On Sunday, April 30th I attended a private cast and crew screening at the Fox Theatre for Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. There at the Fox, I interviewed on the Red Carpet members of the Georgia film community and representatives from Marvel Studios about the state of the motion picture industry in our state.
Talk about the economic impact of the motion picture industry in Georgia.
Chris Dodd (Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America): In Georgia, there are about seven billion dollars paid in wages due to the film industry. Just on this film alone over two thousand jobs were generated and those were jobs right here in Georgia. You are going to going to have over three thousand people in this theatre today, and every one of them was involved one way or another in the making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The film industry has a huge impact locally because Georgia is becoming one of the great production centers of not just the U.S. but the world. The demand in Georgia is so high right now that there aren’t sound stages available to rent. When a director fly’s out from Hollywood to Georgia, the only people he is bringing out with him is the actors because everybody else that knows how to make a movie or a TV show is right here.
Georgia film production is booming, why are the studios coming here to film?
David Grant (Marvel’s VP of Physical Production): Your Governor and state legislator had such incredible foresight to put together this movie program that became a magnet for attracting top notch talent and studios. Georgia has flourished where many other states have failed.
What does the Georgia Film Academy do to help the film industry in the state?
Jeffrey Stepakoff (Executive Director of the Georgia Film Academy): Georgia has become one of the top three film and television production centers in the country and one of the top five in the world. We have 245 film and television productions in the state in the last fiscal year, and this year we will probably have more. Georgia has world class talent and infrastructure, and in order to make sure that we have enough crew here in Georgia, Governor Deal announced the formation of the Georgia Film Academy over two years ago. We are deeply committed to putting Georgians to work on our sound stages and sets. By the end of the fiscal year, over one thousand people will have taken classes at the Academy and over 450 will have an internship with the studios, putting Georgians to work all over the state.
You are the Executive Producer for Marvel Studios Ant-Man and the Wasp which is about to begin filming in Atlanta, so what can you tell us about that?
Charles Newirth (Executive Producer for Marvel Studios Ant-Man and the Wasp): We are excited to be here in Georgia. We are in pre-production for the film, and we will start shooting this summer, which will continue through the fall. This is the second Ant-Man to shoot here in Atlanta. In fact, the first Ant-Man film was the very first Marvel film to shoot in Georgia. There have been many since then and many more to come. It shows how much we love shooting in Georgia and how cooperative the state and the city have been. They have the best sound stages down at Pinewood Studios. We have created a family here in the community. It’s been a wonderful experience to bring back all the people that worked in the first Ant-Man film to work in the second one. We are about to take an exciting ride together in making the next Ant-Man film.
What can you tease about the Guardians film?
Lars P. Winther (Co-producer of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2): This is definitely a more emotional film. It’s about family and the Guardians sticking with each other. They go through some tough times but stay together, which is the core theme of the film.
How was it filming here in Atlanta?
Lars P. Winther: This is my fourth film shot here in Atlanta. I did the first Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, this film and the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp, so I have has a ton of experience here. Shooting the Guardians film was easy for us because we were here shooting at Pinewood. Because it’s a movie that takes place in space most of the film was shot on the sound stages, though we did do three days of location work. We shot some stuff in Cartersville, which you will see in the movie. We shot at a Dairy Queen nearby and down by the Atlanta airport. Working in Atlanta has been perfect for us at Marvel because we have a core group of people locally that we work with and they all know the drill. Pinewood Studios is phenomenal. The state takes excellent care of us, plus you have some great restaurants and direct flights to L.A., which is outstanding.
What do you think has been the reason why the film industry is booming in Georgia?
Bert Brantley (COO of the Georgia Economic Development Agency): It’ s been our long term commitment, Our governor has told the industry that this incentive is here to stay. You can put down the infrastructure; we’re seeing studios being built here because they know it’s going to be here. They can count on that for movies, not just this year, but in five years, in 10 years, in 15 years. It’s not just a one-shot kind of deal; it’s a sustainable industry.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens nationwide on Friday, May 5th.Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Website
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