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By Kunbi Tinuoye

Atlanta has been dubbed the “Zombie Capital of the World” by a glossy monthly, Atlanta magazine. Love or loathe this self-proclaimed title it does not take much to stumble on zombie-ness around Atlanta.

The hype is most to The Walking Dead, the critically acclaimed Atlanta-based TV show, which returned to screens earlier this month with its second session.

Greater Atlanta is fast becoming the “Hollywood of the South.” The industry is thriving and a relatively new tax incentive for filmmakers has created a boom in movie and TV production.

In 2005, Georgia passed some of the nation’s most advantageous tax incentives for filmmakers. Many people credit the tax incentive with having brought to the state billions of dollars and thousands of jobs

“The tax incentive has been a real incentive and the Festival works with other creative organizations to rally our audience and fan base to lobby Georgia lawmakers to continue to renew it,” says Chris Escobar, Managing Director of the Atlanta Film Festival, which one of the largest and most established festivals in the region.

It is not just the tax incentive, bureaucrats have created a nurturing environment for filmmakers, says Chris Escobar in an interview with theGrio. “For example, there is a willingness from the police to provide permits to facilitate production.”

The team behind the The Walking Dead admits Atlanta treated their production crews well. “We’ve gotten great cooperation from the city. Last night, for instance, we shut down a state highway for the third time this season,” The Walking Dead‘s production designer Gregory Melton has said. “The people here have been more cooperative than most other places. The people here are friendly and accommodating. They would never, for instance, shut down a freeway in L.A. for us. Never.”

Something unique about Atlanta has made it a hub for creativity. “Atlanta has long been known for its abundance of independent artists and that probably contributes to the people in our city being more receptive to those things that may be considered controversial,” says Blake Myers, Festival Director of the Atlanta-based Buried Alive Film Festival

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