Commentary by Randy Davidson
I enjoyed being in Athens yesterday to attend the Georgia House of Representative’s Rural Development Council meeting. These elected officials travel the state holding meetings to uncover ways to better support job growth and economic development in these communities in Georgia. This particular meeting at UGA also included the topics of healthcare and workforce development.
Matt Campbell of the Coastal Entertainment Alliance shared remarks about the Creative Economy and highlighted growth around regions represented by the Georgia Regional Film and Entertainment Alliance. He discussed the growing desire of young Georgians to have careers in the film, music, arts, gaming and digital entertainment arena and how the state’s film incentive has opened the door in these areas. To this end, communities outside Atlanta are seeing increasing private investment along with public support to further meet job demands in these rural areas.
Cathy Parker, CEO of PhilanthroFilms, INC in South Georgia, and Deborah Moore of Pigmental Studios in St. Marys, Georgia talked about the growing awareness of career opportunities in creative industries among our youth. Cathy talked about the evolving film industry in Brooks and Lowndes County and how her organization is partnering with educational institutions. Deborah explained the unique opportunity along Georgia’s coast to build a special place for creative storytelling at their recently acquired 67-acre animation and filmmaking development.
Observing this hearing, it is incredibly impressive to witness the collaboration of stakeholders around the state working to educate policymakers about opportunities for all of Georgia to participate in this area of job creation and economic growth. Some of the biggest cheerleaders of rural growth are studio executives and industry leaders in Atlanta that know participation on a statewide level is crucial to the longevity of the film incentive and other programs Georgia’s policymakers might consider to drive more growth in creative industries.
Opportunities like this hearing and other efforts to engage local and statewide leaders show the power of cooperation, collaboration and the willingness of all stakeholders to work together for the common good. It’s a good day to be in Georgia. (See more pics here.)