It’s MovieMaker’s 2014 edition of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker! We’re counting down through our Top 10 Big Cities, Top 5 Small Cities, and Top 5 Towns—releasing one location a day for the entire month of January. The full list, published in MovieMaker‘s Winter 2014 issue, will be available on newsstands January 28.

Top cities

Unlike previous years where locations were pitted against each other in a single pool, this year we separated the list into three distinct categories: Big Cities (pop. 500,000 and up), Small Cities (pop. 100,000 to 500,000), and Towns (pop. 100,000 and under). After months of research, interviews, and mathematical formulas, we boiled the rankings down to the essential elements. All locations were rated according to six criteria: Film Production in 2013 (shooting days, number of productions, dollars generated), Film Community and Culture (film schools, festivals, independent theaters, film organizations), Access to Equipment and Facilities, Tax Incentives, Cost of Living, and a General category that included lifestyle, weather, and transportation. Did your place of choice make the list? If not, maybe you should choose again if you’re serious about rooting yourself in a location that’s conducive to your career and life goals – or drop us a comment proposing a place we overlooked this year!


Top Small Cities

#5. Savannah, GA

“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” A memorable moment from a memorable movie. Forrest Gump uttered those precious words while sitting on a bench in Chippewa Square in Savannah, Georgia – a city so rich with history and natural beauty that even General Sherman decided to spare it from his destructive ‘March to the Sea’ campaign during the Civil War.


Often referred to as “The Southern Belle of the Georgia Coast,” Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia, with forts, Victorian homes and a massive Historic District with 22 park-like squares. “We can play for a broad array of locations, be it a small town, a crowded New York street, the jungles of Vietnam, or a desert wasteland,” said William Hammargren, Film Services Administrator at the Savannah Film Office. Besides scenic beauty, moviemakers enjoy a top interdisciplinary film education at Savannah College of Art and Design.


The Georgia Entertainment Industry Act allows filmmakers a 20 percent tax credit on a $500,000 minimum for production and post production activities in the state. Toss in a Georgia promotional logo in your film and you can qualify for an additional 10 percent. The results have been staggering: In 2012, Savannah experienced the highest number of projects, employment, and local spending in its history—over $12 million locally and $26 million economically. CBGB, Desires of the Heart, Four Senses, The Sacrament, and many others took advantage. However, the effect of the recent elimination of the Point of Purchase Sales Tax Exemption has yet to be determined—one reason Georgian cities don’t place as high on this year’s list as in the past. MM

For more information about filming in Savannah visit the Savannah Film Office.

Check back every day for the rest of January to see which small cities and towns are the best places to live and work as a moviemaker in 2014! Previous rankings:


10) San Francisco

9) Memphis

8) Portland

7) Philadelphia 

6) Boston 

5) Seattle

4) Los Angeles

3) Austin

2) New York 

1) Chicago

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