Ready for your closeup? You’re invited to Georgia Film Day

Gov. Nathan Deal at the 2017 Film Day. Photo: Jennifer Brett

At the 2017 Film Day, where state officials pause to herald Georgia’s booming filming industry, Gov. Nathan Deal was joined by actors dressed as Captain America, Thor and Katniss Everdeen. A highlight clip played ahead of time featured lots of people throughout the state engaged in movie (or television) making minus any costumes. Carpenters, electricians, lighting crews — folks who work behind the scenes.

This year’s event, planned for 9 a.m. Feb. 27, will once again stress the economic impact of those off-camera roles but isn’t stopping at film sets. Anyone affiliated with (or maybe just interested in) the business of show business is welcome to take part in the program.

“I invite you to take a photo illustrating the positive impact film and television has made on your life and career in Georgia,” Craig Miller, chair of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Commission, said in a statement posted on the Georgia Production Partnership site and emailed to industry influencers. “These photos will be part of a slideshow that will be looping during Film Day. Your photos demonstrate the film industry’s impact on a deeply personal level, and we look forward to sharing them, or seeing you in person.”

Email your shots to film@georgia.org. The event takes place in the Capitol rotunda and anyone can go. (If you were pondering an educational visit, perhaps with an elementary school group, this could be a slightly more entertaining option than having the kids watch lawmakers debate bills.)

If previous Film Day events are a guide, expect this one to be a celebratory gathering.

“I am excited by the success of this industry,” House Speaker David Ralston said at last year’s Film Day. “As long as I sit in that office, there will be no bigger fan of that tax credit and this industry than I am.”

Outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal and Georgia’s film-friendly tax policies were noted in a 2017 industry report naming Georgia as the top filming location for major domestic productions, besting California, the United Kingdom, Canada and former front-runner Louisiana.

“The rapid growth of the film and television industry in Georgia and the state’s steadfast commitment to its support is remarkable. With 17 projects in 2016, the first-ranked Peach State hosted nearly three times as many feature films as fifth-place New York and Louisiana,” the report from FilmLA said. “This is almost certainly due to the state’s record investment in film attraction.”

State tax policy allows filmmakers to earn up to a 30 percent tax credit on what they spend here on qualifying projects; the credits can be sold for cash to bankroll projects on the front end.

Although the tax credits for the industry do have critics — the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute have voiced concern at the state’s lack of analysis to determine economic impact — filmmakers can almost certainly count on ongoing support, as AJC business writer Scott Trubey reported earlier this month. State lawmakers have approved a legal change extending the credits for post-production expenses by Georgia companies that meet certain thresholds.

The state Department of Economic Development, always quick to note the dollar signs associated with various projects (“Jumanji,” released in December, spent more than $34 million and employed more than 1,200 Georgians, the office said in a release), says total film and television spending in Georgia hit a record of $2.7 billion by the end of the 2017 fiscal year. That was a tenfold increase from 2008, the year the tax credits were first ushered into law.

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