The City of Savannah in the US state of Georgia is a beautifully versatile blend of rustic old and new. And the state offers filmmakers the best tax breaks in the US
The city of Savannah, the largest city of the state of Georgia in the US, has diverse neighbourhoods – from historic to Victorian and the recently annexed suburban localities, all beautifully blending contemporary living with old-school. It has vast locations from historic architecture, an outstanding cityscape, squares and gardens and luxury homes.
The Savannah area boasts the nation’s largest historical district, an evergreen urban forest and unique and timeless coastal and rural settings. Being the first planned city in the US, Savannah has retained its original layout with 22 public squares, quaint brick streets and an architectural timeline that dates back to 1733.
Georgia’s tax incentives are among the top in the nation. Savannah’s growing infrastructure, supplemented with regional resources makes filming here economical. Savannah is a film-friendly community with cooperative local governments and agencies. Most permits are free and are issued or coordinated through the Film Office.
The Savannah Riverfront is picturesque when illuminated at night. Savannah’s downtown – one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the US – is the most popular destination. Follow the same stretch and walk into the cobblestone River Street, which to date restores its 19th century look. The passageways are adorned by shops, bars and restaurants.
The city is also home to various historic houses of worship. Pay a visit to the churches and synagogues, established in the 16th and 17th centuries. Dwellings of dignitaries have been preserved, which are offered to the filmmakers for shoots. Other points of interest include the plantations, rural and urban sites and the artistically done up residential areas.
For directors, this city has a gargantuan list of places that can be creatively captured and moulded to suit a script. Look no further as this place not only offers impressive locations but also tax credit up to 20 per cent.
Savannah’s climate is classified as humid subtropical. This climate has long and almost tropical summers and temperatures reaching freezing point rarely in the winter. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic coast, Savannah rarely experiences temperatures as extreme as those in Georgia’s interior. Nevertheless, temperatures reach as high as 41 °C and as low as −16 °C. Summers tend to be humid with many thunderstorms. Nearly half of Savannah’s precipitation falls during the months of June through September.
Permits are required for most filming on public property and in some cases for private property. Though there are no fees for most permits, there are time requirements for certain activities.
All permits require a certificate of liability insurance with ‘The Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah’ listed as additionally insured.
Certain permits require that off-duty police be hired. The Film Office can help to arrange police whenever needed.
Parking passes can be purchased from Parking Services at the Bryan Street Garage at the corner of Bryan and Abercorn during regular business hours.
Press Releases As a courtesy, the Film Office can distribute press releases to local media on behalf of production companies.
20-30 per cent Tax Credit
• 20 per cent base transferable tax credit + additional 10 per cent for inclusion of Georgia promotional logo in titles or credits
• Additional incentive of up to 8 per cent Sales & Use Tax Exemption at point of purchase
• No limits on Georgia spend
• Both resident and non-resident workers’ payrolls and standard fringes qualify
• Travel and insurance qualify if purchased through a Georgia headquartered company
• Original music scoring in Georgia for projects produced in Georgia qualifies
• Post-production of filmed-in-Georgia movies and television projects qualifies
• Video game development in Georgia qualifies
• Production expenditures must be made in Georgia to qualify