Atlanta. Maybe you know it for its thriving hip-hop scene. Home of 2Chainz and Ludacris. Maybe you’ve heard of it from its sports teams like the Braves and the Falcons. Oh, those poor Falcons.
But what you may or may not know is that Atlanta (and the rest of Georgia) is one of the largest places in the world for film production. Hence, it’s nickname “Hollywood of the South”.
So, how did this happen? Well, it started back in 2002 when Georgia passed very favorable tax credits to filmmakers. This was then enhanced with additional credits in 2008. When you are making a 50 or 100 million dollar movie, tax credits can save you tons. This opened the door for studios to start looking this way for their films.
It also helps that Atlanta is a major metropolitan city with lots of great locations, and the surrounding areas of the state have plenty of additional location options. It also already had a thriving community of filmmakers, actors, and crew thanks to the studio like the one Tyler Perry operates, and several other smaller companies.
Once the credits took hold and several productions were completed in Georgia, it became clear that the area could sustain more local studios. Screen Gems open a set of sound stages in an old warehouse district in Atlanta. And more recently, London based Pinewood Group built an entire “Hollywood” sized backlot and studio just south of the City, appropriately called Pinewood Studios.
The industry in and around Atlanta has gotten so big that there appears to be a shortage of crew at this point. Anyone looking to get into the film industry might want to take a look at Atlanta and not limit themselves to Los Angeles or New York.
In fact, a recent survey of film production showed Georgia outranking New York in film production and tying with Louisiana, another large player in the south. However, in 2015, Louisiana opted to cap the tax incentives on the film industry, making it a less appealing place to shoot. And with it being in the same region as Atlanta, it only appears to be helping the Georgia production industry.
It appears that, at least for now, the Hollywood of the South, also affectionately called “Y’all-ywood” is here to stay. In 2013, film and television budgets in Georgia were around 934 million. In 2015, that number topped out at 1.7 billion. The actual revenue generated is even higher. As more money flows in, more jobs are created and more talent is lured in. Making it a self-sustaining phenomenon.
No one knows how high Georgia can fly in the film industry, but it’s an exciting time to be a part of it.