News Column

Tax credits result in work for local artists, filmmakers

July 27, 2013


July 27--Tom Hamilton and Tripp Rhame are pretty clear about what the state's film-industry tax credits have meant to their film project.

They're the reason there is a film project.

"We couldn't have done it without it," Rhame said. "That's what funded this production."

Their Midtown-based Spitfire Studios started out as a commercial photography studio but morphed into filmmaking, buoyed by Georgia's film-friendly tax policies. Tax rebates claimed in years past from projects such as television commercials financed their movie, a horror film called "The Circle." It wrapped recently after filming in a home in Snellville and at the Atlanta Prison Farm site.

The plan is to enter the movie, about friends who end up at a haunted prison, into film festivals with hopes of getting picked up and distributed. After that, the partners plan to keep going, using tax rebates realized from this project to fund future work.

"That's the beauty of it," Hamilton said.

"The Circle" did import some talent, including actress Chelsey Crisp, who's been seen on "Mike & Molly" and "Rizzoli & Isles," and Riley Smith of "90201" fame.

But most cast and crew members, which numbered 60 on the movie's busiest days, were local residents like special effects artist Andre Freitas. The owner of AFX Studios in Marietta, he said the state's incentives for filming projects has ratcheted up his workload.

"The tax incentives give us more opportunities for work and keep us working on a more consistent basis," siad Freitas, who has work on Georgia-shot television shows including "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Walking Dead" and movies including "X-Men: First Class." "I've worked nearly every day for the past three years."


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