As LA and NYC Struggle with COVID-19, Atlanta’s Film Industry is Booming

Dwayne Johnson Red Notice
Dwayne Johnson and Dania Ramirez at the World premiere of 'Jumanji: The Next Level' held at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, USA on December 9, 2019. (Dwayne Johnson and Dania Ramirez at the World premiere of 'Jumanji: The Next Level' held at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, USA on December 9, 2019. Editorial credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

Georgia’s film industry is roaring back to life despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryan Millsap, the CEO of DeKalb County-based Blackhall Studios, spoke with WSB-TV’s Jovita Moore about the state of Georgia’s film industry. Overall, the sentiment is the COVID-19 restrictions have helped the film industry bounce back after the shut-down.

“You know, it’s going incredibly well. The Producers Guild, who put together all of the COVID protocols, have done an incredible job keeping everybody safe and healthy. The transmission rates inside the industry as a whole are under 1%, which has allowed the production crews to keep cranking,” Millsap said.

Millsap says everyone working in Georgia is taking it seriously and operating safely.

“I think everybody takes it very, very seriously. Because they know that if there was an outbreak on a set that they’d all have to go find new jobs, right?” Millsap said. ”I mean, if production goes down, it might be down for a month. And if it goes down for a month, it might be canceled. So I think everybody’s very, very cautious about the way they approach COVID transmission on set.”

Moore asked if the larger-scale COVID-19 outbreaks in other larger production locations like Los Angeles and New York have impacted Georgia.

“L. A and New York have been largely shut down, a huge boon obviously to Georgia. A lot of the productions that have tried to film in New York or tried to film in LA have had trouble,” Millsap said. “Some of them made it through, some of it’s been government shutdown. But there’s just the back and forth with the government stuff that has been really hard on the production side. And so I think when people have a choice right now, they’ve been choosing Georgia because of the certainty and openness that the government has created.”

Millsap continued in the interview, saying he is excited about the studio’s $200 million expansion, which he believes will be completed by the summer of next year. He says it will increase the amount of work done by the busy studio.

“More movie making for us a lot more jobs here in south DeKalb County. A lot more jobs in Georgia. We’re not the only ones expanding,” Millsap said. “So you know, there’s a there’s a huge push in the entertainment industry in Georgia to really gather all of the talents that are floating around right now that wants to get out of California, that wants to get out of New York, and wants to make a new home and a place that they can have a little bit more security.”

In relevant news, due to surges in COVID-19 infections and deaths in Los Angeles, California, several TV shows delayed their return to production after the holiday break.

Studios responded to the Los Angeles County Department of Health plea to the film industry to shut down productions for several weeks during the ongoing surge of coronavirus infections. Studios reviewed their production schedules, including talent availability, to see if they could shut down.

One of the next big productions to film in Georgia is Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam. According to reports, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is returning to Georgia. The movie was expected to film in Atlanta this August but, was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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