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Georgia film industry leaders believe tax incentives are crucial to continued success

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Georgia is now competing with Canada and the United Kingdom in the film and television industry, something that would have been unheard of years ago.

Some industry leaders believe tax breaks are the main reason for the $2.2 billion year-to-year growth the industry has experienced.That level of growth translates to more than $1 billion in tax incentives and more than 30,000 jobs.

“If you go head-to-head, we are significantly cheaper than anywhere else,” said Jay Gipson, owner of development company The Gipson Co.

The Gipson Co. and Gray TV, which purchased Atlanta-based Third Rail Studios for $27.5 million earlier this year, partnered to purchase Assembly, a development located on land that once was the location of a General Motors plant in Doraville. They plan to redevelop it as a mixed-use community that includes a film studio.

“As a developer, it’s amazing to see what positive impact the film industry has had in this state,” said Gipson.

He made the comments at Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Dec. 9 Business of Entertainment event, which focused on what makes Georgia one of the world’s leaders in the industry and what growth looks like moving forward.

The panel included Gipson; co-founder of Electric Owl Studios and former president of Third Rail Studios Dan Rosenfelt; Athens-based Athena Studios CEO Joel HarberBlackhall Americana chairman and CEO Ryan Millsap; and the event’s host Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office — a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

The topic of tax incentives and what they mean for the industry going forward took up the majority of the session.

“As much as I would like to say it’s the quality of everything here [in Georgia], the crew base, the diversity, it’s the incentives that are the most crucial to the industry’s growth,” said Rosenfelt, also the former president of Third Rail Studios.

The financial incentive for studios are massive and, according to Millsap, without them there might not be much of a film industry in Georgia. See more at ABC.

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