Through an ordinance recently approved by the Atlanta City Council, the City of Atlanta has established the city’s first Office of Entertainment.
The Office of Entertainment was designed to streamline the permitting process for film productions to support the city’s rapidly expanding film industry. The office’s stated goals are to facilitate employment of local talent, create production-related educational and training opportunities, and safeguard the interests of residents and businesses affected by film productions.
“The film industry creates a range of well-paying jobs for residents and introduces a major new revenue stream for local business owners,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in a statement. “In addition, the Office of Entertainment will help coordinate productions to minimize neighborhood disruptions. I am especially pleased that new film, television and video projects will enhance our city’s cultural milieu by bringing and developing talent from across the film industry. This is yet another example of why Atlanta remains the cultural and economic center of the Southeast.”
The Office of Entertainment also will be responsible for the following:
• Minimizing potential inconveniences to residents and local businesses affected by film production.
• Facilitating employment of local talent by compiling resource list of laborers and suppliers.
• Supporting the provision of education and training opportunities in entertainment production.
• Partnering with the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office to market Atlanta as a leading center for film, culture and entertainment.
The new office is also designed to reduce and simplify permitting requirements, eliminate most fees and strengthen the city’s ability to anticipate and provide adequate services for motion picture production.
“Mayor Reed’s vision in creating the Office of Entertainment will enhance the City’s ability to attract world class productions that create jobs for local residents, provide a robust economic impact for the city’s businesses and residents, and give additional opportunities for young artists and film makers throughout Atlanta,” said Michael Sterling, senior advisor to Mayor Reed.
In 2008, the State of Georgia enacted the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which increased the state tax credit to 30 percent for qualified production of motion pictures, television series, commercials, music videos, interactive games and animation.
The state of Georgia estimates that in 2012 the economic impact of the entertainment industry in Georgia exceeded $3 billion. The state also estimates that out of 253 productions filmed in Georgia last year, and 75-80 percent were filmed in the metropolitan Atlanta region.
(Photo: l to r Mayor Kasim Reed with rapper/actor Ludacris and entertainer Akon at a 2011 Thanksgiving event)