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Marvel Studios' Love of Georgia and Why They're Here to Stay

The Georgia film industry is a big as its ever been thanks to substantial tax benefits over the past decade. Just last year the state saw an economic impact of more than $7 billion thanks in part to the industry. One of the biggest contributors is Marvel Studios, and here's why.

It all began with Ant-Man, which was the first film production of the newly created Pinewood Atlanta Studios in 2014. Then came Captain America: Civil War. Currently we're on the verge of the release of both Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Black Panther recently wrapped filming, Avengers: Infinity War is currently filming, and Ant-Man and the Wasp is about to begin pre-production. Further down the road we have Captain Marvel and the fourth Avengers film. All of these films are primarily being shot in and around Atlanta. Without a doubt, Marvel is here to stay.

But why?

Other states have offered equally appealing tax credits in the past but have been nowhere near as successful as Georgia, who currently ranks #3 in worldwide film production. Bert Brantley, the COO of the Georgia Economic Development Agency, attended the Atlanta premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this past Sunday and spoke with us about why Georgia's film industry is booming.

"It’s been our long term commitment," he says. "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 kinda deal; it’s a sustainable industry."

Georgia's commitment to the long term can be seen through the influx in local crew members working on these films. The Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta was packed to capacity with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 crew members eager to see the results of their labor on the big screen. Most of them had worked on previous Marvel films as well and will no doubt work on future Marvel films, too.

"One thing we’re proud of is helping create the burgeoning and growing crew base that’s here," says David Grant, Marvel's VP of Physical Production. "There was a point where we used to have a very small portion of the crew that were local hires. That is now changing. Every movie we do we hire more locals so that number is shifting. We’re very proud of that."

A lot of that is thanks in part to the Georgia Film Academy, which works with the Georgia Board of Regents, the university system, and technical schools to give students hands-on experience working on film sets and provide the tools and training necessary to work in the industry. "Back when shows first started shooting here they would import crews in from California and New York," explains Brantley. "Now we’re building that crew base. We’re teaching them literally on the set, like you would with any internship. They’re on the set, using that equipment, and we’re building that experienced and trained workforce and crew base that shows are going to rely on for the next 10 or 20 years."

They may say that all good things must come to an end, but Georgia's film industry is looking as strong as ever. One thing is for sure, Marvel Studios isn't going anywhere.

"There will be situations where due to specific location requirements and other city requirements where we might have to go away for a little bit, but we will continue to come, says Grant. "There might be a little gap sometimes here and there, but our plans are to constantly come here henceforward. We plan on being here into the unforeseeable future." 

Matt Rodriguez
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