Savannah’s historic port is ready to make a permanent home for film in television in Georgia.
According to an article on backstage.com, Chatham County, Georgia has their sights set on keeping the industry booming with incentives. The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) has created an incentive plan that stands out from most.
Throughout the past few decades Savannah has been home to popular movies such as ‘Forrest Gump,’ but SEDA’s director of marketing and public relations Angela Hendrix is on a mission to make Savannah a year-round workplace for the film and television industry.
The goal for Hendrix was how to market Savannah to producers in Los Angeles? It was at a committee meeting that a suggestion was made to hire someone who already had a network of contacts in California to represent Savannah in LA. Ralph Singleton, an Emmy-winning producer, was hired to do so, and through talks with his contacts he developed a framework for the program.
Singleton found that big-budget productions had to spend a lot of time and money hiring crew and bringing them in from different areas of the country. Hendrix found that Savannah needed to set up an established crew base for productions.
For the past 3 years, SEDA has committed $1.5 million each year for the incentive program. The budget not only includes rebates set up for film and television productions, but also a moving expense reimbursement program for the crewmembers. This reimbursement is crucial in building the desired crew base.
The program has a minimum requirement of 7 years with “verifiable technical experience” as well as a 1-year minimum lease in Chatham County, Georgia. Hendrix and SEDA are reaching out to established crew that will hopefully bring in the industry from elsewhere.
The incentive program is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2016.