Creating a permanent, sustainable workforce and economic development through film and entertainment.
Georgia Regional Film and Entertainment Alliance
“Supporting rural and regional communities in Georgia”
Tax Incentive White Paper
To create a permanent, sustainable workforce and economic development through film and entertainment throughout all of Georgia.
The Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act provides a film tax credit for feature film, series, pilots, movies for television, televised commercial advertisements, music video productions, and for qualified interactive entertainment projects.
Over the last several years Georgia’s film and entertainment industry has continued to grow and today is one of the world’s leading locations for film production. Unknown to some, this success has been concentrated within the boundaries of Metro Atlanta with Savannah being a distant second in terms of economic impact and direct spending.
Columbus, along with 12 other jurisdictions in Georgia (See jurisdiction list in the Summary), have met and discussed the lack of production spending in these jurisdictions. It is important to highlight this challenge and explore opportunities to better distribute this direct spending throughout the state. The goal of this group is to assist legislators as they evaluate the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act leading into the 2024 legislative session.
For the film and entertainment industry to grow outside the Metro Atlanta area, we believe these options should be considered. Research has been conducted finding several examples (Examples listed below) of how other states have created more participation outside their largest cities.
The Georgia Regional Film and Entertainment Alliance is prepared to discuss ways to increase production spending throughout the state and incentivize filmmakers to work in other officially sanctioned Camera Ready jurisdictions. These efforts would create more opportunities for a sustainable workforce in these regions.
Georgia Film & Entertainment Industry
Governor Kemp stated in fiscal year 2022, film and television productions spent $4.4 billion in Georgia.
The following is a breakdown of the 412 productions in Georgia during this period:
● 32 Feature Films
● 36 Independent Films
● 269 TV Shows and Series
● 42 Commercials
● 33 Music videos
Of these productions, 75% were filmed in the Metro Atlanta area, 10% in Savannah, and the balance spread out across the State.
Currently, when a production films outside of the Union Zone (IATSE Local 479), additional expenses are incurred for the production company. The Union Zone exists from the film production office location in Atlanta (the zone is determined by the union) and has a 30-mile radius. If the production office is opened in this radius called the Union Zone, (the union workers and teamsters working within this Zone) a production company would not pay additional expenses such as housing, per diem, etc. In other words, filming within the Union Zone is more economical for productions and with the current model, there is little motivation to work beyond the established Union Zone.
Savannah is the exception to this as it’s under the jurisdiction of IATSE Local 491.
More information about the Union’s role in film production is available upon request.
In researching other examples of film and entertainment tax incentives offered outside of Georgia, there are an array of tax structures based on the state laws. Some tax incentives are based on distressed areas, labor, low-income areas, and outside of a metropolitan filming area. These multi-level incentive structures are determined to drive production to areas where a smaller number of productions had previously occurred.
After examining the 50 US states, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and Washington DC, thirty-nine states have a tax credit and/or grant, with 11 states offering an additional uplift for rural areas, labor, enhanced areas and distressed areas.
More information and examples of other film incentive programs from other states are available upon request.
Summary and Recommendations
The Georgia Regional Film and Entertainment Alliance is requesting that legislators consider:
● A 10% tax credit uplift above the current state film and entertainment tax credit allowed for productions that are in jurisdictions outside of the Metro Atlanta area. (Metro Atlanta area boundaries to be discussed.)
● Initiate meaningful discussions with IATSE Local 479 and the teamsters establishing favorable criteria to encourage more equitable direct spending outside the current Union zone.
More analysis and information regarding these recommendations is available upon request.
In Respectful and Kind Regards,
Joel Slocumb, Columbus Film Commissioner
On behalf of these cities and jurisdictions:
● Warner Robins