By Maria Saporta
The City Hall press conference for the BronzLens Film Festival Wednesday provided an opportunity to voice support for tax credits and incentives for the film and video industry in Georgia.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed thanked Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston for keeping those tax credits in place.
As a result, the mayor said that in the past year, more than 250 films and video projects took place in Georgia contributing $1.5 billion to the state’s economy, employing 25,000 Georgians.
The BronzLens Film Festival, which will take place from Nov. 10 to Nov. 13, is contributing to Atlanta’s growing film industry.
“This is really the next step in what we are going to do to move this city and the state forward,” Reed said. “It’s so important we continue to win in this space — films and movies. The United States continues to lead (in this industry) around the world. It positions our city nicely.”
Reed then said that the tax credits should be expanded to include the production of commercials as well as movie and video industry.
“The television commercial business is larger than the film industry,” Reed said. “I think it’s the next place to go for the city of Atlanta, and I think it will undergird the Atlanta film business.”
Members of the Georgia music industry and economic development officials also have argued that those tax credits should be extended to the recording industry, which they say is a significant contributor to the local economy. (See previous story).
Asked about whether he would support extending the tax credits to the music industry, Reed said: “it’s a matter of getting a solution.” Reed added that it would be in everyone’s best interest to suggest all proposed changes at one time.
Then he said didn’t know exactly what incentives the music industry would want. “The industry needs to come up with them,” Reed said.
The second annual BronzLens Film Festival will have several related components to encourage the making of movies in Atlanta. For example, from Nov. 3 to 5, there will be the “Atlanta Pitch Summit,” where aspiring filmmakers can learn how best to promote their own movie and video projects.
The “godfather” of the BronzLens Film Festival — Roger Bobb — reinforced the importance of the tax credits for the industry.
“This festival wouldn’t be possible if it were not for the film and video economic tax incentives,” Bobb said at the press conference. After thanking Reed for his support of the tax credits, Bobb said that “of the seven current sitcoms featuring African-Americans, six of them are filmed in Atlanta.”