SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Three productions planning to film in Georgia have officially pulled their projects out of the state.
Two were from the Atlanta area and one was looking to work in Savannah. They say the reason is because of the “Heartbeat Bill” that was recently signed into law.
The founder of the Savannah Film Alliance spoke to members of Buy Local Savannah about the state of the film and television industry in our area. They talked about everything from potential barriers created by the new law, to how the industry can continue to grow in our area.
The message was pretty clear from Charles “Bo” Bowen, a Savannah attorney and founder of the Savannah Film Alliance on the Heartbeat Bill’s impact locally.
“My theory on it is this: It is going to have an impact, and it will hurt, but it will not be catastrophic.”
Bowen told the Buy Local Savannah crowd he doesn’t anticipate the law making it past lower courts to be considered by the Supreme Court, being overturned before then. Bowen also pointed out similar or more restrictive legislation being passed in other states somewhat pulls Georgia out of the spotlight. He ultimately said show business is a business, and that tax incentives for film production will still be too attractive for producers trying to keep an eye on a budget.
“The film industry, like Bo said, is a business, and when you’re in business, profit margins are something that everyone takes into consideration, and sometimes, the almighty dollar will win," said Jillian Stafford, Stafford Media Group.
Jillian Stafford runs a film studio in Richmond Hill that has been open since January and caters to the needs of a number of local businesses. It’s the kind of space that Bowen says is still needed in the Savannah area to draw in out-of-town and out-of-state productions.
Stafford says she realizes some productions will pull out of the state because of personal beliefs related to recent legislation, but ultimately is hopeful for the future of the industry in the Savannah area.
“Business is business, and it’s going to be unfortunate for a couple of small productions, but I think and I hope that there will be enough work around for all of us," she said.