City of Savannah – Permits & Guidelines

Thank you for choosing the City of Savannah for your film location needs! The City of Savannah boasts a wealth of locations including the nation’s largest historic district. Being the first planned city in the United States, Savannah has retained its original layout with 22 public squares, quaint brick streets, and an architectural timeline which dates back to 1733. Period locations abound that easily double 19th century U.S. or European cities.

Important Links:

Professional Film Permitting Booklet (2019)
Student Film Permitting Booklet (2019)
City of Savannah Film Permit Guidelines

For more on permitting, please contact:

MATTHEW KRUEGER  
Film Permitting Coordinator 
Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism
City of Savannah
MKrueger@savannahga.gov
912-351-3837 (Office)
912-239-8837 (Cell)

For more on City of Savannah’s Cemeteries, please contact:

Event Coordinator
Ph: (912) 651-6843
330 Bonaventure Rd.
Savannah, GA 31404
Website

Please note, fees may apply.

Permit Requirements

The City of Savannah Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism is responsible for issuing permits in the City of Savannah. A permit is required for any production activity which will have an impact on public property in the City of Savannah. Requests for any City of Savannah services needed for filming (police, parking meter removal, dumpster placement, etc..) must apply for a permit. Additional permits may be required from other government agencies such as the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

The Savannah Regional Film Commission and The City of Savannah’s Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism require a pre-production meeting between a 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 Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism may know of possible conflicts with City services, local events and festivals, or other filming activities. Additional meetings may be required with the Savannah Police Department, Traffic Engineering, or other City departments.

After registering with the Savannah Regional Film Commission through their Project Registration Form, each City-owned location should be submitted to the Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism via the City of Savannah Location Permit Application.

Please submit all forms a minimum of five working days before any filming activity is to take place. Earlier 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. Please note, submitting an application does not qualify as an issued permit and does not guarantee approval. 

Failure of the production company to comply with the Savannah Regional Film Commission guidelines and conditions set forth in each permit, or the use of any location not specified in the permit, shall give the Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism grounds to revoke the permit or take other restrictive actions as necessary. If a production preps, films, or wraps a location without a permit, the shoot will be shut down and the production may be fined. 

If there are any questions regarding the City of Savannah’s permitting, please contact the Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism at (912) 351-3837.

Fees

The City of Savannah charges a one-time non-refundable $25 Application Processing Fee per location. Fees are to offset the administrative costs associated with the issuance of permits.

Additionally, as of January 1, 2019, the following Permit Fees are required per location:

  • Student Permit – $25 per location – Any production associated with a class grade.
  • Professional Permit – $250 per location – Any professional production requiring a permit to film.
  • Blanket Permit – $100 – Any professional production that does not need to set up at a specific location and has a crew size of ten (10) people or less.
  • Drone Permit – $125 per location – This fee is in addition to Student, Blanket, and Professional permits for any production that has drone work.
  • Rush Fees  This fee is in addition to any professional production that requires a permit less than 72-24 hours from the time an application is received. Please note: Submission of a Rush Application does NOT guarantee approval.
    • $75 per location – within 72 hours of production
    • $100 per location – within 48 hour of production
    • $300 per location – within 24 hours of production
  • Amendment Fees – This fee is charged in addition, per occurrence, and per location
    • $100 – low impact (minor changes such as parking requests)
    • $200 – medium impact (moderate changes such as equipment or roads)
    • $300 – high impact (major changes such as film dates or traffic control)        

Please note that Drone Permit Fees, Rush Fees, and Amendment Fees are in addition to the $250 (Professional fee) or $100 (Blanket fee).

  • On- Site Services Fee – Charged for filming at a City of Savannah owned property when a City staff member is required to be on-site during production.
    • $100/day – per staff member, per location
    • $300/day CAP – maximum fee regardless of number of locations.
  • Historic Properties Impact Fee – Charged per permit, per location
    • City Hall – assessed based on impact
      • Minimum $500/day
      • Maximum $800/day
    • Cluskey Embankment Store – assessed based on impact
      • Minimum $600/day
      • Maximum $1000/day
    • Savannah Powder Magazine – assessed based on impact
      • Minimum $500/day
      • Maximum $800/day

ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE EXCEPT IN EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Fees are due prior to the issuance of permits.  Payment can be made with check or money order made payable to the City of Savannah.  “Film Permit Fee” should be identified on the “notes” line of the check or money order.  For more information call 912.351.3837 or visit the office:

Special Events, Film & Tourism
One Waring Street – Daffin Park
Savannah, Georgia 31404

Additional fees are as follows:

  • Parking Fee
    • On Street – North of Victory Drive – $2/hr per space
  • Savannah Police Department:
    • Police Officers – $36.00/hour (4-hour minimum)
    • Police Supervisor – $51.00/hour (4-hour minimum)

City of Savannah Police Officers, Police Vehicles, Police K9, Mounted Patrol and Police Buildings are not available to use in films and photo shoots.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL POLICE FILM POLICY

  • City of Savannah Cost Recovery Fees:
    • Uniformed Officer – $1.00/hour
    • City Vehicle – $6.00/hour

If a production needs to cancel a scheduled officer, you must do so 24 hours prior to the officer’s scheduled time.  If you need to cancel or reschedule due to weather, you must cancel 4 hours prior to the officer’s scheduled time. Professional Productions are billed via invoice from the SPD Outside Employment Office.

  • Savannah Fire & Emergency Services:
    • Fire Marshal – $30/hour (4-hour minimum)

Any special effects that include explosives or fire will require a permit from Savannah Fire Rescue. The production’s SFX or Stunt Coordinator should NOT go directly to Savannah Fire Rescue. As with all other requests, this must go through the Office of Special Events Film and Tourism.

Insurance

Type of Insurance Required: Commercial General Liability

Minimum Limits (per occurrence): $1,000,000

Insurance Certificate addressed as follows:

The Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah
C/O Susan Broker
P.O. Box 1027
Savannah, GA 31402

Evidence of Insurance must be submitted before a permit can be effective.

Please have your insurance agent or broker submit your insurance electronically via email to SBroker@savannahga.gov 

Notification of Affected Businesses and Residents

The production company is responsible for notifying all businesses and residents affected by the filming activity as per the Savannah Regional Film Commission guidelines. Notification shall take place following the City’s review of the application and no later than 48 hours in advance to the film activity.

For an example of a notification letter, please click HERE.

All notification letters must be uploaded using THIS FORM in order to obtain the requested permit.

Special Events, Film & Tourism reserves the right to deny or revoke permits where insufficient time has been allowed for proper notification, or when the notification process has been improperly applied

The Production Company must notify impacted properties, as determined by the Director of the Office of Special Events, Film and Tourism Director or his/her Designee, no less than 48 hours prior to the presence of any film-related activity in the permitted area. Failure to do so will result in a fee charged to the Production Company as listed on the Film Permit.

The following fees will be charged to production companies found to be out of compliance:

  • First Offense – Up to $1,500 and suspension of Film Permit
  • Second Offense – Up to $5,000 and suspension of Film Permit

Student Filming

For full details on how to obtain a permit, please click the link below:

Student Film Permitting Booklet (2019)

Student Filming Permits are for any project that receives a grade from your College or University.

Student filmmakers must abide by the City of Savannah’s guidelines for permitting but must fill out the City of Savannah Student Filming Permit Application no later than 5 business days before filming.

All student productions must obtain a permit in order to gather on city-owned property if you have any of the following needs, and/or if your cast and crew size exceeds six (6) people. Please be as specific as possible in your application if you have any of the following needs:

• Special Effects – Drones, Explosions, Fire, Smoke, Haze/Fog, or Pyrotechnics
• Stunts or Any Simulated Violence
• Weapons or Firearms (real or fake)
• Animals
• Street, or Sidewalk Closures – This Includes Any Impediment of Pedestrian Foot Traffic (i.e. locking up your shot so that pedestrians can’t cross frame), Running Cables Across a Public Space Such As a Sidewalk/Street/Park/Square, or Staging of Equipment on a Sidewalk or Street.
• Parking for Equipment Vehicles – This Includes Generators
• Intermittent Traffic Control – This Requires Police (see below for officer rate sheet)
• Locking A Location – This Protects Students From Another Event/Production Booking The Same Space

The City of Savannah charges a one-time non-refundable $25 Application Processing Fee per location. Fees are to offset the administrative costs associated with the issuance of permits.

Additionally, as of January 1, 2019, a $25 Permit Fee is required per location for your completed permit.

For example: If your project wants to film in Location 1: Forsyth Park, and Location 2: Chippewa Square, then you will submit two $25 Application Fees, and then once approved, be billed for two $25.00 Permit Fees, totaling $100.00.

NOTE: All fees are non-refundable except in extraordinary circumstances.

Fees are due prior to the issuance of permits.  Please note that if you do not pick up, sign for, and pay for your permit, the permit is invalid and any filming without the permit will be cited. Payment can be made with check or money order made payable to the City of Savannah.  “Film Permit Fee” should be identified on the “notes” line of the check or money order.  To pay and pick up your permit, visit the office:

Special Events, Film and Tourism
1 Waring Drive  **inside of Daffin Park**
Savannah, Georgia 31404

To hire an officer, please click HERE for rates and guidelines.  Additional fees may apply.

Notification
Your permit requires you to provide notification to the residence and businesses near the location. This must be completed at least 2 business days before the scheduled shoot day(s). All notification letters should be uploaded using THIS FORM. For an example of a notification letter, please click HERE. Failure to notify as described in the permit is a violation.

For more information on student filming permits, please contact:

MATTHEW KRUEGER  
Film Permitting Coordinator 
Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism
City of Savannah
MKrueger@savannahga.gov
912-351-3837 (Office)
912-239-8837 (Cell)

Meetings with the Film Permitting Coordinator are by appointment only. No walk-ins accepted.