• Clay Sosis

How Georgia Hopes to Lead Hollywood's Return to Production

The set of Tyler Perry’s show “Sistas,” which filmed at his Atlanta studio following strict health and safety protocols.(Tyler Perry Studios.)


“Entertainment is one of the few sectors that's going to come up out of COVID like a rocket ship, and everything I hear from all of my relationships with politicians in Georgia is that they are ready to rock and roll this thing.” - Ryan Millsap, Blackhall Studios CEO and Chairman.

As COVID-19 cases spike countrywide, Georgia is planning to start productions as early as August. Reaching new highs, Georgia has more than 100,000 confirmed cases. In recent years, Georgia has been one of the go-to places to film content and it’s no surprise they’re working diligently to figure out what life post-coronavirus looks like. Home to Tyler Perry Studios,Pinewood's Atlanta outpost, and other production facilities, Georgia hopes to lead the country in restarting its productions.

Tyler Perry Studios released a thirty-page document titled “Camp Quarantine,” detailing new, on-set safety protocols outline exactly how productions could start up again. Studios are hesitant to set production dates, but sources say major projects are signaling their restart in the coming months. John Rooker, founder and owner of Atlanta Metro Studios, said in an interview, “Georgians want to get back to work and show that we can not only beat this virus but be leaders in this industry to hopefully encourage America to get back to work.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp officially released the state’s protocols for film and TV production on May 22, offering the signs of hope to the roughly 40,000 crew members displaced. Pinewood Atlanta Studios has invested $1 million in new safety equipment - BioIQ and Synexis. BioIQ will monitor the wellness of cast and crew while Synexis uses tech to try to reduce viruses, bacteria, and mold in the air.

“We have people circling like sharks,” said Ryan Millsap. "It's just a question of who can finally pull the trigger in a world where everybody wants to be working but nobody knows exactly how to work — and it's going to come down to whoever is ready to go tomorrow.”