Georgia was the first state to re-open movie theaters during the cornavirus pandemic. It is also leading Hollywood’s return to producing films and TV shows.
Governor Brian Kemp May 22 announced a filming “best practices” guide for the state’s $9.5 billion content production industry that employs more than 51,000 people in the Atlanta area and statewide.
The guidelines are aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 when productions resume in Georgia this summer. The recommendations include increased sanitation efforts, avoiding sharing objects such as mobile phones, computers, pens, work tools, etc., in addition to avoiding mass transportation, opting for digital call sheets, production reports and contracts when possible. Goals also include avoiding handshakes, kisses, hugs and actions that encourage physical contact between people.
The guidelines were developed in cooperation with officials from studio and production companies who maintain a presence in the state.
As future film and production planning continues, the guidelines prioritize the safety of all cast and crew. Companies are required to use these recommendations in conjunction with industry-wide labor and management protocols as they are developed.
“We are so grateful to the hardworking people who make up and contribute to Georgia’s incredibly successful film and TV industry, and we thank them for all the ways they have given back throughout the state’s response to COVID-19,” Kemp said in a statement. “The Georgia Film Office has maintained their close work with industry executives to develop these outlines for how productions can help protect cast and crew members.”
Georgia set a record for filming during fiscal year 2019. The 391 film and television productions filmed in the state spent $2.9 billion in the state, supported 3,040 motion picture and television industry businesses, and delivered $9.2 billion in total wages.
“Every element of what has made Georgia such a unique place for film — landscapes, production facilities, a skilled and growing workforce, with a pipeline of new labor thanks to the Georgia Film Academy and our College and Career Academies — are still in place, just as they were before this global pandemic,” Kemp said.
Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said the backbone of the state’s film and television industry is comprised of small businesses that have helped create the environment that makes Georgia an attractive place for productions.
In addition to locations, climate and cultural attractions, the state has offered upwards of $150 million in annual tax incentives toward productions.
“We will continue to help these important businesses navigate new circumstances,” Wilson said. “As we return to production across the state, there is no doubt Georgia will maintain its position as a powerhouse for film and television production.”