Georgia Film Academy debuts new soundstage at Pinewood Studios

The Georgia Film Academy Tuesday debuted its new soundstage at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County.

The 15,860 square-foot, state-of-the-art soundstage will be used to train people interested in working in the film and entertainment industry which will need to fill 3,000 to 5,000 jobs over the next five years. The opening of the soundstage coincides with the academy’s “Semester on Set,” a 10-week course that begins in May. The course will be offered at the new soundstage as well as on campuses throughout the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia.

The academy opened in January as a one-stop complex for education, training and job placement. The Semester on Set is part of the overall program.“We’re excited to offer ‘Semester on Set’ so people can either dip their toe into the industry or dive head first into movie and film production,” ” said Jeffrey Stepakoff, executive director of the GFA.

“Studios and production companies are currently in need of a variety of on-set film positions, most of which mandate a very specific skillset requiring special training that GFA uniquely provides,” Stepakoff added. “GFA certification and ‘Semester on Set’ can put people on the fast track to a film industry career that can earn an average $84,000 annual income,” he said.

The soundstage is the newest addition to Georgia’s booming film industry.Film productions in Georgia generated an economic impact of $6 billion between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. Film and television productions invested more than $1.7 billion in Georgia during that time. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the film and television industry is responsible for more than 79,000 jobs and roughly $4 billion in total wages in Georgia. These are top-drawer jobs, with an average salary of nearly $84,000, 75 percent higher than the average salary nationally.

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The new GFA soundstage is designed to accommodate the latest, most up-to-date technology and systems. The facility features a stage designed with a 1.5 megawatt power source to handle any production need, a flexible rigging system to accommodate various lighting and construction needs, and versatile rigging requirements for every production.

Students will be trained as set dressers, mixers, boom operators, camera assistants, dolly-grips and other movie, film and television production jobs.

Enrollment for the “Semester on Set” classes is underway. The GFA program is offered at Clayton State University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia, Georgia College and State University, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Southern Crescent Technical College, Gwinnett Technical College and Savannah Technical College.

The academy has been a priority of Gov. Nathan Deal who has repeatedly touted the industry’s $6 billion impact on the state’s economy.

Visit www.georgiafilmacademy.org for more information or to register for the Semester on Set course.

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