Savannah Area Film Office Guidelines
These guidelines are just that – guidelines, which may be relaxed or tightened as situations warrant. Our decisions reflect an attempt to balance the needs of filmmakers with those of businesses, residents, and the public interest, and to arrive at solutions that are favorable to all.
The Film Office has certain expectations regarding the presence of productions in our neighborhoods. Productions should remember that they are guests whose continued presence in these neighborhoods relies on the goodwill of the affected residents and businesses, and should act accordingly.
To download a PDF of our guidelines, please click here.
All productions are required to register with the Savannah Area Film Office by submitting the Project Registration Form. This information is required a minimum of five working days before any filming activity is to take place. This application is for Professional Productions only. Students do not need to register with the Savannah Area Film Office’s Project Registration Form.
Please note, the Project Registration Form is NOT a permit application. You will need to fill out a SEPARATE form to apply for a location permit. Please continue to read the next section on “Permit Requirements” for more information on how to submit a permit application.
The Savannah Area Film Office does not issue permits. The Film Office is happy to assist in connecting productions with each issuing municipality. Permits are required for any production activity which will have an impact on public property within the Savannah area. Additional permits may be required from government agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
A pre-production meeting is required between the Savannah Area Film Office, the appropriate municipality representative(s), and the production’s Location Manager or another production representative. A listing of all anticipated locations with tentative dates should be reviewed as soon as possible, as the Film Office may know of possible conflicts with each municipality’s services, local events and festivals, or other filming activities. Additional meetings may be required with the local police departments, traffic engineering, or other governmental departments.
Early application is recommended and may be required, as all permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, and the logistical complexity of the project may affect time needed for approval.
The Production Company shall limit the activities at each location to those outlined in the permit, within the time frame specified in the permit. Failure of the Production Company to comply with the guidelines and conditions set forth for each permit, or the use of any location not specified in the permit, shall give the authorizing party grounds to revoke the permit or take other restrictive actions as necessary.
The Savannah Area Film Office expects all productions to abide by industry standard safety guidelines. If known activities present a material public safety concern, the Savannah Area Film Office may cause production to pause until such issue(s) has been resolved.
Most municipalities require a certificate of insurance prior to securing a permit. Please refer to each municipality for specific insurance requirements.
Notification of Affected Businesses and Residents
The production company is responsible for notifying all businesses and residents affected by the filming activity. Notification shall take place following the permitting municipalities’ review of the application and no less than two business days prior to the planned activity. In some situations, more advance notification may be required. Earlier notification, including sign-off sheets, may be required in places where planned activities may have a significant impact on the normal activities of the area. The area to be notified will vary depending on the impact of the proposed activity.
Notification shall include a letter from the production company, and should include information concerning the location and duration of the filming activity, as well as specifics regarding lights, noise, traffic, and parking, where applicable, and contact numbers for both the production company and the Film Office. If permitting plans change after notification an updated notification letter must be distributed.
Permits may be denied or revoked where insufficient time has been allowed for proper notification, or when the notification process has been improperly applied.
Traffic Control and Street Closures
Traffic control, if needed, must be handled by off-duty police officers hired by the production company through each municipality. Each municipality retains the right to determine the number of officers needed. Intermittent holding of traffic shall not exceed five-minute intervals, unless otherwise specified by the issued permit.
No holding of traffic is permitted during morning and/or evening “rush” hours on streets which experience congestion during these times, or on streets affected by school traffic during their opening and closing hours. Each case will be evaluated individually by the permitting authority. In general, “rush” times are defined as follows:
Morning: 7:00 am – 9:00 am
Evening: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Interruption of traffic on State maintained streets requires additional approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
Requests for street closures or diverting of traffic should be made well in advance to allow for planning of alternate routes and proper signage. Production companies who wish to detour traffic within the Savannah area must submit a written plan along with the permit request to the permitting municipality and is subject to approval by the police department, traffic engineering division, and GDOT (if necessary). Production may be halted and streets opened in the event of an emergency. All traffic control, parking and street closures must allow for a working fire lane at all times.
All equipment or support vehicles not in immediate use shall be parked so as not to cause any interference to pedestrian or vehicular traffic, and shall utilize no more than 50% of on-street parking on blocks where it is necessary and customary for residents to depend on on-street parking, unless otherwise permitted. Production vehicles must be parked in such a way as to not impede safe lines of vision at intersections, and in accordance with all ordinances regarding on-street parking. Any deviations must be approved by the governing municipality.
Production vehicles must not block fire hydrants, driveways, crosswalks, or other access ramps unless authorized by the permit and/or the private property owner where relevant. Emergency lanes must be open at all times.
Parking meters are located throughout the Savannah area and require payment unless otherwise permitted.
The Savannah Area Film Office reserves the right to change, modify, update, or waive provisions of these guidelines where necessary for the public’s safety and convenience. Each permitting authority reserves the right to cancel filming permits and/or take further restrictive actions where necessary to assure adherence to these guidelines.
Due to the high volume of visitors to the city during major festivals and events, additional permitting restrictions are in place, and there is limited accessibility in the City of Savannah and surrounding municipalities during these events. Please check with the Savannah Area Film Office for specific details. Currently there are a few major events which greatly impact the area.
The City of Savannah
Some municipalities charge fees for permits. There are costs associated with the use of certain municipal services or facilities. All authorized services provided by each municipality (such as sign removal) will be billed at an overtime rate and will be paid by the production company, unless otherwise stated. All fees are subject to change. Please refer to each municipality for specific costs.
If there are any questions regarding these guidelines, please contact the Savannah Area Film Office at (912) 447-4159 or refer to our website: www.FilmSavannnah.org