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Made... In Georgia

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 11, 2019 11:27

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Georgia has been a promised land for film and television production companies in recent years, but the new abortion bill potentially threatens to gut the relationship.

With its generous tax incentives and sprawling landscape, Georgia has been like a second home for people who work in the film industry, the so-called "Hollywood of the South." The state has provided beautiful shooting locations for scores of low and high-budget film projects, including AMC's The Walking Dead, Netflix's Stranger Things, Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva, and even several entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Georgia is also home to Turner Broadcasting and EUE/Screen Gems, as well as production studios Williams Street and Floyd County Productions, who produce TV shows like Rick and Morty and Archer.

But with the passage of Georgia's new barbaric abortion law, the future of the Georgian film industry may be in jeopardy. Men and women in cinema are calling for a boycott, until such time as the law is overturned.

David Simon, who is best known for creating the HBO series The Wire, has stated his production company, Blown Deadline Productions, has removed Georgia from its list of shooting locations. Mark Duplass, of Duplass Brothers Productions, has thrown his boycott on social media, urging others "not to film anything in Georgia until they reverse this backwards legislation." Color Force (Diary of a Wimpy Kid/The Hunger Games), Killer Films (Beatriz at Dinner), and CounterNarrative Films have also joined the boycott.

Actress Alyssa Milano has been mobilized against the law for weeks. She posted, to her Twitter feed on March 28, an open letter to Gov. Brian Kemp co-signed by fifty actors and actresses who have pledged to stop working in Georgia, including Laverne Cox, Will Wheaton, Patton Oswalt, Ben Stiller, Don Cheadle, and Amy Schumer, and herself.

Actress Frances Fisher has stated that she will be putting pressure on SAG-AFTRA to oppose the new law on grounds that it threatens the safety of female performers. The Writers Guild of America, both East and West, released a joint statement on March 26 condemning the law.

It may not seem like much right now, but it's definitely something, and Georgia should take notice.

The state's film industry had an economic impact of $9.5 billion in FY2017, including $2.7 billion in direct spending. In 2016, it surpassed California as the U.S. state with the most feature film productions, most in the world, as a matter of fact. It has created tens of thousands of jobs. No matter how you cut, the film industry in Georgia has been a boon for the state and its residents.

But all it's going to take to undo that is follow-through. If Georgia follows through with this bill, and it goes into effect in seven months, the men and women poised to leave Georgia will likely follow through with their threats, and a significant portion of its film industry will cease to exist as a result.

Will it break the state economy? Probably not. But it will be a stain that Georgia will not easily be able to bleach away.

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 11, 2019 11:27

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Filmmakers are vowing to boycott Georgia after the governor signed a controversial abortion bill into law earlier this week.

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