Georgia Boosts Incentives for Entertainment Industry

ATLANTA– Governor Sonny Perdue today signed into law the 2008 Entertainment Industry Investment Act (HB 1100), new legislation designed to encourage entertainment industry productions in Georgia. The signing ceremony took place at the studios of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), where the Governor was joined by Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of TBS, Inc., and over 100 attendees including legislators, industry leaders and members of the entertainment industry.

“We know that our excellent talent base and outstanding locations make Georgia a very desirable place to film,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.“This legislation puts in place the economic cornerstone that will encourage producers to convert that desire into action.”

The 2008 Entertainment Industry Investment Act reinforces and strengthens Georgia’s position within the entertainment industry. The new, more competitive incentives replace those currently in use by offering a 20 percent tax credit for qualified productions, which are then eligible for an additional 10 percent tax credit if they include an animated Georgia promotional logo within the finished product.

The incentives apply not only to qualified films, TV series, commercials and music videos, but also to video game productions. The economic impact of all these entertainment segments in Georgia was $413 million in 2007.

“We’re proud of this legislation; alot of the credit goes to Governor Perdue for setting up the film commission,” said Rep. Butch Parrish, a sponsor of the legislation.“I think this bill will jump start the Georgia film industry.”

“This new incentive allows Georgia to once again compete for an industry we used to be famous for,” said Sen. Mitch Seabaugh.“It will be a catalyst that will spur immediate economic investment and create jobs. Georgia will once again be on center stage where it belongs.”

“The new incentives will put Georgia among the top five states in the U.S. in terms of financial competitiveness for entertainment projects,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD).“We expect to see an increase in the number of industry jobs and overall economic impact for the state in the coming years.”

The state has seen success in the past with competitive incentives. The 2005 Entertainment Industry Investment Act (HB 539), signed by Governor Perdue in 2005, led to a record-setting economic impact in 2006 when film, television and video game companies contributed $475 million to Georgia’s economy, up from $124 million in 2004. The total economic impact of entertainment productions from 2005 through 2007 has been over $1.17 billion, due in large part to Georgia’s entertainment incentives. Since then, however, film activity in the state has decreased as other states, regions and nations boosted their competitive packages.

“The 2008 Entertainment Industry Investment Act (HB 1100) will return Georgia to its rightful place of prominence in all major entertainment industry segments,” stated Bill Thompson, deputy commissioner of the Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, a division of GDEcD.“We expect a significant increase in film and television projects, and Georgia will be the most competitive state in the country for video game productions.

Georgia is one of the few states whose entertainment incentives support the video game industry.”

Governor Perdue was joined at the event by Sen.Greg Goggans, who carried the legislation in the Senate, Rep. Ron Stephens, and Rep. Rich Golick.

“House Bill 1100 is a key piece to the puzzle in sustaining Georgia's entertainment industry for the long haul,” said Ric Reitz, an actor and producer from Atlanta.“It will provide many new jobs for Georgians, improve the state's entertainment infrastructure, and grow Georgia's indigenous companies.”

The Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, formerly known as the Film, Video and Music Office, conducts extensive business development, sales, marketing and promotional activities in order to attract entertainment projects and businesses to the state. The office also assists the local, national and international entertainment industries with information, expertise and resources. The staff points movie production companies to Georgia’s highly-trained crews, state-of-the-art facilities, and diverse locations. Georgia’s temperate climate and easy access afforded by Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are also factors that attract the industry’s interest.

Georgia has been investing in the entertainment industry for over 35 years. Since the inception of the Georgia Film Commission in 1973, more than 575 major motion pictures, independent films, television series and pilots, and TV movies have filmed on location in the state. As a result, over $5 billion has been generated for the state’s economy. Georgia’s music industry continues to thrive with an economic impact of $1.97 billion in 2007. Movies were first produced in Georgia as early as 1912, and have continued without interruption during every decade since then.

For Immediate Release Contact: Office of Communications, (404) 651-7774

Monday, May 12, 2008 Stefanie Paupeck, GDEcD, (404) 962-4075


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