Thursday, May 23, 2013

Who knew? Ga. film industry a bright spot for Teamsters

Actually, we knew the entertainment industry in Georgia is flourishing and creating good union jobs. Our members are working on the sets!

Lately they've been working more than ever. Between July 2011 and June 2012, Fortune reports 333 -- yup, 333 -- feature films, television movies, commercials and music videos were shot in Georgia. The state is now one of the top five in film production.

It's been a boon for Teamsters in Local 728 in Atlanta, where film director Tyler Perry has his own 200,000-square-foot studio. Atlanta Teamsters have worked on a number of productions lately, including the last X-Men, Identity Thief and the Vampire Diaries.

The entertainment industry has employed Georgia Teamsters for at least two generations. Stephen Roland, a Local 728 member since 1993, said his mother raised him on a set going back to the original Dukes of Hazzard. Now he works on theatrical productions operating anything that runs on gas or diesel with a steering wheel.

The reason for the recent entertainment boom in Georgia is the state tax incentive passed in 2008, Fortune reports.
Jeff Bennett, the deputy general counsel and associate executive editor of SAG-AFTRA says that the number of Georgia residents who have found union-covered work has increased 90% since its theatrical collective bargaining agreement in 2009. 
The growth of the entertainment industry in Georgia has translated into increased union jobs for construction set builders, glaziers, hairdressers, and Teamster truck drivers who help move equipment and trailers to film sites, according to Lee Thomas, the director of the Georgia Film, Music, and Digital Entertainment Division. 
The tax incentives lured Flight  to Atlanta in 2011. Local 728 Teamtsers worked on the movie, which stars Denzel Washington as an alcoholic airline pilot. Wikipedia explains,
The film's relatively small budget of $31 million, which (director Robert) Zemeckis later calculated was his smallest budget in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1980, was due to tax rebates from Georgia and from Zemeckis and Washington having waived their customary fees.
Local 728 has also worked on Zombieland, Joyful Noise, Fast and Furious 5, Hunger Games 2, Drop Dead Diva, 42, Identity Thief, Walking Dead and Anchorman 2.