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Anti-abortion legislation in Georgia drives more film production north

Last Updated May 28, 2019 at 5:42 pm PDT

FILE- This July 17, 2017, file photo shows a Netflix logo on an iPhone in Philadelphia.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Summary

It's going to be even harder now for established productions to compete for filming locations

Brightlight Pictures President Shawn Williamson says the exodus has been brewing over the last two weeks

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Expect to see more movie and TV crews in and around Vancouver this summer thanks to a Hollywood boycott of a U.S. state which is threatening to restrict abortion rights.

A local production boss says Georgia’s anti-abortion legislation, which hasn’t taken effect yet, is already driving more projects here as executives with the streaming giant Netflix report they’re re-thinking their ‘entire’ investment in Atlanta.

Brightlight Pictures President Shawn Williamson says the exodus has been brewing over the last two weeks.

“I’ve probably had five calls of shows that were either there already or scouting there and shifting to Vancouver or shows planning on moving there that are now looking at Vancouver as an option,” he adds. “For jurisdictions like Vancouver, Toronto, you know, anywhere outside of Georgia, it’s going to be a massive boon.”

RELATED: Netflix will ‘rethink’ Georgia shoots if abortion law holds

The head of the company that produces the hit TV series The Good Doctor adds he’s not surprised Netflix is the only major company threatening action in favour of a woman’s right to choose.

“They’re a very progressive organization. I think many of the studios are so politically connected on so many levels in so many different states, it’s probably best for them to just be quiet on this,” Williamson says. “Let the talent force it, so that it isn’t Disney or Fox or anyone else potentially leaving the state, it’s the talent forcing the move.”

Williamson tells NEWS 1130 Georgia’s loss may be Vancouver’s gain, but the threat is real.

“It’s horrible for the employees and the workers in the state who will lose a significant amount of work because of this new law…. It’s absolutely a threat,” Williamson adds. “This sort of political movement is going to be driven by the senior creative people, the actors, directors, writers who will refuse to go to a jurisdiction for all kinds of reasons. You’ll see a very quick exodus of film. It is very, very mobile. You’ll see a very, very quick move to any jurisdiction outside of Georgia now.”

He admits it’s going to be even harder now for established productions to compete for filming locations.

“Vancouver was busy to begin with, so this is only going to increase the number of projects moving to this jurisdiction. People will be juggling and doing everything they can to find new space and crew in and around Vancouver.”

Actors, including Jason Bateman and Alyssa Milano who’ve both worked in Vancouver before, are leading Hollywood’s boycott of Georgia where Governor Brian Kemp plans to ban most abortions.