Atlanta’s film boom further streamlined by first-ever online service
One-stop service will increase film revenues and advance resident relations
Atlanta – home to the third-largest film industry in the US – has launched its first online process for filming applications.
Known as the film capital of the Southeast, the city’s film industry has been booming thanks to the Georgia filming tax incentives, but until May 2014, all applications to shoot in Atlanta locations were submitted manually on paper and paid for at the revenue window in City Hall.
Just a few notable Atlanta film credits include Hunger Games: Catching Fire (starring Jennifer Lawrence); X-Men: First Class; Captain America 3; Ride Along; The Vampire Diaries and Fast & Furious 7.
Atlanta recently selected the Software as a Service platform FilmApp to manage the film application process. Thanks to FilmApp, Atlanta’s Film Office is now accepting film applications online, consulting and notifying stakeholders, generating invoices, taking payment, issuing permits and generating reports – all in one place.
UK software platform FilmApp, already used by 24 UK boroughs and cities, is delighted to make its US debut in Georgia’s capital.
LaRonda Sutton, director of Atlanta’s Office of Entertainment, says, “FilmApp is a game changer for us. It’s going to completely elevate the way we do business; revenue generation and resident goodwill are going to increase tremendously.”
Ms Sutton listed the key improvements as:
- Capturing and reporting accurate data on the city’s film applications for the first time
- Communicating effectively with residents and businesses about filming in their neighborhoods
- Providing an efficient, integrated service for the film industry, continuing Atlanta’s production-friendly reputation
Although Atlanta has attracted increasingly bigger budget movies and TV shows over recent years, “the process was out of date,” stated Ms Sutton.
“Now of course, you go to our website and apply from anywhere at anytime, and make your payment online as well. The difference is amazing.”
FilmApp is used by the team of four in the Office of Entertainment, to manage hundreds of film applications, turning over significant revenue dollars for the City.
The simplicity of FilmApp is expected to drive a big increase on the 583 applications managed last year, earning US$500,000 in revenues for the City – and significantly supporting the Atlanta’s $1.1 billion film industry.
In addition to which, the city’s policy makers have welcomed automated data capture, providing accurate reporting. Ms Sutton says, “Before now, the various departments involved had to physically count paper applications.”
The Office of Entertainment opened in July last year – providing filmmakers with a one-stop shop for all their production needs. Prior to this, production crews had to find their way around various City departments, pen and paper in hand, to arrange their location shoots, from Public Works & Transportation, to the Atlanta Police Department, Atlanta Fire & Rescue etc.
Ms Sutton explains that with FilmApp, the one-stop service is at last complete, integrating approvals and notifications across all the authorities productions have to deal with. “We can update and manage lists of all those involved in planning a shoot. This means we can contact residents and business people who might be affected at the press of a button,” she says.
“This is really important to neighborhoods. We need to be able to notify everyone well in advance so they can make any adjustments to their day to accommodate the filming. This kind of communication is essential to Atlantans. It’s what sustains us as a production-friendly city.
“In addition to this, we use FilmApp to keep notes on neighborhoods that might be a little film fatigued and sensitive, so we can let filmmakers know very efficiently of any special conditions they might have.”
And because the platform is provided as a service, updates and enhancements to the system are regular and automatic, “Our service will stay on the frontline of technology,” Ms Sutton says.
FilmApp Managing Director Greg Schwanzl heartily welcomes the first US city to adopt the platform, saying, “Atlanta is a warm, generous host to film production. Its famous southern hospitality is matched with cutting edge facilities, including Pinewood Studios now.
“FilmApp couldn’t ask for a more appropriate first client in the States. We’re all looking forward to supporting the film sector here as it continues to boom, through increased efficiencies, excellent service, and strong relationships with the city’s residents.”
Mr Schwanzl adds that, as FilmApp’s reputation in the US grows, he expects local politicians to see the value of providing more efficient film office services.
“Incentives such as tax breaks are not the only way to attract the international film industry. An alternative method is to cut red tape and make the permitting process as easy as possible. Filmmakers need support from City Hall, and from residents. FilmApp is designed to deliver this flexibility,” he explains.
FilmApp’s US operations and sales are supported from the Tampa Florida based FilmApp, LLC corporate office.
Film officials and filmmakers in Atlanta welcome the new FilmApp service
Cardellia Hunter, Production Coordinator, MOE: “The online application is amazing, it’s user friendly and allows me to multitask on several applications at one time. It has allowed me to cut down the turn-around time on issuing out permits. I can work on permits away from my desk now because it is so user-friendly.”
Lauren Pallotta, Triple Nine: “Love the new film permit application system online. Applying for permits is now much more streamlined and easy without having to go into the city for processing. Cardellia and the Mayor’s Office of Entertainment personnel have been extremely helpful in facilitating the transition and responsive with any questions or unforeseen production scheduling issues.”
City of Atlanta background
- In 2008, the State of Georgia enacted the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act which increased the state tax credit to 30 percent for qualified production of motion pictures, television series, commercials, music videos, interactive games, and animation. Since then, the State of Georgia and the City of Atlanta have been a destination for producers, and continues to expand their footprint.
- Atlanta’s television and film industry currently employs more than 6,000 individuals and is forecasted to support thousands of more jobs in the near future due to the increasing number of production companies conducting business in Atlanta. In August, Mayor Reed, alongside entertainer and businessman Tyler Perry, announced the $30 million tentative agreement that allows Tyler Perry Studios to expand its production operations on 330 acres of former Army post Fort McPherson, located in South Atlanta. The expansion of the studios is expected to add more than 8,000 new jobs to Atlanta and plans to add 15-16 sound stages to support production.
Made by filmmakers for filmmakers, FilmApp is the UK’s go-to film application software platform, used across London and cities including Cardiff and Bristol. Our presence in the United States is growing, with U.S. cities who are leaders in film production joining our network. FilmApp attracted filming into client locations including: 24; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; the James Bond films, Secret Service; Survivor; The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Sherlock, Mortdecai, Frankenstein and many, many more.
FilmApp creates a virtual workroom for each film production, streamlining and automating processes. It enables the film office to accept applications online, store supporting documentation, notify and consult with key stakeholders (internal and external), create invoices, accept online payments, issue approval letters or permits, capture data and generate reports automatically – all in one place.
There’s more information at www.filmapp.com. Keep up with our news or join the twitter conversation @FilmApp_LLC
About the City of Atlanta
For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visithttps://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @CityofAtlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed
Please contact Andrew Pavord at FilmApp to arrange a meeting – email: firstname.lastname@example.org.