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Like a well-worn film franchise, the motion picture industry has opened another chapter to transport its liberal agenda to so-called red states after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the pro-life "heartbeat bill" into state law on May 7.
Last month, Church Militant reported that Georgia's adoption of the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act prompted a group of Hollywood actors and both East and West branches of the Writers Guild of America, a union of film and television writers, to threaten a boycott of the state.
This week, the LIFE backlash universe expanded with the heads of three independent film companies pledging to boycott all future work in Georgia until LIFE is repealed.
David Simon tweeted on May 9 that his production company Blown Deadline will eliminate Georgia from consideration for future projects. Simon is best known as the producer behind the gritty urban dramas The Wire, Treme and The Deuce, all aired on HBO and respectively set in Baltimore, New Orleans and 1970s New York City.
Christine Vachon, CEO of the independent film company Killer Films, also tweeted her company would not do business in Georgia "until this ridiculous law is overturned."
Killer Films is responsible for overseeing such films as last year's First Reformed, a Paul Schrader-directed vehicle about an alcoholic pastor who contemplates becoming a suicide bomber to raise environmental awareness. Vachon also produced a string of movies directed by Todd Haynes, including 1991's Poison, which was heralded by Sight and Sound film magazine as a work at the forefront of the "New Queer Cinema."
Additionally, Mark Duplass of Duplass Brothers Production tweeted:
Mark and Jay Duplass are known for quirky, low-budget films including the recent Netflix presentation Paddleton, which stars Mark as a terminally ill man attempting to enlist his friend (played by Ray Romano) into helping him commit suicide.
Governor Kemp shows no signs of capitulating to the industry's attempts to transport its liberal agenda to Georgia.
"We cannot change our values of who we are for money," he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "And we're not going to do that. That's what makes our state great."
Kemp also stated: "For people to want to boycott the state because we are protecting life at the heartbeat — I don't understand that."
Savannah television station WTOC reports that the film industry threats have no teeth to do irreparable financial harm to the state. WTOC quotes Charles Bowen, an attorney and founder of the Savannah Film Alliance: "I think that the impact will be felt, but it won't be catastrophic."
You've got a small, vocal minority that is very upset, but you've got the industry-wide people that realize, look, the people who are going to be impacted by a boycott are not the people sitting up in the Statehouse. It's the people that rely upon the entertainment industry for their livelihood, the people that are the hardworking citizens of the state of Georgia.
Bowen noted that LIFE won't go into effect until 2020, which leaves a door wide open for legal action to find the bill unconstitutional before then.
"Georgia has worked hard," he said. "The citizens of Georgia in this industry have worked very hard to build this state into what it is in terms of production."
Bowen added that the state's film incentives, established film industry infrastructure and talent pool make Georgia a "cost-effective place to come and make your movie production."