Georgia’s Sizzle Reel Puts Spotlight on Community, Economic Benefits of Industry

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Between the increase in streaming platforms and theaters around the country reopening to bring cinema fans back to the big screen, TV and movie entertainment is continuing an unprecedented run.

The best news? Georgia’s playing the leading role. The economic benefits are being felt through all corners of the state as major names in production use resources from the Georgia Film Office like our Reel Production Crew and Reel Scout directories, and seek the work of local artists, vendors, and talent.

Atlanta was recently named “No. 1 for Film Production,” but the city’s venues are from being the only places featured in major productions. Atlanta’s Westview Cemetery mausoleum, the Georgia Renaissance Festival fairgrounds in Fairburn, and the atrium of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, were all featured in “Loki,” which is now out on Disney+. However, Georgians should know that communities like Tifton, Moultrie, Augusta, Sandersville, Toccoa, and many others have been the stars in movies and TV shows that are also currently filming around the state. 

These communities are not only playing host to famous actors and directors, but employing home-grown talent, courtesy of the Georgia Film Academy, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Savannah College of Art and Design – and even the K-12 Georgia Department of Education. Each of these learning opportunities is preparing Georgians for the wide array of careers required to produce a TV show or movie. 

Leaders from the Georgia Film Academy, the Georgia Game Developers Association, Trilith, and Georgia small business owners joined the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s last Board of Directors meeting in May. As covered by Capitol Beat, the vast impact the film industry is continuing to have on everything from catering to dry cleaning services was the main focus of the meeting. In fact, the industry’s return also helped entertainment venues such as the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, The Strand in Marietta, and the Georgia World Congress Center, find a revenue stream through hosting film productions as their doors remained closed to major concerts and performances. 

Thomasville has been hosting “Supercell” and “Bandit,” two upcoming features with famous cast members. The City of Thomasville’s Tourism and Film Manager Bonnie Hayes spoke to the Thomasville Times-Enterprise about the wide-ranging positive economic impacts of such productions. 

“Film is a tourism driver, but more than that, film has an economic impact on our community in many different ways,” Hayes explained to the Time-Enterprise. “Our hotels are completely booked up, but we also see a boost in our local restaurants, retail stores, home supply stores, gas stations, drug stores….  Everyone sees a benefit when these film crews come to town, and coming out of COVID, this is a wonderful shot in the arm to our economy.”

The newspaper also noted local services such as production company Thomasville Pictures, “headed by Thomas County native Allen Cheney and his partner, Ryan Smith, [that] has brought multiple film projects to Thomasville.”

“Supercell” is the first film shot within Moultrie’s city limits, reports the Moultrie Observer. Residents and visitors were even welcome to watch the filming and related pyrotechnics from pre-designated areas.

In March, “Gasoline Alley,” starring Bruce Willis and Owen Wilson, filmed in downtown Tifton.
The group rented hotels for three to four weeks during filming, which created over $120,000 in hotel revenue alone.  

Lyons and Vidalia, Georgia, are playing host to “Blue Lighting,” where producer and director Aaron Williams expressed his gratitude to WTOC-TV for the support that both the people and its community leaders have shown for the production.

Additionally, just before Independence Day, Georgia-lensed “The Tomorrow War” premiered on Amazon Prime, and R.L. Stein’s “Fear Street” series began the first of its three-movie run on Netflix. A look at the Atlanta locations and Georgia-perspective overview of the hit “The Tomorrow War” is available on 11Alive-TV’s site here.

And on the heels of Variety naming the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as one of the top film schools in the world in April, SCAD also announced an expansion of the university’s film and digital media studios. The expansion of the 10.9-acre Savannah Film Studios will include a Hollywood-style film backlot, an XR stage, new soundstages and more. Phase one of the expansion is expected to be complete in Fall 2021, and two other phases will be complete by 2023.

When it comes to film, it seems every community in Georgia could have its own sizzle reel.