A new fund is being launched by the City of Atlanta to boost local film and television production.
At a recent Writers Guild of America meeting, the director of the Mayors Film and Entertainment Office, Chris Hicks, announced information about a new fund. Hicks shared at the event that, "in conjunction with Invest Atlanta, we've created a creative industries fund." In Georgia, Argentum Entertainment and RoadShow Management Partners have created funds in the past year with the goal of investing in film projects. The latter raised $25 millions to back independent projects in Georgia. However, to date, the city has yet to get involved in film financing until now. Mayor Reed has signed off on the fund, but it is too soon to formally announce all the details of the fund, but that up to 50 people may be involved in spearheading the project. "It's still early stage, but the hard work has been done, it's past the council, and we have the mayor's John Hancock," Hicks said.
One thing the Georgia film industry has been lacking is financial support to back original content, instead of projects conceived and funded by Hollywood investors. Hicks reported that it can be difficult to get projects in motion with financial snags. "What you have to go through to actually get your projects green-lit, to be a part of projects, it's just—'daunting' would be not even remotely accurate... If the city wanted to support you as a writer, they really couldn't do it... You bring your idea, and it has to go through counsel to find some sort of funding, and then you have to find out what that funding looks like. Is it a loan? Is it a grant?"
He reported that this new creative industries fund intends to be used as a lending program to help projects by providing loans against their intellectual property. As a project is sold, the city is able to receive payments back on their loan.
He assures that they have the creators' best interest in mind and want to help give projects their best chance.
"I want to be able to mitigate the downside of the city's investment and create as much narrative for upside as we possibly can," Hicks said. "In order to do that, we have to be well connected... What we're really trying to do is give creators, specifically great writers, an opportunity to showcase their ideas in the form of proof-of-concept or short-term visual series. Because I feel like it's a great opportunity to make a minimum investment with a far reaching upside."