Pent-up demand for filming locations during the pandemic and costly safety protocols lead to a blockbuster year for the Georgia film and television industry.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development said Wednesday it garnered a record $4 billion in direct spending on productions in the state during the 2021 fiscal year. For comparison, in 2019 direct spend in Georgia reached $2.9 billion.
“Because Georgia was the first state in the country to re-open our economy and worked with film productions across the state to ensure they could safely continue operations, the Peach State’s film industry is leading the nation,” said Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
“As the top state for business for an unprecedented eighth year in a row, the jobs, economic development, and investment in film and other supporting industries are a key part of Georgia’s success story,” he said. “This record-breaking announcement also highlights Georgia’s incredible momentum in economic recovery as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
During that time period, 366 productions filmed in the state, including 21 feature films, 45 independent films, 222 television and episodic productions, 57 commercials and 21 music videos.
Since 2008, enticing tax incentives have turned the state into “Y’allywood,” a production hub for film and television. Georgia has developed infrastructure for big-budget productions and is home to a tremendously skilled workforce of crew members, craftsmen and technicians.
During the pandemic, Georgia quickly established on-set safety measures, including mass testing of cast and crew.
“Georgia allowed productions to return before other markets, so we not only had returning shows that shut down due to the pandemic, but we were also able to attract new shows that were slated to shoot in other, locked down markets,” said Lee Thomas, director of the Georgia Film Office.
“This additional slate of projects, combined with increased budgets due to the need for additional crew and space, plus stringent safety measures, led Georgia to have an even higher than projected record year,” Thomas said.