ATLANTA – Jennifer Bowen, who serves as the point of contact for all filmmakers hoping to produce their movies in Augusta, recently received an inquiry from producers interested in shooting there for a film set in Montgomery, Ala., in the 1920s to 1930s.

The producers preferred to film there, rather than in Montgomery, because of how much cheaper they could produce the film in Georgia.

“They can get a much better deal to their business here,” said Bowen, who works with Augusta’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Georgia has become one of the top spots in the country, and worldwide, for movie producers to choose to film, due mostly to being a bargain compared to other states.

Georgia ranks third in the nation and fifth in the world for the number of films produced here. For the past two years, Georgia falls only behind California and New York.

“We’re up there with the big guys,” said Emily Murray, communications specialist for the state tourism, entertainment and arts department.

In 2014, Georgia hosted 21 film productions and 52 TV shows.

Each county can play a big role in whether movies go film there. As part of Georgia’s unique Camera Ready program, a specific contact in each of the 159 counties will offer specific locations matching scenes requested by producers interested in filming in Georgia.

For the past few days, Atlanta City Hall’s facade has been transformed into a film set for the upcoming HBO television movie, “Confirmation.”

The film, chronicling the sexual harassment claims that nearly unhinged the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the United State Supreme Court, will be set in Washington, D.C.

Because of Georgia’s diverse landscape, filmmakers can turn many state locations into different cities, states or even another country – on a tighter budget.

The state offers a tax incentive program, which will provide up to 30 percent for film productions’ expenses.

“The state of Georgia right now does have a really incredible tax-incentive package on film production,” Bowen said.

And local economies benefit as well.

In Savannah, a popular area in Georgia to film, production spending pumps millions of dollars straight into the local economy, said Will Hammargren, director of the City of Savannah Film Office. Filmmakers also have a financial incentive to hire as many locals as possible.

And the exposure movies bring – most famously, “Forrest Gump” – attracts millions of tourists from all over the world to the Savannah area, boosting the economy even further.

“It’s a great financial boost for us that comes at very little cost,” he said.

Last year, Savannah permitted 81 professional productions, which included commercials feature films, music videos and TV shows.

While most states have some sort of film and TV incentive, some have recently shrunk them.

This year, Louisiana capped its tax incentive program at $180 million, and Michigan’s governor is expected to sign a bill soon that will end its program.

For Georgia, the entire state benefits in a huge way.

Last year, the industry brought in $5.1 billion to Georgia’s economy, based on what the production companies spend and the jobs they bring in.

Filming only brought $132.5 million into the state economy in 2007, before the incentives were put in place, Murray said.

The film and television industry in Georgia supports more than 24,000 jobs and pays local workers more than $1.68 billion in wages.

Murray suggested that areas in Georgia, like Augusta, that wish for a company to come film there should keep in close contact with the state entertainment office to make sure that they keep their photos of potential set locations updated.


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