Lisa’s List: Lights, Camera, Action!

Gwinnett’s Thriving 2021 Film/TV Industry Wraps Up a Busy 2021

As we barrel our way into 2022, it’s hard to believe that immediately post-pandemic, Georgia’s film industry recorded their busiest year ever. 2021 was a blockbuster year in Georgia, setting a record with $4 billion in direct spending on productions. Credit goes to Georgia’s overall attractiveness and diversity of locations, ability to allow productions’ an earlier safe return to production (Georgia was the first state to provide a “best practices” guide for film/TV during COVID). Additionally, safety and risk mitigation protocols also added to production costs and timelines. 

2021’s growth was not just reflected in the dollars and cents. Infrastructure, jobs, and new industries continue to germinate from the entertainment industry. In addition to our wide range of natural and physical locations across Georgia, we now have over 2.1 million square feet in purpose-built stage space and 3.2 million in retrofitted stage and dedicated warehouse space (in Gwinnett, think OFS Studios and Gwinnett Place Mall). 

Overall, 366 productions filmed in Georgia, with the total encompassing twenty-one feature films, 45 independent films, 222 television and episodic productions, 57 commercials, and 21 music videos. 

At the Gwinnett Film Office, we are delighted to report many of those feature films, indies, TV productions and videos are filmed in Gwinnett. Eagle Rock TV Studios in Norcross, encompassing 465,000 sf of studio space (the largest, under one roof, in the U.S) took a leap of faith, purchasing a second studio in late 2021. Their Skyland Court location, located just down the street and housing an additional 140,000 sf of space, was immediately booked. The studio has played host to a busy TV production, filming at dozens of Gwinnett locations through 2021 and into 2022. OFS, owned by Gwinnett County, has served as studio home base for several Marvel and major studio film productions, and is also home to one of the largest Green Screens in the U.S. 

Go-to hubs for music production, high tech and recording studios are incubating here as well. Tree Sound Studios, Music Matters, Timeless Entertainment and Davis Media Studios are just a handful of studios calling Gwinnett home. Tree Sound is one of Atlanta’s largest recordings studios and plays host to everyone from Outkast to Elton John. Music Matters, in Peachtree Corners, features and all-new XR studio, which combines visuals, high end sound, high tech, and audio visuals, for not only film + TV, but also e-sports or livestream concerts. 

Film and TV permitting was processed at a breakneck pass, with over 200 film/TV permits approved. As a county, the collaborative approach to filming approval has made us a ‘go to’ choice for filming for dozens of location managers. In my role as Gwinnett’s Camera-Ready liaison, I serve as the primary and usually first point of contact for dozens of location managers who are looking for stages, locations, and road usage. Gwinnett’s commitment to welcoming the industry at every level has resulted in productions choosing specifically to film here. 

In the past month, eagle eyed residents could have seen the TV shows Atlanta, The Resident, Queens, Dynasty, Ozark, The Wonder Years, The Game and others. The 2021 Emmys awarded 62 nominations to Georgia lensed shows, including Lovecraft Country and the Falcon and the Winter Soldier, having filmed in Gwinnett. 

Filming is not limited to our stages – yellow production signs dot Gwinnett, including the Gas South District, downtown Norcross, downtown Duluth, Tech Park, Sugar Hill, TPC Sugarloaf, the Southeastern Railway Museum, Downtown Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation and numerous other locations. 

Our film website, is ever growing with location options for film, TV, and commercials. We utilize an industry photo locations gallery, Locations Hub, to highlight over 300 options for filming in Gwinnett. By the end of 2022. we hope to have 400+ locations included. Residents who have suggestions for potential filming locations (high end private homes, historic residences, interesting, off the beaten path options) –  email for inclusion.