The Film Industry Has Georgia On Its Mind
February 18, 2016
In 2008 at the height of the recession, the state of Georgia introduced production incentives to help Georgia compete in the film industry. With many businesses experiencing potentially catastrophic financial situations, some turned to the film and television production business to stay afloat. By 2013, the film and television industries in Georgia had generated more than $4 billion and had been the driving force behind the continued success and livelihood of many in Georgia. Since then, Georgia has made quite a name for itself in the industry: it is now the No. 3 state for filming and Atlanta is the No. 1 place to live and work as a filmmaker (moviemaker.com).
Some interesting personal and business stories that explain the full impact of this burgeoning business are covered in a video produced by Blue Marble Media for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). In a conversation with Blue Marble Media’s Principal and Creative Director, Cara Barineau, we discussed her production company’s learning experience during the filming of the GDEcD piece.
Barineau pointed out the interesting cross section of industries that work together to serve the film industry: construction, building material supplies, real estate, personal services (hair, makeup, tailors, dry cleaners), recycling and food service/catering among them. Many of these are highlighted in the GDEcD piece. But she also has heard the rumblings from those critical of the generous incentives offered to the film industry. We have heard similar questions: why provide such incentives to a business that is doing so well here when we could collect significant taxes from film and television studios?
What is often overlooked in this argument is just how significant the tax benefit is to the state. For instance, the people who live and work in Georgia simply because of the film industry do their living, purchasing and tax paying here. They buy cars, homes, pay property taxes, income taxes, start new and expand their own businesses and use other local businesses, thereby adding revenue to the state and paying taxes. The state gains far more from allowing the incentives than it would gain if it stripped them away – we would likely lose a large portion of the film industry business without incentives in place. Where the incentives go, there the business goes, also.
Just how vast is the film and television industry in Georgia today? In 2015, Georgia accommodated 248 film and television productions which created an economic impact of $6 billion. 2016 is expected to top this.
Georgia State Tax Credits Include:
To watch the GDEcD video produced by Blue Marble Media, go here.
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