As the State of Georgia celebrates 50 years of the Georgia Film Office, Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced another blockbuster year for the film and television industry as productions spent $4.1 billion in Georgia during fiscal year 2023. The Georgia Film Office, a strategic office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), reported that the State of Georgia hosted 390 productions, represented by 31 feature films, 55 independent films, 241 television and episodic productions, 40 commercials, and 23 music videos between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023.
“Georgia remains a global leader in film, TV, and streaming productions,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “Those who benefit most from the significant growth we’ve seen in this industry over the past couple of decades are hardworking Georgians who fill the many behind-the-camera jobs that come with each project. That’s why we’ve worked hard to attract these and other opportunities for those who call the Peach State home.”
Georgia’s thriving entertainment industry continues to welcome exponential infrastructure growth, including new studios and accompanying stage space. According to a recent report out of Los Angeles, Georgia has now surpassed New York as the state with the second-highest amount of soundstage footage in the U.S., and is poised to become No. 1 if the growth continues as projected. Film support service companies, including these soundstage campuses, are not eligible to receive the film tax credit. Spending on facility construction does not qualify for Georgia’s film tax credits. To qualify for the Georgia film tax credit, productions must utilize tax-paying Georgia-based vendors.
In FY23, BlueStar Studios continued construction on a new $180 million film and TV production facility in Forest Park. In Douglasville, Great Point Studios’ new facility Lionsgate Atlanta is investing $200 million to construct a 500,000-square-foot, full-service, film studio and modern entertainment complex.
Athena Studios, a $60 million investment in Athens, opened its doors in January with 120,000 square feet of purpose-built space ready for TV and film production. Electric Owl Studios in DeKalb County opened its 140,000-square-foot production facility that is the world’s first ground-up LEED Gold-certified studio campus in June, and NBCUniversal signed a long-term partnership with Gray TV, which is constructing more than 1 million square feet of stage space at Assembly Atlanta in Doraville.
This infrastructure boom is the result of decades of investment in Georgia’s entertainment industry, which started 50 years ago. Recognizing the success of 1972’s “Deliverance,” which was filmed in Rabun County in northeast Georgia, former Governor Jimmy Carter established the Georgia Film Office to attract more productions to the state, which would help local economies through hotel nights, spending, and encouraging tourism.
“The real impacts of the film and television industry in Georgia reach beyond the red carpet, improving the lives of thousands of Georgians and contributing to the state’s overall economy,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Georgia leaders have consistently invested in the state’s long-term success. In creating the Film Office 50 years ago, they realized the significant impact the entertainment industry could have here. Today, this is a Georgia industry with small businesses in communities across the state realizing the return on that investment. We thank Georgia’s leaders for continuing to recognize the value that film and television productions bring to Georgia.”
Georgia-lensed films continued to shine with fans and at the box office. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” became the highest-grossing movie with a female superhero as the lead at the U.S. box office, overtaking female-led superhero films “Captain Marvel” and “Wonder Woman.” The success of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is the latest example of the high-earning films attracted to Georgia. Of the top lifetime grossing films of all time, Georgia was home to three of the Top 10: “Avengers: End Game,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”
“We talk about the amount spent on a production, but we’ve also seen the enormous impact a project may have years, even decades, after it has shot in our state – and that’s nearly impossible to quantify,” said Georgia Film Office Director Film Lee Thomas. “We know that tourists flock to Covington not only because of recent projects like ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ but also because five episodes of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ were shot there four decades ago. In just a few seasons, ‘The Walking Dead’ helped transform Senoia from six storefronts to more than 150 small businesses downtown. In Hall County, an enterprising local fishing charter company began offering ‘Ozark’ tours of the filming locations for more than $300 per person due to high demand and limited space. Beyond the direct spend, it may take years, even decades, to understand the complete economic impact of a project on an area.”
In addition to working with studios and communities to bring productions to Georgia, the Georgia Film Office provides multiple resources for local businesses and talent to list their services to industry decision-makers such as the Georgia Reel Crew™ database, which is a searchable, online directory of crew and support services; the Georgia Reel Scout™ database of local properties available for filming; certification and a searchable map of Georgia Camera Ready communities; information on available stage space; and other information that links Georgia assets with industry representatives.
Gaming, esports, and other interactive entertainment projects such as mobile games; virtual reality, augmented reality, and console and PC game development are also part of production growth in the state, but are not included in the film industry’s direct spend totals.
To view video clips of recent productions’ experiences filming across the state, visit the Georgia Film Office’s YouTube page.
For a list of Georgia-lensed productions currently in theaters, streaming online, or set to premiere, visit “Release Dates for Georgia-Lensed Productions.”
For an overview of some of the productions currently filming in Georgia, visit “Now Filming in Georgia.”