WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington currently has six motion pictures in production. The money the film industry brings to our area is the topic of conversation among local economists and film experts today at an economic growth summit.
Since the start of the new year, local film productions have brought in more than $50 million to Wilmington, and all of the new productions have lots of local businesses seeing green.
“When they come to town, it can add thousands of dollars of business to us,” C&S Paint store manager Rick Owens said.
Owens says an active local film industry or lack thereof is noticeable for his business. In the current economic state, Owens says a booming film industry makes up for lost commercial or retail business.
“North Carolina’s film industry right now is growing, and it’s growing rapidly,” NC Film Office Director Aaron Syrett said. “We’re busier than we have been in the past decade, and it’s looking that we’re going to continue this level of work.”
Syrett says the growth has to do with smart legislation in the form of improved film incentives.
Wilmington Regional Film Commission Director Johnny Griffin agrees. He says the hundreds of skilled film workers already in place also add to Wilmington’s appeal.
“We have world-class facilities in Screen Gems Studios and what they have to offer. We’ve got great locations, temperate weather, the climate, as things are starting to warm up,” Griffin said. “It makes it a nice place for people to be.”
Syrett says the boom in business could mean hundreds of millions of dollars for Wilmington in 2011.
“People often think the film industry is all glamour,” he said. “They see the one percent of the stars walking down the red carpet, but it’s not. It’s real jobs of real North Carolinians making a really good wage with the craft that they’re really good at.”
It’s all good news to Owens, who says productions use high-quality material and always pay their bills.
“We sell it, but we don’t always see the finished product, and when you can walk onto a movie set or a TV set and see your product on there, it’s exciting,” he said.
Syrett says right now the movie business is on pace for a record year in North Carolina.