The Atlanta City Council’s vote on July 1 to create a “film office” has been formally announced as the Office of Entertainment. A press release to local media summed up the new office this way: To support the city’s rapidly expanding film industry, the Office of Entertainment will streamline the permitting process for film productions, facilitate employment of local talent, create production-related educational and training opportunities, and safeguard the interests of residents and businesses affected by film productions.

In addition to streamlining the permitting process for film productions in the city, the Office of Entertainment also will be responsible for the following:

• Minimizing potential inconveniences to residents and local businesses affected by film production.
• Facilitating employment of local talent by compiling resource list of laborers and suppliers.
• Supporting the provision of education and training opportunities in entertainment production.
• Partnering with the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office to market Atlanta as a leading center for film, culture and entertainment.

The creation of the new department comes on the heels of increased complaints from residents and businesses who have been impacted by film crews shooting on location in neighborhoods around the city. Councilman Michael Julian Bond  said during the July 1 council meeting that he was in favor of the office, especially after an incident on Argonne Avenue in Midtown where a film shoot caused traffic havoc for residents. “There was no one for those folks to call and there was no one to hold accountable,” Bond said. “We need to get this established and done for accountability.”

The economic impact of the film industry on Atlanta was 3.1 billion in 2012, according to a report from the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.