The last couple months have brought announcements of movie studio projects across the state of Georgia. In a state where movie and television production has reached record heights, it appears the upsurge of film related jobs has barely started.
Georgia’s film industry created $3.1 billion in economic activity during 2012, which led to an estimated 5,000 directly related jobs.
The Georgia movie and film tax credit is largely responsible for the dramatic increase in Georgia-based production, however, the state infrastructure remains significantly behind what Hollywood has to offer.
Lee Thomas, director of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, says Georgia recently missed out on the filming of the soon to be released “Iron Man 3” because of a lack of soundstages and back lots. That is about to change.
According to a report from the Associated Press, five major studio construction projects have been announced:
Pinewood Studios - "It takes the state to a whole new level," said Matt Forshee, president of the Fayette County Development Authority, who has been closely involved in the project. "When you look at the films that have filmed in Georgia, for the most part, they have been smaller budget films, in the range of $20-25 million. This allows us to open up to larger budget productions, which means more expenditures occurring within the state, which becomes a bigger return on the investment on the state level for the tax credits."
Jacoby Development - The studio project will be located on 100 acres in Gwinnett County, where with an existing 500,000-square-foot building can be remade into 12 soundstages. Plans call for construction to begin by the end of the year.
"The facility that Jacoby is building will be designed to Hollywood standards and will fill quickly," said Gary Bastien, whose architectural firm will be involved in the studio design. Bastien has designed various TV and movie projects for major studios in Southern California.
Tyler Perry Studios – the Atlanta-based megastar recently declared he would build a “major” studio facility in metro Atlanta, considerably larger than his present location. The current Perry studios include five soundstages.
Triple Horse - The Covington-based production studio says it plans to expand with a 160-acre studio with multiple soundstages, post-production facilities and a back lot.
Medient Studios – Announced for Effingham County, Medient began in India and has expanded with offices in Hollywood and London. Medient's Georgia project includes a $90 million studio and entertainment complex with the goal of also becoming a major tourist destination.
While the direct economic impact of production is easily measured, a side benefit has been tourism. According to Lee Thomas fans have begun planning vacations around visits to film locations. Much of that has centered on the town of Senoia, where AMC's "The Walking Dead" is filmed, with plans to promote Georgia locations in connection with the coming release of the "Hunger Games" sequel. The state also has launched a website, ComeTourGeorgia.com, that lists movie tours and travel tips, pitching an opportunity to "walk in the footsteps of your favorite actors and musicians."