Departing movie association chief to Georgia’s film industry: “Keep it up!”

Former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd wraps up his tenure as CEO and chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America soon, but not before one more trip to Georgia.

“I’ve enjoyed it immensely,” he said before Sunday’s screening of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” one of several Marvel movies to film in Georgia in recent years.

Dodd’s credited with pushing digital innovation, combating piracy, and championing diversity efforts and free speech protections. Last fall he accepted a trophy on behalf of his association, honored at the Georgia Freedom of Information Foundation’s 2016 Charles L. Weltner Freedom of Information Award banquet. The MPAA was saluted for its key role in supporting Georgia’s newly strengthened anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation legislation.

On Sunday he strolled the red carpet one more time at the screening for local cast and crew members at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. We asked if he’ll miss all the razzle dazzle.

“Not really,” he mused, adding that he’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife and teenage daughters.

“We’ll have a seamless transition, and we’re leaving it in better shape I think than when I walked in the door,” Dodd said. The Connecticut Democrat will be succeeded by former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin, who served during President Barack Obama’s administration.

Dodd’s been no stranger to Georgia and his parting advice was pretty much, “Keep it up.”

“Georgia’s becoming the third global capital in film and television production,” he said, noting the 245 film and television projects that filmed here last year. “You’ve got to go to New York or California to find something equal to this. A big thank you to Georgia. You can’t rent sound stage space in Georgia right now, it’s so in demand.”

Beyond the state’s film-friendly tax credits, infrastructure and work force, he praised Georgia’s Southern hospitality.

“People like coming here. There’s a great feeling about being here,” he said. “That counts for something. I don’t know how to monetize that for you, but believe me, it makes a difference.”

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