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Georgia takes a bite out of Hollywood
Big-budget movies find a home in Peach State, Hall County
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This photo provided by Disney shows Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in a scene from Marvel's "Ant-Man." The film releases in the U.S. on Friday.

Movie and television shows filmed in Hall County in the past few years

“Blended”

“Hall Pass”

“Sabotage”

“Need for Speed”

“T.I. and Tiny”

“The Vampire Diaries”

“The Haves and the Have Nots”

 

Movies filmed in Georgia scheduled for release later this year

Friday — “Lila & Eve”, starring Jennifer Lopez and Viola Davis

Friday “Ant-Man,” starring Paul Rudd

July 29 “Vacation,” starring Ed Helms

Sept. 2 “A Walk in the Woods,” starring Robert Redford

Oct. 16 “Goosebumps,” starring Jack Black

Nov. 20 “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,” starring Jennifer Lawrence

Georgia’s not yet Hollywood, but the state’s tax incentives have charmed a number of big-budget movie productions to relocate from the West Coast to the New South in recent years.

And the payoff is seen in new jobs and new spending across the Peach State, including in Hall County, according to state officials.  

About $1.7 billion was spent in the state during the filming of 248 movie and television productions between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, according to figures released by the state Department of Economic Development last week.

According to state officials, 42 productions are currently filming in Georgia and more than 100 businesses have relocated or expanded in the state to support the growing industry.

“… Georgia’s film industry has had a significant impact on our state,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement. “These statistics represent job creation, increased business opportunities and the revitalization of communities statewide, and I am committed to building a strong film-ready workforce in Georgia to ensure that the industry continues to flourish here.”

Georgia provides a 20 percent tax credit for companies that spend half a million dollars or more during production and post-production in the state.

The state offers another 10 percent tax credit if a promotional logo provided by the state is included in the final cut.

“Georgia’s film tax credit has absolutely had an impact on the production volume in recent years and, as a result, Georgia has developed the talent and industry support needed for film production projects,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. “There is a direct financial benefit to support businesses that comes from film, video, television and music production …”

Lanier Islands has been a key location in Hall County for several Hollywood movies in the past few years, including “Blended,” featuring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, which shot for more than 50 days here.  

“That was a huge stimulus,” said Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Other movies and television productions filmed throughout the county include “Hall Pass,” starring Owen Wilson, “Sabotage,” featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the television series “The Vampire Diaries.”

“We help location scouts to find the places called for in their scripts …” Dickson said. “We also assist local property owners in getting their locations listed in the Reel Scout/Camera Ready database. This online resource is searched by location managers and scouts prior to calling a community for assistance.”

The University of North Georgia recently established a four-year degree in film and digital media, broadening the school’s concentration in this area of study as the state becomes a hotbed for movie and television production.

Previously, the university offered a concentration in film and digital media for students earning a bachelor’s degree in communication. UNG has hosted regional film festivals in recent years, as well.

The remainder of 2015 is lining up to be a big showcase for feature movies filmed all over Georgia.

Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” opening this Friday, employed nearly 3,600 residents during shooting and producers spent more than $106 million in the state.

Scenes for the film were shot at the new Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayetteville, and principal photography has also taken place there for Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War.”

There are big dreams about what the lasting impact of these productions will do for Georgia in the years to come.

“The ‘Forrest Gump’ effect has certainly benefited Savannah for the last 20 years,” Evans said. “Fans of film and television productions made in Georgia get to know the state for something other than peaches and ‘Gone with the Wind.’ Those fans can become tourists and business investors …”

State officials have not tallied the economic impact of movie and television productions at local levels, and Dickson said it’s hard to gauge the exact financial benefit because film projects vary in size and scope.

But she expects more large-budget productions in the region and county in the near future.

“We have high hopes for Hall County's film potential since we are so close to the new media campus in north Gwinnett County,” she added. “They will likely need locations and we'll be able to help them. Of course, our location on Lake Lanier and proximity to Atlanta makes Hall County very desirable for film and television shoots.”

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