Enticing Hollywood to Film in Georgia

In the framework of the Georgian government program ‘Produce in Georgia,’ top Hollywood producers, who have worked on such famous films as The Hangover, Transformers, Captain America, The Town, Sicario, and Mission: Impossible, visited Georgia to discover its potential film locations.

During a week the group visited Georgia’s most popular and ancient sites including Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kakheti, Mtskheta, the remote mountainous Kazbegi and Mestia, cave-city Uplistsikhe, Tsqaltubo, Zugdidi, and Black Sea resort town, Anaklia.

Additionally, American filmmakers met their Georgian counterparts and various production company representatives to share their experiences, as well as to learn about Georgian cinema and the existing infrastructure, which offers an excellent opportunity for Georgia to become the Eastern European center for film sets.

“The world is only now starting to appreciate what Georgia has to offer, and bringing a delegation of top location scouts from Hollywood was a very smart move,” American filmmaker Thomas Burns told GEORGIA TODAY. “The team behind the ‘Film in Georgia’ campaign has done a phenomenal job attracting the attention of foreign studios.”

Burns, who trained over a decade in Hollywood on feature films, television and commercials and who opened his own post-production studio Spectra Post in Tbilisi in December (see Georgia Today interview with him, April 7, 2016) accompanied the Hollywood delegation to advise American producers on what they can expect in Georgia and how to make the most of their shooting schedule here.

“Foreign productions will use Georgian crews and equipment in their projects and this is an incredible opportunity for Georgian filmmakers to receive training, expand their networks, and stay current with the latest work practices. While filmmaking has existed in Georgia for 100 years, Georgia is only now emerging as a 21st-century film industry, and that’s exactly what is necessary to support robust development in this sector. Filmmaking in Georgia can’t exist on state subsidies alone––there must be private investment,” Burns said.

Interest in the Film in Georgia program is high and the Enterprise Development Agency, which is carrying out the program, has seen three applications already submitted. As a result, 5,700.000 million GEL is set to be spent in Georgia.

The Hollywood delegation was hosted by the Enterprise Development Agency and the Georgian National Film Center. On their return to the US, the experts will offer location recommendations to other US film directors and producers.

Georgia started cooperating with the US film industry earlier this year after two Georgian agencies travelled to the US and presented the new government-funded ‘Film in Georgia’ program, to encourage foreign film-makers in an attempt to attract small and big budget film producers to the country.

The program offers benefits to local and foreign companies who want to use Georgia as a production site for their films. The Georgian Government hopes that by introducing a cash rebate mechanism, major international film companies will be enticed to move their on-location operations to Georgia if they are guaranteed a 25 percent reimbursement on their overall costs.

Meri Taliashvili & Tamar Svanidze

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