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Published on June 16th, 2017 |

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BBA hears economic impact of TV/film industry on state; presents awards

Members and guests of the Buckhead Business Association learned of a 3,000 percent increase of TV/film industry economic impact to the state of Georgia from 2007 to 2016 at its Signature Luncheon June 15, while also handing out the BBA’s annual awards to one of its own longtime members and three public safety honorees.

Necia Kelleher, center, was presented the Karl A Bevins Service Award by Julie Bailey, BBA co-vice president of programs, and 2017 BBA president Barry Hundley. Photos by Joanne Hayes

Dunwoody native and Woodward Academy graduate Jeffrey Stepakoff, executive director of the Georgia Film Academy, told the luncheon group at J.W. Marriott hotel in Buckhead that the

TV/film industry’s economic impact on the Peach State rose from $242 million in fiscal 2007 to $7.2 billion in fiscal 2016.

The boom came after the state Legislature in 2008 approved the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which allows filmmakers to transfer up to 30 percent of their state production expenses into tax credits, according to a report by the Northside Neighbor newspaper.

“Simply put, it’s widely regarded as the most protective film tax credit in the country,” said Stepakoff told the BBA audience, according to the newspaper report. “We’re actually now one of the top three film and TV production centers in the country and we’ve surpassed the rest of the nation in a new report that just came out,” he is reported to have said.

A May report by Film L.A. Inc., a nonprofit for the Los Angeles-area movie industry, found Georgia was the top filming location in the world in 2016 with 17 of the top 100 highest-grossing movies of the year produced primarily in the Peach State.

“The effects of all of this production and all this economic activity here in our state have been nothing short of transformative,” he said according to the newspaper report. “We’re talking every time you turn around here in Atlanta and certainly in Buckhead, you see the film crew signs.”

Stepakoff, is a former TV writer who lived in Los Angeles who penned episodes for shows such as “Simon & Simon,” “Major Dad,” “The Wonder

APD Zone 2 officer Leon Kinard receives his Public Safety Award from, left to right, BBA’s Dr. Scott Allman, David Coxon and Barry Hundley.

Years” and “Dawson’s Creek,” according to his biography.

The BBA also presented its annual Karl A. Bevins Service Award to longtime member Necia Kelleher for her contributions to the organization since becoming a member in 1985. A native Atlantan, Kellerher has been a part of the Buckhead community since she was 11years old and a licensed realtor with Harry Norman Realty for 34 years.

Always offering a humorous food-for-thought note during introductions at BBA breakfast meetings, Kellerher can often be heard singing at McKinnon’s Restaurant on weekends or lending her spirit as a cheerleader for the “Dream Team” female basketball team. She has willingly given her time to BBA committees and events for years.

The organization also gave out its annual public safety awards to members of the Atlanta Police Department, Atlanta Fire Rescue and Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.

APD Officer Leon Kinard received his award for arresting a suspect accused of making a fraudulent charge with a stolen or forged credit card at a

Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Buckhead Station 21 Lt. Owen Jones accepts his award from past BBA president David Coxon, left, and 2017 president Barry Hundley.

business April 25, along with two accomplices. After chasing down the first suspect on foot, he detained two more waiting in a parked car.

Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Lt. Owen Jones was honored for leading a crew from Buckhead Station 21 to battle the March 30 fire under the Interstate 85 bridge near Piedmont Road in Atlanta that caused its collapse. That station’s firefighters were among the first teams on the scene and stopped traffic on the highway, preventing injuries or deaths.

Fulton Sheriff’s Office Capt. Daniel Cochran was honored for implementing Sheriff Ted Jackson’s vision of having his deputies play a more positive and leading an outreach program that went from interactions with 30,000 residents in 2015 to 54,000 the following year.

–John Schaffner

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