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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — People in the Port City who rely on the film industry to survive took their fight to extend film incentives to Raleigh today.

Film incentive advocates tried to educate state lawmakers on what the incentives mean and how they positively impact the state, but some people were not as enthusiastic about the future of film incentives in North Carolina.

It was standing room only as Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) led the battle to keep film incentives alive.

“This is my livelihood,” T.C. Anyachonkeya said. “I’m an actor and a model.”

If the state does not eliminate the sunset clause, which will end film incentives by 2015, advocates say more than 4,000 jobs will cease to exist.

“If we don’t keep the tax incentive, then movies won’t come to the state, and I don’t have a job,” UNC School of the Arts Film Student Deniese Lara said.

But those against incentives say there is much more to the story.

“When you hear the stories favoring film incentives, you hear about all of the benefits for the people who have jobs in the film industry and the supplementary benefits for the communities that have these jobs,” John Locke Foundation Communications Director Mitch Kokai said. “What you don’t hear are the ways that this money would have been spent if not for film incentives.”

He says that money could fund important issues our state faces.

“It would go toward government programs that are higher priority like paying teacher salaries or cleaning up the coal ash,” Kokai said.

We tried speaking with other state representatives today, including Rep. Chris Millis (R-16th District) and Rep. Rick Catlin (R-20th District), but many were in meetings, were busy or did not want to do an interview.

Hamilton and other local representatives have sponsored a bill that would end the sunset clause for the incentives.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget plan, though, would totally overhaul how incentives are paid to the film industry.

Comment on this Story

  • Vog46

    Passed the tax cap (on the second reading I believe) the vote was 38 to 6 and 1 GOP State senator voted against the cap because he felt it didn’t belong in Commerce – meaning only 5 DEMs voted for this.
    6 total votes out of 44 voting that day?

    What has happened to support FOR the film industry in this Legislature? Forget the GOP and Tea Party for a minute. You couldn’t carry the majority of the Dems.
    At this point the film industry ought to capitulate and come out supporting McCrory’s plan because if they don’t – with that dismal level of support – they may lose EVERYTHING.
    I know of few supporters in the House aside from Hamilton, and Iyler.

    I would have to assume that Legislators in GA, LS and TX may begin to feel emboldened to end this give away in their states too sometime down the road.
    Then it will boil down to which state offer the best locales, and best crews. THAT is when NC will shine !!!!!!


  • Taxpayer$$$

    Here is the link to the actual tax form to claim the credit:


    The state even pays for the audit!

    The credit is based upon the expenses, not the taxes paid. They can include “highly compensated individuals” up to $1 million. The expenses can be paid to residents and non-residents.

    The credit is refundable which means that the state easily can and likely will pay out more than it ever collects in taxes. Thus, it is a net drain on the state treasury.

    Where do you get a number of 65% of qualifying taxes?

  • 10101

    The state pays out more than it takes in. If you would simply take the time to read the independent economic studies (flawed film industry studies proven incorrect), you would understand that. It’s hard to imagine that so many of you really don’t. Quite frankly, it defies reality.

    To quote yourself: “Do the math.” It’s starting to look like some of you just aren’t interested in doing that. There must be a reason for that. I wonder what that could be.

  • B Kontz

    The state still collects 65% of the qualifying taxes from each eligible production. Without the incentive the state collects 100% of 0 Why is this so hard to comprehend ? If there are no productions coming to NC the state loses tax revenue. And the unemployment checks start going out for the workers that lose their jobs.

  • joshjenkins

    The woman who owned Premier Lighting on Oleander closed her business earlier this year after rumblings of the film incentives leaving. “Iron Man” and “Under the Dome” had all done a lot of business with her in 2011-2013, but looking forward, she couldn’t gamble with her business’s future on the speculation that the film industry would leave.

    Also, NEW businesses are flocking to Georgia:


    This could be in Charlotte or Wilmington but for the short-sidedness of our legislators and Governor.

    NO one should ever refer to Republicans as “job creators” in North Carolina!

  • SurfCityTom

    be realistic.

    That link takes 1 to an article on 1 LA based firm which is setting up shop in GA for 1 production company for which it has had a long term relationship.

    That is hardly a sense of flocking to Georgia.

    You guys will say anything; the problem is educated individuals know better.

    That wouldn’t even rate a weak effort attempt. More despiration.

  • Vog46

    Like any niche retailer Premier Lighting needed to recognize that relying on one industry was not the answer to her business woes.
    Home Depot knows they sell MORE than construction materials as does Lowes. Gee they also sell? LIGHTING!!!!
    This women needs to ask herself if she was price competitive. I can tell you she was not – that is purely anecdotal evidence from going there. But from the type of business she was in I can tell you she got hurt by the building recession and 2 movies filmed here wasn’t enough to bail her out of her recession hole.
    It’s a shame she went out of business but anyone with half a brain can see she couldn’t blame it all on the film industry.
    Besides even YOU said that people were too busy working to attend the film rally and news articles say there’s more filming now than every before – so this woman should be raking in the dough because of the film industry.
    Your arguments seem to be a bit contradictory…….


  • jj

    I would be for this if the taxpayers got more out of it. Iron Man 3 grossed 1.2 Billion dollars world wide. What percentage did they pay NC on the profits of this movie? So, we gave them a tax break with that amount of money being made.

    Let NC have 1% of the ticket sales and I say let them be here tax free.

  • Guest000000

    Oh, yeah. One of us is drinking the Kool-Aid alright, but it ain’t me. So pumping Chemicals (which they refuse to name, by the way) into the ground is a great idea! It’s actually good for the environment! I guess you also sent a letter to BP thanking them for that oil spill which got rid of all that pesky wildlife that was polluting the GULF. And that coal company that put that tasty licorice scented chemical into over 300,000 peoples water supply in West Virginia? They were actually doing everyone a favor. FREE SCENTED WATER! Global Warming? That’s great, too! Who needs that pesky polar ice cap? If I want ice, I’ve got an icemaker right there on my refrigerator door. It is my sincerest hope that the very first fracking site is set up next door to you so that you may enjoy all that tasty non-flammable water. Drink up! I’m sure your Kool-Aid will taste even better once it’s been fracked.

  • Guest000000

    Fracking also = flammable well water. What part of THAT do you not understand?

  • Erlkoenig

    What part of Fracking = Jobs don’t you get??

    I’d like to add to that Tobacco = Jobs

  • Erlkoenig

    They do name the fracking chemicals. About 98% is water and buffers. About 2% are hazardous. But it doesn’t kill American Bald eagles like windmills do. Which is why libs hate fracking so much. You just have to be willing to educate yourself. I didn’t thank BP. That was actually Obummer who thanked them for all their contributions to his campaign with a Safety award. What I did was expect them to clean up their mess. Those coal miners you hate and want to put out of work help create the power to charge up Leonardo Dicaprio’s electric car. And finally the polar ice caps have been expanding. I think due to green house gas emitted by Al Gore’s chartered jets.

  • Erlkoenig

    Yeah, based on that Hollywood movie, right? If both flammable gas and ground water are in the ground one will contaminate the other. Fracking doesn’t cause flammable well water. If anything, releasing the gas will help prevent flammable well water. Stop drinking the flammable (flaming) koolaid.

  • NCJT

    What’s strange here is all if you want the incentives to go away. You don’t feel as though you have gotten your piece of the pie. Over 4,000 people rely on films for jobs. Those jobs pay for housings, put clothes on their children and feed them. When they have money just like all of you they donate their time talent and treasure.

    You are getting bent out of shape about a movie making a lot of money internationally and wanting the state to get a cut of the profit. They did. They shot here. There was a huge influx into the local economy. Hotels, restaurants, local film companies (small businesses) flourished because of this. The movie business wasn’t created to not make money. If that was the case it would have died in the silent film era. These guys use the tax incentive to their advantage. I guess PPD, METLIFE, CISCO, IBM and on and on and on didn’t get any deal worked out to come here. I can tell you it isn’t the weather and the kind people.

    Stop with the witch hunt on these people. They deserve to work and earn an income just like you. Why not grow some and call them out of the film directory and tell then how you really feel vs flaming them on wway’s blog.

  • SurfCityTom

    If the Wilmington Film Commission was not subsidized, and if its goal was not to promote film production, I wouldn’t even mention an executive who recieves a 6 figure compensation package.

    No one even mentions his office is located on the Screen Gems lot.

    So whom does he really represent on this?

    The film industry?

    Or, the City of Wilmington which underwrites a portion of the Budget?

  • SurfCityTom

    the focus of my comments has been on the ineffective lobbying effort by the film industry supporters. Add to that the gloom and doom story they try to feed everyone. Add to that the mad dog bites the hand which could feed them mentality they display.

    4,000 people gain a living from the film industry. NC has a populace of approximately 9,500,000. Do the math. Why should such a small percentage of the populace receive special incentives at the expense of every other working taxpayer?

    Why can they not understand there are only so many revenue dollars?

    There are only 3 options available.

    the Senate grant program provides funding for film projects. Suzi Hamilton says that’s not a viable option.

    the Governor’s proposal offered reduced incentives.

    The third option is the house version which eliminates them completely.

    So what’s the smart thing to do?

    Continue with the current gloom and doom and you’ll have no incentives.

    Or unite behind 1 of the other 2 options; effectively lobby in Raleigh; and get something. AND, then lobby like crazy throughout the coming year to try and get an improvement in the incentives.

    The current lack of leadership and ineffective lobbying by the film industry family would indicate they’ll go with the third option.

  • SurfCityTom

    the NC Film Alliance filed its chartering documents on May 24. From all appearances, they were operating, prior to that time, as an uninorporated entity. I suppose they realized as individuals they could be handed bills for service rendered or sued individually.

    Their location address is the same as Screen Gems. Their registered representative is located at that address. Obviously, Screen Gems wants to keep the appearance of competition so that Georgia will keep their horn of plenty overflowing. Don’t forget Screen Gems has that new facility in Georgia.

    The fact remains, too late in the session for this to have an impact. This activity should have been going on throughout the past year.

    Neither Screen Gems, or any other film making entity, has provided a magic wand to create the revenue required to fund both the teacher and employee pay increases as well as the film incentives.

    That bi-partisan bill introduced last month continues to sit in Committee; the Governor’s proposal is the 1 on the table.

    Where was the Wilmington Film Commission Exec? He should have been there; but it appears he was not. One would have thought he could have gotten a ride from the Mayor and discussed lobbying tactics.

    One topic not talked about was the prior competition with Canada. During the 1990s, many television and movie productions went north to Canada due to the Canadian incentives.

    In general, that’s an area the proponents do not want to address. The film makers play 1 state against the other. How long before 25% is insufficient because some state ups the ante to 30%?

    There’s no gaurantee that won’t happen; no commitment from the film industry to film a certain number of projects if the incentives were to pass. Just vague smoke and mirror special effects.

    And, finally, no legislator, standing for re-election in the fall, will vote to extend incentives at the expense of promised teacher and state employee compensation increases.

  • Vog46

    Your fixation on the Film Commission Exec sullies your argument.
    The rest of your arguments are spot on.
    One thing that is glossed over is that Canada DID in fact start this, and our response has been at the state level. At the state level, anxious legislators were snow balled by promises of economic euphoria spewing from MPAA studies.
    States believed this “bile” and fell for the promise of stardom – Nikki Haley has had cameo appearances on TV, as has the SC film commission chairman – in spite of the fact that SC does not benefit from film incentives according to state sponsored studies.
    Georgia has had very public and highly charged arguments at the Legislature but they still kept their incentives.
    The point here is that overall support for film incentives is waning. The fact that NC ranks high on the list for filming activity AND has recommended a very BIG change to our film incentives is indicative to states like Georgia and SC that they too can change their incentive packages.
    It will be interesting to watch and see what happens. Our Legislature has NO PROBLEM over riding Gov McCrory – so even though HIS proposal is on the table – if the Legislature thinks the incentives should sunset – I don’t think McCrory will try to veto it.


  • molly

    Does Mr. Kokai understand that our incentive is a tax REBATE?

    If there is no money coming into NC from film/TV production, there is none to go out toward “…important issues…” But there will be thousands of jobs lost, tax revenue lost, and businesses that depend on the film/television industry LOST.

  • Vog46

    When you are paying out MORE than you are taking in it’s not a REBATE its pay off.
    Film spends 100 state takes in $5. It pays out $25
    Are you a paid shill for the industry Molly?
    That would explain your arguments in the face of overwhelming evidence that you are wrong.
    Another argument – filming will go away.
    Sorry thats been proven wrong again and again even by your own industry publications with many top ten medium and small cities being in states with no incentives.
    THEN you make the disingenuous argument that businesses that depend on filming/TV will go away.
    How many businesses rely TOTALLY on filming Molly?
    If the crews go to Hells Kitchen once a week will Hells Kitchen close if filming goes away? Hardly. Will HOme Depot close because they lost 2% – 3% of their local revenue? That won’t happen either.
    Will there be job losses? Perhaps. But at it’s core your argument completely negates why filming took place here before incentives – the natural beauty of NC and the experienced crews here in Wilmington. You should be ashamed of yourself for completely ignoring their experience in your arguments.
    Filming will be done here regardless of whether we have incentives or not – that has been proven in state after state.
    Are they clean jobs? Do film employees spend their dollars here? Absolutely!!! So do the employees of Verizon, PPD, (who no longer get incentives and never got incentives that totaled in the MILLIONS of dollars).
    You are living in an alternate universe Molly – one that, like the industry YOU promote – tells stories that are pure fiction. Trying reading studies from outside of your industry read them all – then try to find one that supports your industry studies that is not paid for or sponsored by your industry.
    Try non-fiction for a change


  • Erlkoenig

    Fracking creates jobs. We should subsidize the fracking companies.

    Isn’t it enough that I have recently see God is not Dead, recently see Heaven is for Real, Guest0.00000001man has seen Humpbutt Mountain 400 times?

  • Guestman.com

    This is some of the most inane, incoherent ramblings I have seen on here since the last time you posted. Keep up the good work.
    All of your teabaggers buddies should be real proud of you.

  • Taxpayer$$$

    Good: Charge a $1 per ticket tax on all movies to fund a designated pool of money. The total amount of money available for the tax credit can not exceed the money in this pool. Any excess balance above a threshold of say $25 million would be transferred to the education budget.

    Better: If the corporate film bribe, er “incentive” is retained, the word “refundable” should be removed from “refundable tax credit”. That would provide an incentive for future economic activity since the production company would have to do future work in the state to claim the full benefit beyond the taxes actually paid.

    Best: Treat film like every other business. Shine the sunshine on this mess and then let the film incentive sunset.


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