When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, it took a large toll on the entertainment industry, causing production to come to a temporary halt in March. To dive into the impact the coronavirus has had on film and television in Georgia and how it will shape the industry going into the new year, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF)’s In Conversation podcast interviewed Peter Stathopoulos, Partner at Bennett Thrasher and leader of the firm’s Entertainment practice; Beth Talbert, Vice President of Studio Operations at Eagle Rock Studios; and Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office.
During the conversation, the panelists shared their perspectives on production since it resumed after the initial COVID-19 wave hit the state. Stathopoulos commented on Georgia’s positive response and immediate support for the industry. He said, “Georgia responded quickly by putting together and sharing guidance on how to safely resume production. The state also provided clarity on what production expenses from the pandemic will be eligible for tax credits.”
The state’s film tax credit program, which has been in effect since 2008, has been credited with being a main attraction for production in Georgia. “Our incentive program has been instrumental in growing the state’s entertainment industry,” said Stathopoulos. “All credit programs go through a lifecycle to ensure they’re working effectively … There continues to be widespread support for the film credit in Georgia across both sides of the aisle. As a result, we expect the industry to continue to develop and expand in the state.”
Stathopoulos also noted that in addition to film and television, Georgia has become an epicenter for other creative industries, including e-sports. Educational systems in the state have also placed a priority on establishing creative programs for their students to learn more about and be a part of the entertainment industry.
To listen to the complete conversation, tune into the In Conversation episode here.
If you have any questions regarding the entertainment industry in the current COVID-19 environment, or for any other entertainment industry inquiries, please contact Peter Stathopoulos by calling 770.396.2200.