“Billion Dollar Baby” event discusses the Georgia movie industry

Tubman Museum
Macon’s Tubman Museum was the venue for Macon Film Festival’s “Million Dollar Baby”, a panel on the Georgia film industry. Photo by Doug Deal.

Approximately 50 people attended the “Billion Dollar Baby” event during the Macon Film Festival. A panel of 8 experts from the film industry, education and community organizations each gave a brief presentation of their role in bringing movies to Georgia. The panel was hosted by the Macon Film Commission’s Terrell Sandfefur and took place Friday afternoon. Other members were: Alison Fibben, Clark Cofer, Elliott Dunwoody, Jeffrey Stepakoff, Jeremiah Bennett, LaRonda Sutton, and Shelbia Jackson.

Discussion was held in the Peyton Anderson Rotunda inside the Tubman Museum where panelist Elliott Dunwoody explained how the movie industry got a head start in Georgia with a lot of help from Burt Reynolds, who starred in Deliverance (1972). Today, shows like the Living Dead, various reality shows and movies like Avengers: The Infinity War and Furious 8. All counted, there are at least 33 different TV and movie productions being filmed in Georgia.

Part of the discussion focused on how ordinary people could help bring these productions to Georgia. One of the most important aspects is the skills set of local residents. Movies and TV productions not only need actors, they need electricians, sound engineers, hair and makeup stylists and scores of others to round out the production. These “non-glamorous” roles are critical to the success of any production and producers are more likely to film in areas that have enough skilled workers to meet their demand. Organizations like the Macon Film Commission can furnish you with more information on opportunities to learn the business or apply your skills.

Billion Dollar Baby
“Billion Dollar Baby” was attended by 50 plus people from Macon and as far away as Massachusetts. Photo by Doug Deal.

Another big part of the equation are the tax breaks and credits the industry can take advantage of which are made available by the state government. If a studio has a presence in Georgia and uses local Georgia companies, they can receive a tax credit for a portion of what they spent. Further, by displaying the peach logo you may have seen in the credits at the end of a movie, studios can receive additional credits. Such publicity encourages more films and series to consider Georgia.

The Georgia film industry is hot–by some reports it is hot enough to rank as the third busiest location in the United States for film and TV productions. That heat is generated by a partnership of industry executives, economic development organizations, various film commissions, state and local governments, and the people of Georgia.

Find out more from at the Macon Film Commission. The film festival activities continue this weekend. Saturday July 23, check out the casting workshop, also at the Tubman Museum from 1 to 2 PM.

For any of the many other Film Festival events, please consult their schedule.



Published by Doug Deal

Founder Doug Deal is a former chemical engineer from Georgia Tech who switched careers into software development at the turning of the millennium. He has lived in Macon for nearly 12 years and started Macon Community News in 2013 with his wife Lauren. His goal in starting the newspaper was to publicize positive news because he grew tired of so much negativity driving most local coverage. He has 2 children, Sam and Isobel.