Georgia’s film industry prepares for further expansion in 2024

On Tuesday evening, over a hundred Georgia lawmakers, film producers and other creatives came together at Eagle Rock Studios in Norcross to celebrate Gwinnett County's rise as a hub for Georgia television and film production. (Courtesy of Leff & Associates)

Georgia’s film industry, with its promising trajectory, is poised to welcome more studios and new productions in the near future. On Tuesday evening, over a hundred Georgia lawmakers, film producers and other creatives filled Eagle Rock Studios in Norcross.

The event highlighted Gwinnett County as one of Metro Atlanta’s major film production centers.

Randy Davidson, the CEO of Georgia Entertainment, a digital news publication dedicated to the state’s entertainment industry, credits the growth of Atlanta’s multi-billion dollar film industry to the tax savings production companies receive for spending in the state and producing films here.

“What’s happened is we’ve gotten very lucky in the fact that that spending has now spun out into other disciplines of the creative economy, like music, gaming, art and fashion,” the media entrepreneur said. “So Georgia is sort of this renaissance of cultural creativity.”

Davidson tells WABE that two of the industry’s major priorities are building a local talent ecosystem and ensuring these jobs are here for years to come.

“It’s very important to me that our kids have these jobs for the future … [my generation] were never encouraged to uncap our creativity because there were no jobs here,” said Davidson.

He also wants to see the industry continue to build outside of Atlanta, noting that new studios are already in the works in South Georgia and Athens.

Productions in Georgia can receive up to a 30% tax credit for spending and producing films here. The Georgia Film Office reports 43 active movies and TV shows in the state, including Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and a few Disney productions.

Emory Morsberger, the executive director of Gateway85, a community improvement district in Gwinnett County. He says keeping the film tax credit is critical.

“As long as, as long as the state government keeps supporting this concept, we’re going to keep growing, we’re gonna keep attracting businesses here,” said Morsberger.

A survey prepared last year by Georgia State University says the state only sees a 19-cent return on every dollar in tax savings given to a company.

Nikki Merritt, the State Senator for District 7, says that restaurants and small businesses in Gwinnett County are thriving.

“I am a strong advocate for our film industry as far as what we do in the state for tax credits. I think it’s great for revenue to the state,” said Merritt. “I think it’s great for jobs in the state and just, hey, we’re ‘Y’allywood.’ Let’s keep it going, right?”

Georgia Entertainment plans to attend the Cannes Film Festival in May, where several films with Georgia connections will be screened.

Merritt says she’s excited to see where Georgia’s film industry will go next.

“Let’s have more studios like what we’re standing in right now. Let’s bring more here, more talent, actors, makeup artists and everybody who makes filming happen. Bring more of that here. I think that will benefit our county and allow us to continue to grow,” said Merritt.