Film industry generates $9.5 billion for Georgia
Forsyth officials hope to add projects

Zombies, superheroes and bank robbers walk the streets of Atlanta, the bad guys trying to destroy the city while the good guys fight back.

No, the apocalypse is not coming.

Those characters, which residents may accidentally run into in and around the city, are part of the hundreds of television shows and movies being filmed in Georgia, which, in May, was named the top filming location worldwide for 2016 in FilmLA’s 2016 Feature Film Study.

Georgia-filmed movies and TV shows hitting screens nationwide

“Logan Lucky”

  • Stars: Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum
  • Opens: Aug. 18


“American Made”

  • Stars: Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleason
  • Opens: Sept. 29


“Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House”

  • Stars: Liam Neeson and Diane Lane 
  • Opens: Sept. 29


“Ozark”

  • Stars: Jason Bateman and Laura Linney
  • Airs: July 21 on Netflix


“Stranger Things”

  • Airs: Oct. 27 on Netflix


“Manhunt”

  • Stars: Sam Worthington and Paul Bettany
  • Airs: Aug. 1 on Discover

Aside from bragging rights, that designation has had a positive impact on the state’s economy, according to Gov. Nathan Deal, who announced on Monday the film industry generated $9.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2017, which ran from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

“Georgia’s film industry supports thousands of jobs, boosts small business growth and expands offerings for tourists,” Deal said. “As one of the top places in the world for film, Georgia hosted a remarkable 320 film and television productions during the last fiscal year.

“These productions mean new economic opportunities and real investments in local communities. We are committed to further establishing Georgia as a top film destination and introducing film companies to the camera-ready backdrops available across Georgia.”

The impact has been recently felt – and seen – in Forsyth and surrounding counties.

In late June, the former Regions Bank in downtown Gainesville made its way onto movie screens across the country in a scene from “Baby Driver,” a film about a young getaway driver played by Ansel Elgort.

While the movie filmed in Hall County, James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, said Forsyth has “a positive track record for the number of films and TV shows filmed and produced here.”

He said the county should, ideally, play host to more filming locales.

“We are certainly not hosting anywhere near the kind of work that should be going on,” he said. “But the [Chamber’s] Board of Directors recently convened a tourism advisory committee, which just had its second meeting.

“The committee is much like what we’ve done with economic development – we’re reviewing and revising a tourism development plan, and while it’s a little early to say what kind of strategies we’ll have in place, film is clearly going to be a huge component of that.”

McCoy said part of the plan is to build on the successes the county has previously had in the hopes of generating more projects.

“We’ve got a great place to film from, but we’re not taking advantage of what we should be,” he said. “Bringing in [filming] is important because the tangible results are [the industry] is using and buying local resources from local vendors, which is a very important aspect of our economic growth.

“But having [the industry] here also helps us a great deal in enhancing our brand and our story in the business community.”