Since Deliverance was shot on location in Rabun County in 1972, Georgia had long been a popular production center for film, television and commercial work, with such high-profile movies as Driving Miss Daisy and Fried Green Tomatoes, and the long-running "In the Heat of the Night" TV series.
But when "Heat" wrapped in 1993, the local industry seemed to dry up as well, as many projects headed north because of the lower production costs in Canada.
Gov. Roy Barnes decided to reverse that trend three years ago by creating tax incentives and more than tripling the marketing budget of the Georgia Film, Video and Music Office from its previously paltry level of $88,000.
The result has been a 180-degree turnaround for the local film industry. Just in the past year-and-a-half, Georgia has been the site of nine full-length movie productions, including the hit films We Were Soldiers, Sweet Home Alabama and Drumline, as well as upcoming releases Dumb and Dumberer and The Clearing, starring Robert Redford.
Film office Director Greg Torre estimates that film work contributed $267 million in economic impact last year.
That's why it's so odd that a mysterious group, identified only as FAME (Film, Arts, Music and Entertainment) who claim to "represent the Georgia film industry" recently petitioned the Perdue administration to privatize the state film office.
Many folks in the local film industry wonder why someone would suggest overhauling a government department that has only just begun getting successful results -- unless that someone has a financial interest in the matter. It's notable that Gov. Sonny Perdue is an outspoken proponent of privatization.
"This has come as something of a surprise to me," says Torre, who won't speculate on who is behind the petition. He says the issue will be addressed after the legislative session ends this week.
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Great picture and caption.
cep, i hope you become homeless.
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