Savannah was named the number two “Best Small Cities and Towns to Live and Work as a Moviemaker” in MovieMaker magazine’s annual ranking. Savannah has consistently been ranked in the top four since 2015, taking the #1 spot in 2020, 2019, 2017, and 2016.
“Hollywood knows that Savannah is the go-to location for architectural treasures, top-notch crews, and locations that can double for just about anywhere in America,” says MovieMaker editor-in-chief Tim Molloy. “But it’s not just a great place to make a movie — it’s become a great place for filmmakers to build a life. Work opportunities abound, SCAD leads a thriving local film community, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development reported a record $4 billion in direct spending on productions in the state in the 2021 fiscal year. The beauty and affordability of the town also means a very agreeable work-life balance. It’s a magical place with a down-to-earth work ethic.”
“Since 2015, the Savannah Economic Development Authority and our partners have worked to strategically position Savannah as the place for entertainment production,” said Savannah Economic Development Authority President and CEO Trip Tollison. “With a well-known and effective state tax credit, our local incentive and aggressive marketing combined with a backdrop that can be almost anywhere in the world, our efforts have paid off.”
“We are thrilled to be recognized once again and be named in 2022 by MovieMaker as the second best small cities and towns to live and work. Being named in the top four for the past seven years has helped our region build a sustainable crew base, which in turn helps us attract more productions to the region,” said Savannah Regional Film Commission Executive Director Beth Nelson.
The Savannah Regional Film Commission reported that in 2021 the entertainment production industry had a direct impact of nearly $114 million. Eighty eight professional productions were shot in the Savannah area in 2021 including Devotion, The Girl From Plainville, Chase and Tyler Perry’s Jazzman’s Blues.
“Due to the pandemic, we saw productions completely shut down and the industry took a big hit here in Savannah and across the world,” said Nelson. “Starting in late 2020, our phones began to ring, and we saw the return of production in 2021 making it one of our most successful years. We anticipate 2022 to be just as busy if not more so.”
In October 2021, the Savannah Regional Film Commission was named the number one “Outstanding Film Commission” by the Location Managers Guild International. The Savannah Regional Film Commission was nominated for its work on The Underground Railroad, a 2021 television series that chronicles Cora Randall’s desperate bid for freedom in the Antebellum South. Five other film commissions were also nominated for the award including Estonian Film Institute, Bath Film Office, Screen Queensland Australia, Liverpool Film Office and Hamilton Music & Film Office. Past winners include Toscana Film Commission, Film Otago Southland, Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment, Royal Film Commission of Jordan, FilmL.A., City of Long Beach Office of Special Events and Filming and Albuquerque Film Commission.
Also in October 2021, the SEDA Board of Directors voted unanimously to extend the Savannah Entertainment Production Incentives. These incentives are in addition to the tax credit the state of Georgia offers.
“The Savannah Entertainment Production Incentives combined with the state of Georgia’s tax credit program, have significantly raised Savannah’s profile as a desired location for entertainment production,” said Tollison.