Boffo Performance

Hollywood’s record year ushers in changes in Georgia industry education.
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SCAD Savannah – Spring 2022 – Film and Television – Student Film – “Simulacra” – Behind the Scenes – “Simulacra” is the first narrative student short film shot on an XR Stage – Producer: Bailey Asbury – Director/Writier: Hunter Melrose – Director of Photography: Jacob Ho – Production Designer: Jenna Tooley – Art Director: Kelsey Kirpich – Unreal Environment Artist: Paten Morton – Costume Designer: Mackenzie Saverance – Cast: Joey Balliro, Sophia Manyet, Gabriel Merritt, Russell Shealy, Matt Nickley – XR Stage, The Stage – Photography Courtesy of SCAD

After a record year for film and TV production in Georgia, Savannah College of Art and Design and the Georgia Film Academy’s founder are adapting to better serve the industry. Meanwhile Delta Air Lines is more ready than ever to offer those actors and producers (as well as Georgia businesses in general) an international getaway. College football fans won’t have far to go to watch another championship game. And electric vehicles keep racing ahead. Read on for more.

SCAD Hong Kong – Fall 2018 – Photography – Classroom Coverage – Professor Adam Kuehl – CLC Disney Project – North Kowloon Magistracy Building – Photography Courtesy of SCAD

So Much Screen Time

Television and film companies spent a record $4.4 billion on 412 Georgia-based productions in the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to state officials. “It’s very gratifying to see the continued commitment to Georgia’s film industry through local investment in soundstages, support services companies, and educational programs,” the director of the Georgia Office of Film, Music & Digital Entertainment, Lee Thomas, said in a press release.

SCAD is growing from eight to 11 schools to organize the more than 40 programs at its Savannah and Atlanta campuses. The new School of Film and Acting under Dean Andra Reeve-Rabb prepares students on both sides of the camera through what SCAD calls the world’s largest university film studio, including a casting office, backlot, and extended reality stages.

SCAD Savannah – Winter 2016 – Animation – Classroom Coverage – Montgomery Hall – Photography by Chia Chong

The School of Digital Media has split into the School of Animation and Motion, under Dean Dan Bartlett, and School of Creative Technology, under Dean Max Almy. Dean Honor Bowman leads the new School of Visual Communication.

At the Georgia Film Academy, which trains crew members, founding Executive Director Jeffrey Stepakoff and Strategy and Operations Director Josh Lee resigned in July to launch Content Talent South to facilitate work for screenwriters, the Georgia industry’s missing link. The firm manages writers, consults on productions, and produces new projects.

SCAD Savannah – Spring 2019 – Performing Arts – Performances – Happy Days are Here Again! – Mondanaro Theater – Photography Courtesy of SCAD

All the World’s a Stage

Off screen, the Georgia Council of the Arts has awarded more than $3.1 million, up $1 million from 2021, through 253 grants to theaters, dance companies, museums, schools, cities, and other organizations. The money comes from state appropriations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and $2 million of federal American Rescue Plan funds.

DHL Stadium dominates the low ground in Cape Town, South Africa, while Table Mountain is shrouded in clouds in the background. Photography Courtesy of Delta Airlines

Tahiti, Anyone?

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines will soon provide nonstop service to Cape Town, South Africa, and Tel Aviv, Israel, from Atlanta and to Tahiti from Los Angeles, itself a nonstop flight from Atlanta.

Each route will have three round trips per week. Service to Tahiti and Cape Town, which joins Johannesburg as a nonstop destination from Atlanta, starts Dec. 17. The Tel Aviv route, which Delta flew from 2006 to 2011, resumes March 26, seven weeks before Israel’s 75th birthday.

Championship Countdown

Football fans won’t have far to travel for the 2025 College Football Playoff National Championship, to be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta will become the first two-time host on Jan. 6, 2025. Its first time, in 2018, Alabama beat Georgia. “As soon as we wrapped up the successful hosting, we were ready and eager to throw our name back into the hat,” Atlanta Sports Council President Dan Corso said at the Aug. 16 announcement.

Any economic impact will be less if teams are nearby, allowing fans to drive in and out on game day, rather than across the country. UGA alumni might be willing to sacrifice profit to see coach Kirby Smart lift the trophy again.

Another Charge

South Korean battery recycler SungEel HiTech is building its first U.S. facility at the Hayestone Brady Business Park in Toccoa. The $37 million investment will create 104 jobs and start operations in 2024, the Georgia Department of Economic Development said on Aug. 18. Company representative Suk Jae Kim calls the facility “the last piece of the puzzle to build a sustainable ecosystem” for Georgia’s EV supply chain.

SungEel recovers more than 95 percent of metals such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium from EV batteries and manufacturing scrap.

Georgia has announced more than $13 billion in EV-related investments since 2020, from automakers Hyundai and Rivian to battery copper foil maker Denkai.

Media Merger

Sandy Springs–based Cox Enterprises, the owner of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, staked out digital turf on Aug. 8 by buying newsletter-driven news group Axios for $525 million.

The purchase includes Axios Atlanta, which launched Oct. 4 last year.

A Healthy Response

UnitedHealthcare is awarding six grants totaling $1 million to help the state’s uninsured and underserved. Announced Aug. 12, the grants are $300,000 to Voices for Georgia’s Children, $220,000 to Open Hand Atlanta and Barnes Healthcare, $160,000 to Pace Center for Girls, $150,000 to the Sowega Council on Aging, $95,000 to the Partnership for Southern Equity, and $75,000 to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s programs for seniors

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