Emerging Markets Law

Savannah Film Incentive Makes State Even More Competitive

The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) is making Georgia an even more attractive place to shoot films, starting in 2016. This is a boost to an industry that didn't exist in Georgia in a big way until about 10 years ago, but that has grown rapidly: filmed entertainment brought about $6 billion to Georgia in 2014.

SEDA has passed two distinct film incentives for shoots that come to Savannah/Chatham County: a cash rebate against $500,000 in eligible shooting costs, and a relocation allowance for personnel of qualified applicants. The new incentives were voted on in mid-October and take effect January 1, 2016. SEDA was already courting film producers; it hired an LA-based producer last year to manage the marketing and selling of Savannah as a film venue. 

The SEDA efforts join what is already a hugely successful film effort at the State of Georgia level. Georgia provides a tax rebate of up to 30 percent for productions shot in Georgia. That tax rebate has fueled massive growth in Georgia filming in the last decade. A number of television shows shoot here permanently, and several high-profile pictures including the Hunger Games series and Magic Mike XXL shot in Georgia. 

In addition to the financial incentives, Georgia has mountains, lakes, oceans, rivers, small towns, and big cities--and thus supports a wide variety of location needs.  Its weather is mild, it is a transport hub (Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta is the world's busiest), and it has a low cost of living compared to LA or NY. It also has a business-friendly environment. Taken together, these attributes and savvy marketing have made Georgia, and Savannah, into major entertainment players. Indeed, the Savannah Film Festival is happening this week, and projected to bring 50,000 visitors to Savannah. Welcome to "Y'allywood!"

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