'American Pickers' to film in Georgia

The state of Georgia has put together a best-practices list to help restart the state’s TV and film industry. Shows such as “American Pickers,” starring Mike Wolfe, left, and Frank Fritz, are expected to make their way into Georgia once the industry resumes.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp announced recently a filming “best practices” guide for Georgia that offers guidance for Georgia’s thriving film and television industries to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 when productions resume in Georgia. The recommendations were developed in close cooperation with officials from studio and production companies who maintain a presence in Georgia.

As future film and production planning continues, these best practices are available to anyone considering filming in Georgia while prioritizing the safety of all cast and crew. Companies may opt to use these recommendations in conjunction with industrywide labor and management protocols as they are developed.

“We are so grateful to the hard-working people who make up and contribute to Georgia’s incredibly successful film and TV industry, and we thank them for all the ways they have given back throughout the state’s response to COVID-19,” Kemp said in a news release. “The Georgia Film Office has maintained their close work with industry executives to develop these outlines for how productions can help protect cast and crew members. These best practices are offered as an addition to any industrywide labor and management recommendations for protocol.

“Every element of what has made Georgia such a unique place for film – landscapes, production facilities, a skilled and growing work force, with a pipeline of new labor thanks to the Georgia Film Academy and our College and Career Academies – are still in place, just as they were before this global pandemic. Last year, Georgia set a new record for film, and we will continue to work with our partners in the industry to get Georgia back on the same track that made our state the successful production center that it has been for years.”

Prior to the worldwide COVID-19 response, which brought film and television production activity to a virtual standstill worldwide, Georgia set a new record for film during fiscal year 2019. The 391 film and television production companies that worked in Georgia spent $2.9 billion in the state, supported 3,040 motion picture and television industry businesses, and delivered $9.2 billion in total wages.

“Georgia’s partnership with our film and television production industry is stronger than ever,” Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said. “During this global pandemic, we have maintained an open dialogue with our partners to protect Georgians working in the industry, while collaborating on best practices to bring production back and safely restart the economy. We applaud our industry partners for the ways in which they have continued to give back and support the state’s efforts to combat COVID-19.

“The backbone of Georgia’s film and television industry is made up of small businesses in every corner of our state, and these businesses have helped create the environment that makes Georgia such an attractive place for productions. We will continue to help these important businesses navigate new circumstances. As we return to production across the state, there is no doubt Georgia will maintain its position as a powerhouse for film and television production.”

Georgia’s film work force has used its talents to provide critical help and find work during the pandemic. More than 51,000 Georgians work in film and TV production, and while film projects are on short-term hiatus, many crew workers have adapted their skills to assist front line efforts. The Georgia Film Office spotlighted a few of these efforts. Support resources and assistance for industry professionals and businesses remains available on the Georgia Film Office website.

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