WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -– Film is one of North Carolina’s largest industries, but could the production soon wrap without help from Raleigh?
Over the last twenty years Wilmington has earned the moniker of Hollywood East, but the changing political landscape has some productions staying in the Hollywood hills.
“The landscape has changed,” said Dan Brawley, the executive director of the Cucalorus Film Festival. “The incentives race has really created an intense competition to draw productions to different parts of the country. Wilmington is just one of many places where filmmakers can take a project.”
With North Carolina’s film incentives scheduled to run out in January 2015 there are questions about whether the republican-led state legislature will pass another set of incentives to keep drawing films to the Tar Heel state.
“Throw your political philosophies aside,” said Brawley. “If we want to be a production location and if we want to remain competitive in the industry then we have to have a really solid tax program to encourage productions to come to Wilmington.”
“What we need to talk about is jobs and the spending it creates in the state,” said Aaron Syrett, director of the North Carolina Film Office. “It’s all new money and that’s economic development at its core with outside money coming into our communities.”
Jobs that some say are key in an economy that is already struggling.
“Without the incentives the movies won’t come here,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the University North Carolina School of the Arts. “Without the movies coming here our students won’t have the opportunities that they’re having now, not just for internships, but for entry level jobs. There for they’re going to have to leave the state to do it and my fear is if they leave the state to do it they’re not coming back.”
The “State of the Slate” panel at the Cucalorus Film Festival is encouraging everyone to contact their local legislators and express how the film industry and the jobs it creates are to the Tar Heel State.