By gabe | Gabe's Declaration of Principles May 23, 2008 at 3:43AM
Whereas other film incentive packages only go to 11, Georgia's go to 30!
Mutlihyphenate Tyler Perry, dressed as Medea, does his thang
"Filmmakers have Georgia on their minds"
By Todd Longwell
May 21, 2008, 06:20 PM
"When Georgia-based animal wrangler Renee DeRossett heard that Gov. Sonny Perdue was signing a law upping her state's entertainment production tax credit to as much as 30%, she could barely contain her joy.
"Oh, my land!" she exclaimed. "That is the best news I've heard in a long time."
Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue signs HB1100
It may seem like a silly thing to get so excited about, but for people like DeRossett, incentives such as these can mean the difference between buying a bigger, more expensive home and facing foreclosure on a smaller, cheaper one.
What's truly good news for both DeRossett and Hollywood studios is that Georgia's new incentive is generous, but not so generous that a skeptical public and fickle legislators are likely to demand it be repealed two or three years down the line.
"This is something you can count on," says Georgia State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, noting that the bill had near-unanimous support in both houses before being signed into law by Gov. Perdue on May 12. "And we're not going to be taking it back. We want to build a long-term relationship with the industry."
It's been a rough few years for the Georgia film and TV community. The state had been on a hot streak in the late '90s and early '00s, attracting such studio films as 1999's "The General's Daughter" and 2000's "The Legend of Bagger Vance." But in 2003, Louisiana and New Mexico made available rich incentive packages, luring away productions that would have otherwise gone to the Peach State, such as 2004's "Ray" (shot in Louisiana). The Georgia legislature fought back with a 9% tax credit in 2005, creating a record-setting economic impact in 2006, with film, television and video game companies contributing $475 million to the state economy, an increase from $124 million in 2004. But business fell off sharply again the following year as more states one-upped each other with increasingly generous incentives, culminating with Michigan's passage of a 40-42% tax credit earlier this year.
Through this dark time, one of the bright spots has been mutlihyphenate Tyler Perry, who has shot a string of films in Atlanta, from 2005's "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" to the 2009-slated Lionsgate release "Madea Goes to Jail," as well as 100 episodes of the TBS series "House of Payne."
In 2006, Perry paid a reported $7 million for Atlanta Stage Works, a soundstage and production office complex in the city's Inman Park district, and rechristened it Tyler Perry Studios. Later this year, he plans to move his operations to a 30-acre space near Greenbriar Mall that will feature five soundstages, a 400-seat screening theater and a backlot."