Message from Lee Thomas: COVID-19 Impacts on Film and Television Industry

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First, let me start off by saying that Georgia’s film industry is stronger than ever. The industry continues to break records. In fiscal year 2019, the 391 film and television productions that shot here spent $2.9 billion in Georgia, supported 3,040 motion picture and television industry businesses, and delivered $9.2 billion in total wages.

With that being said – Americans working in nearly every industry – including film – are understandably anxious and feeling the impact of economic uncertainty due to COVID-19. Film and television production activity has come to a virtual standstill not only in Georgia, but across the country, in a necessary response to halt the virus and save lives.

As we face these extraordinary times together, our team in the Georgia Film Office is in regular contact with production companies and industry executives. Our contacts are telling us that their current “active” productions are on a short-term hiatus and will return to Georgia. While we are being optimistic – we do know that things are changing quickly. As of today (March 19) – we have not heard of any permanent shutdowns here in Georgia.

We know that many local crew, actors, studios, small businesses and more will feel the short-term impact from the halt in production activity, and response efforts have been activated and are in the early stages of planning to help our economy and the people who drive it. Our office has also developed a new page on our website with COVID-19 resources for the entertainment industry to assist during this time. I want you to know that when these projects are up and running again, Georgia is well-positioned to remain a top production center.

In fact, we are currently hosting an extensive slate of feature films—everything from “Red Notice” to “Dear Evan Hansen,” to television series including “Council of Dads” and “Doom Patrol.” In addition, the prevalence of new streaming platforms has created an increased demand for content—which is great for a production center like Georgia.

On behalf of the Georgia Film Office – thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of our film industry. While these are unprecedented times, we are hopeful that the impact to our film community is short-lived. The foundation of our industry is strong. Georgia has served as the backdrop for thousands of productions. Georgia offers production companies the complete package including competitive incentives, an experienced workforce, developed infrastructure, a temperate climate and diverse backdrops. We have hotels to accommodate every budget, ease of access through the world’s busiest airport and an unparalleled quality of life.

Bottom line – it is our mission to create jobs for Georgians and we are confident that the state will maintain its position as a powerhouse for film and television production.

Thank you,

Lee Thomas
Deputy Commissioner, Georgia Film Office

*I also encourage you to review this resources page that the Georgia Council for the Arts has prepared for art and nonprofit organizations in Georgia.

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