Georgia abortion laws impact Augusta movie industry

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 8:03 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Over the last few years, we’ve seen how big Georgia’s film industry is firsthand.

From Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson filming downtown to Suicide Squad filming scenes at the old jail.

Atlanta has always been a hot spot for films, and Tyler Perry studios only added to the hype.

The Hollywood of the South’s production could take a hit, as other states offer incentives for crews to film elsewhere.

California’s Governor Gavin Newsome says his state doesn’t have controversial and restrictive laws on abortion, so crews should film there.

With over 400 films shot statewide in the last year, we show the impact we could feel locally.

Over the last several years, many films have been shown in the Augusta area.

In fact, just last year Mel Gibson was spotted on Broad Street while filming a movie in Augusta.

Despite lawmakers in other states urging crews to leave based on abortion laws, film leaders here believe the industry is here to stay.

“I don’t think it will have much of an impact. I think everybody’s still wanting to film here because we have so much work and so much studio space. Working here in the Augusta area allows us to have a local team, a local crew, you don’t have too much worry about putting crew members up in housing or anything like that because we are all local,” says Terrence Williams, manager of IndieGrip.

Local film crew members have opportunities, as Augusta’s film liaison says the industry is booming in Augusta.

Jennifer Bowen said: “Since 2018 we’ve been seeing a consecutive number of productions coming to Augusta. So really film in Augusta is on the rise and it has great potential.”

She says this is largely due to Georgia’s up to 30% tax incentive that brings in billions for the state, and millions for the area.

“In 2021, we had an estimated 3 million dollars spent, and that’s an estimated local spend,” says Bowen.

She says many crews have already agreed to stay in our area and will just help their crew members find access to abortions in other ways so that films don’t have to relocate.

Right now, there are no major productions taking place, but Bowen says she’s anticipating one will come in the fall and they’re hopeful one more will film here before the end of the year.

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