Filming in Atlanta is Back in Action – “Teams Are Back”

Dwayne Johnson
NEW YORK - July 10, 2018: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson attends the premiere of "Skyscraper" at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on July 10, 2018, in New York City. (JStone / Shutterstock.com)

Atlanta’s film industry is back as Hollywood returns to Georgia to resume filming.

Currently, the Georgia Film Commission says 14 productions are now in preproduction or have started filming. However, Deadline reports there are several others who are early preproduction and plan on filming as early as next week.

According to reports, Pinewood Studios Atlanta, which has 18 stages for filming, said “teams are back.”

Blackhall Studios, which has 9 sound stages, has “bodies on the ground”. In fact, the studio has prepared production since Monday for two film productions by 20th Century Studios and Universal. CEO Ryan Millsap says more top-level production members are expected to travel to Georgia as early as two weeks and filming will “ramp-up”. The 20th Century film was reportedly filming until March and was shut down due to the Coronavirus. Meanwhile, Universal production is a new movie. Before filming actually starts, new projects can take up to two to three months before filming.

Productions currently filming include ‘Black Adam’ starring Dwayne Johnson, Season 13 of Bravo’s ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’, Lifetime’s ‘Little Women: Atlanta’ and Tyler Perry’s ‘Sistas’ and ‘The Oval’. It is important to note that while ‘Black Adam’ is now in preproduction in Georgia, filming is not expected to start until next year.

In addition, independent films including ‘Home Safe’, ‘Terror Lake Drive’, ‘Don’t Waste Your Pretty’. and ‘Double Kidnapped’.

Reality shows including Lifetime’s ‘Little Women: Atlanta’, Bravo’s ‘Married to Medicine’, ‘Dish Nation’, and ‘1000 LB Sisters’.

“We are very grateful for the commitment recently made by industry leaders to get back to producing more films in Georgia, and it’s gratifying to see our productions begin to get safely off the ground. We will continue to work with the studios to answer their questions and help them make plans,” said Georgia Film Office director Lee Thomas.

It’s important to note Georgia’s film industry reopened as early as April. However, it took several months before unions and guilds agreed upon a set of guidelines for filming. On June 12, Gov. Brian Kemp announced the film industry will hire 40,000 production workers for an expected 75 productions over the next year and a half. Gov. Kemp also announced the projects will bring an estimated $2 billion to the Georgia economy.

It’s important to note, Gov. Kemp overruled Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ attempt to rollback reopening plans for the city to Phase One and a mask mandate.

That said, Pinewood Atlanta Studios is located in Fayetteville, Georgia, which is outside of Atlanta. Meanwhile, Blackhall Studios is located in Dekalb County.

This news comes after a report that suggested Georgia’s film industry could explode due to the Coronavirus. 

Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, says more TV shows and film projects could come to Georgia as the Peach State recovers from the Coronavirus faster than other states.

Thomas provided an update on Georgia’s film industry on June 2nd at a virtual luncheon near the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber.

Thomas reportedly discussed how California and New York are seriously impacted by the Coronavirus, which gives Georgia an opportunity to beat their competitors. “There were projects that had stages they had holds on starting in late summer, but the projects in those stages beforehand haven’t finished their work yet. It’s going to be interesting how these sound stages can accommodate all the projects coming in, not only the projects coming back but also the new ones scheduled.

“We’ll also get even more projects coming from other states because Georgia is reopening faster than other states. … We also have all these new streaming services’ projects.”

In related news, film companies that apply for Georgia’s film tax credit could face new scrutiny.

House Bill 1037, sponsored by Rep. Matt Dollar, R-Marietta, requires all productions located in Georgia to undergo mandatory audits by the Georgia Department of Revenue or third-party auditors chosen by the state. It will also place additional restrictions on how film companies could transfer or sell unused tax credits to other businesses.

The Georgia Senate passed the measure by a 45-1 vote, with the state House of Representatives following suit on Friday by a 154-10 vote. Gov. Brian Kemp will have to sign the bill for it to become enforceable.

“This is full auditing of all the film tax credits,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome said Thursday. “Nothing more, nothing less.”

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