as the site where numerous movie and television projects have filmed.

The statehouse was turned into a lovely train station for “The Lost Valentine,” a 2011 Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie starring Betty White and Jennifer Love Hewitt. It became a courthouse for both the 2015 movie “Kill the Messenger,” with Jeremy Renner and Rosemarie DeWitt, and “Selma,” the Golden Globe-nominated picture starring David Oyelowo as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

One area in the building actually became a nightclub in the comedy “Ride Along 2,” starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, and Deal allowed his office to be trashed temporarily so the pilot for the now-canceled TV show “Revolution,” about people stumbling through life without electricity, could film there in 2012.

Ahead of the event, folks who attended posed for photos with actors dressed as characters from movies that have filmed in Georgia, including “Captain America: Civil War,” “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” and several “Hunger Games” series films. Photo: Jennifer Brett

Georgia-lensed productions generated an economic impact of more than $7 billion during fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016), the Georgia Department of Economic Development said. Citing stats from the Motion Picture Association of America the department says “the film and television industry is responsible for more than 85,000 jobs and $4.2 billion in wages, directly employing more than 25,000 Georgia residents.”

During FY 2016, 245 feature films, television movies and series, commercials, and music videos were filmed here and 2017 looks to keep up the pace. At the moment, there are 42 filming projects rolling.

“Three years ago we couldn’t have done that,” Wilson said, noting the growth of studio facilities.

Ralston anticipates more studio projects will locate in Georgia, joining powerhouses such as Pinewood, home to many Marvel movies including “Ant-Man,” “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming;” EUE/Screen Gems, where “Black Panther” is filming now; and Tyler Perry Studios, at the Fort McPherson site.

“I am excited by the success of this industry,” Ralston said. “As long as I sit in that office, there will be no bigger fan of that tax credit and this industry than I am.”

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