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March 5, 2018

ChooseATL Council Convenes Talk On Film Industry, Role In Attracting Talent


Across the nation, organizations and entire industries are chasing after the next-gen talent that will set them apart from others. In previous years, the axiom for attracting the workforce of tomorrow could be summed up as “location, location, location.” Today location is barely the tip of the iceberg.

ChooseATL, a public-facing initiative aimed at attracting and retaining millennial talent to the metro region, is engaging the new generation across a range of mediums and outlets. At the first ChooseATL Council meeting of 2018, guests Frank Patterson, president of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, and Alex Orr, unit production manager on FX’s Atlanta, spoke to the growth of the film industry in metro Atlanta, the challenges it faces in attracting and retaining talent, and how they are working to shift more creative industry here.  

Pinewood Studios had no U.S. presence before Atlanta. In choosing the region, Pinewood listened to its clients and partners to select an area where the studio could build an ecosystem of content, creatives and infrastructure, while also understanding the political environment of the city.

“In the past decade, there has been a shift in the film industry from L.A. to San Francisco, following the developing needs of studios and technology. This is creating disruption and opportunity,” Patterson said. “Atlanta is in a position to not be either [city] – but to be its own.”

Patterson and Orr discussed the role that Georgia’s tax incentives have played in serving as a runway for the growth of the industry in the state. They also emphasized that there is work to do to open up more capital which will then help bring and keep more talent. Pursuing a sustainable film ecosystem will be the continuing goal of Georgia in the following years.

“The tax incentive is wonderful, but we also need to attract high-level content creators and companies while growing our local creators,” Patterson said.

“There are kids here making things and the tax incentive does nothing for them – we need to foster the next-generation,” Orr said.

For Patterson, the key elements that are contributing to making talent stick in the region is Atlanta’s food, music and film scenes, as well as its low cost of living. Orr spoke to the city’s habit of exceeding expectations – filmmakers arrive in Atlanta to make a film, and then another, and before long they have made the city their home.  

In the next five years, Patterson and Orr see the film industry in a good place.

“It’s never been a better time to be a creator,” Orr said. “10 years ago, filmmakers looked like white guys with glasses, and it’s great to go to film festivals and see so many different people making movies.”

Three years ago, the ChooseATL initiative began as a traditional advertising campaign and swiftly adapted to the changing demands of marketing, focusing on digital engagement and hi-touch live events to tell Atlanta’s story. The ChooseATL Council is another extension of this effort to attract next-generation talent from around the nation.

“I wanted a group of leaders who represented a cross-section of industries to be at the table helping to guide the growth of ChooseATL,” said Kate Atwood, executive director of ChooseATL, speaking on the formation of the council. “For us to reach our potential as a public-facing brand for Atlanta, it’s important that we amplify our full unique offering of careers across all industries, making it easier across the board for anyone to ‘Choose Atlanta.’”

The ChooseATL Council is co-chaired by Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin and Cox Media Group Executive Vice President Marian Pittman. The council’s mission is to work together as business executives and community leaders to provide thought leadership and strategic counsel on the ChooseATL initiative, ensuring success in attracting and retaining the talent that is needed to position Atlanta as a top region for economic growth.

ChooseATL will be at SXSW this year with a jobs booth and the ChooseATL House, a unique day-long activation of fireside chats, musical performances and panel discussions. This week the initiative announced a fireside chat with former United States Attorney General Sally Yates and an exclusive headline performance from Grammy Award-winning artist T.I.

The worldwide launch of the THEA – the first city-based video streaming platform, showcasing Atlanta creators and the culture and community of the region – will make this year’s activation the most significant yet.

For more information on the initiative, please visit 

To download the THEA app for iOS and Android, please visit