On Location: ‘Killing Season’ for De Niro, Travolta in Georgia
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Robert De Niro and John Travolta are about to do battle in the Appalachian Mountains, further evidence of Georgia’s rising star in film production.
The veteran actors will head to the North Georgia mountains next week to begin filming ‘Killing Season,’ in which De Niro plays an American military veteran living in a remote cabin in the woods and Travolta stars as a vengeful former Serbian soldier disguised as a tourist.
‘Killing Season’ producer Millennium Films scours the globe for film tax credits, shooting films in Israel, South Africa, Canada and Bulgaria, where its sister company Nu Image owns Nu Boyana Film Studios, a 75-acre former communist-era studio it acquired and rebuilt in 2006. In the U.S., the company normally goes to Louisiana, where it owns a 70,000-square-foot studio.
This time it has opted for the Peach State. “We looked at Connecticut and at Louisiana, but Georgia has the mountains and the rebate,” said Millennium Chief Executive Avi Arad.
After surviving a proposed cut last year, Georgia’s film incentive — which was ramped up in 2008 from a 20% to a 30% transferable tax credit on in-state production expenses — continues to establish the Southern state as a competitor to others in the region like Louisiana and North Carolina, whose own lucrative programs have designated them as go-to destinations for film and television productions looking to cut costs.
Georgia’s film tax credit drew a record 126 movie and television productions, including Paramount Pictures’ “Footloose” remake and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” in fiscal 2011 — measured from July 2010 to June 2011 — up from 94 the previous year and 48 in 2007.
The boom led EUE/Screen Gems to announce an expansion to its 33-acre studio complex in Atlanta and a 71% increase to the economic impact — from $1.4 billion in fiscal 2010 to $2.4 billion in fiscal 2011 — from all production in Georgia, according to the state.
“It  has been a windfall of activity,” said Lee Thomas, director of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office. “Every year, it gets stronger.”
— Dima Alzayat
. Credit: Georgia Department of Economic Development