Written by on Nov 7, 2011. Posted in On Location

Plans for dedicated Atlanta film office cause local controversy

Plans for a dedicated film office in Atlanta, Georgia, have caused controversy among local film professionals. Mayor Kasim Reed is floating an idea that a centralised office would issue permits and charge location filming fees to visiting crews, but local professionals are wary.

The argument against the film office seems to be based on the fact that a lot of industry insiders think the current system works well enough. Atlanta has a successful film and television industry at the moment, with one of the stand-out productions being zombie drama The Walking Dead, some of which has filmed in the city. Some are arguing that having a bureaucratic film office will discourage some out-of-state productions from coming to the city.

One department doesn’t know what the other department is doing and it is interfering with the effective use of our resources. There is a need for a central point to co-ordinate this activity.

Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta

Mayor Reed argues that charging location filming fees could raise USD150,000 a year for the city. He also believes the existing permitting and permissions system in Atlanta needs tighter regulation:

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the Mayor stated: “If you’re a filmmaker, we want you to be able to pick up the phone and call one person. [At the moment] one department doesn’t know what the other department is doing and it is interfering with the effective use of our resources. There is a need for a central point to co-ordinate this activity.”

Film and telelvision employs nearly 40,000 people throughout Georgia and the state benefitted from a combined production spend of nearly USD890 million through the course of 2010. Producers can access a 20% tax credit.

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