Several silent films were shot in Georgia over one hundred years ago, including in Dahlonega. The state thought it might be an early leader in film, but in a time before air conditioning, film companies understandably found summers too hot. The state was not a popular shooting location until the last 40 years or so. The commercial success from filming Deliverance in Rabun County, Georgia in 1972 led Jimmy Carter to create a state film commission in 1973, which was one of the country's first. Now known as the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office it actively recruited more that 550 film and television productions from the 1970s to 2007. Productions of particular note include Smokey in the Bandit, Dukes of Hazzard, In the Heat of the Night, Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes, Forest Gump, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Sweet Home Alabama and Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
The boost in tax incentives in 2008 created the modern era of film in Georgia. Georgia is now third behind California and New York in terms of economic impact of filming. Several studios are now based in the state and economic impact from annual production is now several hundred million dollars a year.