Movie industry has $5B impact in state

by Sarah Fay Campbell

The film and television industry in Georgia generated an economic impact of $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2014, which ended July 31.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced the economic impact Monday.

“Not only has this industry created jobs and investment opportunities for Georgians, it also has revitalized communities, established new educational programs, tourism product and more,” Deal said. “I will continue my commitment to growing this industry and to developing a film-ready workforce to meet the needs of the productions that are setting up shop in Georgia.”

There were a total of 158 film and television productions in Georgia during FY 2014, and the production companies spent $1.4 billion directly.

Several of those productions were in Coweta. In addition to the ongoing filming of AMC network’s “The Walking Dead,” other projects in Coweta included “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1,” “Term Life,” and “Dumb and Dumber To.”

Nowhere has the impact of the industry been more obvious than in the southeastern Coweta city of Senoia, which has seen tremendous investment from Raleigh Studios Atlanta (formerly Riverwood Studios), commercial growth, and tourism. Tourism from “The Walking Dead” is also having an impact on Grantville in southwest Coweta.

Craig Dominey, senior location specialist for the Georgia Film, Music, and Entertainment Office recently told the Coweta-Fayette Rotary Club that, since 2013, 2,674 people taking the Walking Dead Tours have visited Senoia, with $167,850 in ticket sales and more than $100,000 in direct spending in Senoia.

Local production companies buy supplies from local companies, and while many on-set meals are catered, cast and crew eat out a lot, too.

All those film productions need skilled workers, and the governor’s High Demand Career Initiative focused on the film and digital entertainment industry at a meeting last month. The meeting was an opportunity to help identify specific needs of film production crews.

"These skilled positions require training and special certifications that Georgia is prepared to cultivate and implement through a collective effort between the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia and key leaders in the entertainment industries in Georgia,” according to the governor’s office.

“The film industry is a powerful economic generator and is creating jobs for Georgians as well as new opportunities to a highly skilled workforce,” said Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Since 2008, more than 90 companies have located in Georgia to support the industry. These new businesses are generating jobs and ensuring the industry’s sustainability in Georgia well into the future.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter also spoke about the film industry this week.

On Tuesday, Carter spoke to a packed house at the Georgia Production Partnership about the state’s need to invest in education and technical training to sustain growth in the industry.

“Georgia has seen enormous growth in film and television production, but that success is threatened unless we build the skilled workforce to fill these jobs,” Carter said. “After years of cuts to HOPE and to our schools, industries across the state simply cannot find the skilled workers they need to fill their jobs.”

“The entertainment tax credit has done a good job of attracting business to our state, but we cannot rest on our laurels,” Carter said.



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