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Film industry donates thousands to local schools

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- More than an estimated $40,000 has been donated to New Hanover County Schools since March from film productions that used the schools as locations.

Action movie "Max Steel" used Hoggard High School, which ended up receiving around $6,000. "Sleepy Hollow" is currently donating about $1,000 a day to New Hanover High School, where "Under the Dome" has also shot, and Ashley High School received a whopping $20,000 earlier this year.

Wilmington Regional Film Commission director Johnny Griffin says this is average. It's just never publicized.

"School board members may not be aware themselves, because presentations are not being made," Griffin said. "No one knew that a check for $20,000 was written to one of the schools, because the production just didn't want to blow their own horn on that."

The money stays with each school, but recently Griffin says school leaders have been discussing putting donations into a general use fund. Griffin says that would work against them, and he hopes they continue keeping it in individual schools.

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Values or Interests

Every one of us needs to take inventory of our values and see if our interests line up with those values.

Do we want equal justice before the law, or do we want one set of laws for one group or industry and another set for another group?

I want the same rules for every one. Either allow ALL businesses to go tax free on income, or none, but picking and choosing one industry over another is not the kind of government I want to live under.

My tax dollars should not go to the movie industry and have them pay less income tax because of it while other industries must pony up more tax dollars. My taxes increase because of it.

If those in the movie industry lose jobs because of our laws being equal for everyone, then I guess someone has to sacrifice for the betterment of the everyone, right? That's what I'm constantly told by the same people now complaining about their sacrifices.

Donations?

Sounds like rent to me. And at what expense? Schools aren't allowed to function as they should due to filming. Students are yelled at (sometimes cussed at) for being too loud during filming (while they attend summer school, driver's ed or at school to check on other issues. During the school year schools must shut down, teachers must rearrange their classrooms, parent meetings must be rescheduled so the production can get the best scene possible.

Are our schools in the business of educating our children or are they simply props for poorly-made films whose DVDs will end up in the clearance bin in a year?

Rent?

The City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, and the State of North Carolina do not charge fees for the use of public property. This includes government buildings, parks, and schools. These facilities only charge for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the filming process.

These monies are in fact donations and are usually used by the school to purchase uniforms, band equipment, fund trips and the like. The production is in no way obligated to donate these funds but do so as a sign of goodwill and gratitude to the properties used.

And donations are not counted as qualified expenditures subject to incentive rebates.

Really?

Do you actually have proof of any of these negative things ever happening? As a twenty year veteran in the film industry, I am the crew member responsible for scheduling when we film each scene. In my experience we ALWAYS work around the school's schedule. We don't dictate that classes move or meetings change. Most often we film on weekends or after hours to avoid disruption. I also lead the department that is in charge of keeping people quiet and out of the shot during filming. Being rude and using inappropriate language is completely forbidden. I have fired people for not being nice to the general public. In my experience that rarely happens. Not on North Carolina sets. So I disagree with all of your comments. And if you have had any negative experience on a NC set I apologize on behalf of all the film professionals in our state.

Donations?

These donations occur after the industry uses the schools in their productions.............wouldn't a better description be called rent? If the industry did not receive millions in incentives, that money could be applied to the education system. Teachers could receive raises that make this state competitive in pay scale and end the other states luring away teachers from here. It is time for the billion dollar film industry to stand on it's own 2 feet and quit demanding bribes that could be applied to necessary things like infrastructure. The film industry continually overstates its importance and paints a fairytale picture.........this article is a prime example........calling rent a donation. They use money that should go to the schools in the first place to try and make themselves look good........They receive millions and "donate" a few thousand back while keeping the lions share for themselves. I guess next they will claim they are entitled to use the schools and tell us how lucky we are that they so generously make these "donations".

Rick

If you call it rent it then qualifies as a film expense and therefore can be included in the list of approved expenses. So they'd get a 25% pay back on it.

Vog

Not rent - donation

The City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, and the State of North Carolina do not charge fees for the use of public property. This includes government buildings, parks, and schools. These facilities only charge for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the filming process.

These monies are in fact donations and are usually used by the school to purchase uniforms, band equipment, fund trips and the like. The production is in no way obligated to donate these funds but do so as a sign of goodwill and gratitude to the properties used.

And donations are not counted as qualified expenditures subject to incentive rebates.

Before you continue to rip

Before you continue to rip on the film industry, you should actually educate yourself on it! You keep harping about "Hollywood" making millions and only giving a little. Well first let me clarify here in NC it is not "Hollywood" it is hard working North Carolinians who actually depend on film to make a living! Second a production has to spend millions in state to even qualify for a tax break! I think if a production spends over $60 Million in stay allowing the to have $16 Million back out of it is a pretty fair deal! Or does that $44 Million left in the state not matter?? Also, do you think a $20,000 check is a fair "rent" price to use a building for a day or two?? I don't! To me that covers "rent" and a nice chunk of change for the school to use on what it needs! They also try to hold all school filming until the Summer so they do not have to interfere with school sessions or disrupt any normal routines. They also use the school most of the time as an out door setting, because the interior 90% of the time is build on a lot at Screen Gems! Oh and that matter they ise to build those sets come from the local mom and pop stores not the big chain stores! So the film industry helps a lot of people, not "Hollywood"! Hollywood is actual upset and having to fight their own battle to get the film industry back to them, because we have been able to lure thw film industry away from them with these incentives and bring the money here to to be spent in our state! So again I say educate yourself, before you keep putting something you have no idea about down!

Here are some facts for you

https://www.law.upenn.edu/journals/jbl/articles/volume14/issue1/McDonald14U.Pa.J.Bus.L.85(2011).pdf

http://www.statista.com/statistics/184426/unemployment-in-us-motion-pict...

Unemployment statistics for the movie industry per the link above:
2001-9.2% 2002-10.2% 2003-11.2% 2004-8.7% 2005-8.5% 2006-5.9% 2007-6.9% 2008-9%
2009-13.8% 2010-13% 2011-10.7% 2012-12.9% 2013-9.3%. This is an average of 9.946% for a 13 year period.

What you also fail is fairness 101. You claim that spending 60 million entitles you to 16 million back while other industries get nothing back.60 million spent equals $4,200,000.00 in sales tax collected. Not only is the tax refunded, but you collect $11,800,000.00 on top of the taxes collected. Tell me again the benefit to the state? It is you who need to get your facts straight. And yeah, I still think a few thousand tossed at schools while you keep millions is BS. Let your industry stand on it's own 2 feet without the incentives and let the schools have ALL THE MONEY you extort from the state.

Rip, or facts

I would advise this person to get educated themselves. It's not about their interests that laws should be written. It's about our values as Americans. We have historically seen the advantages of equal treatment under the law, instead of preferred treatment for some. While proclaiming what one group deems "FAIR", we forget about the values that bring us together, equal treatment before the law. Either all businesses don't pay income taxes, or all do. Take your choice. Maybe those in the film industry should lobby for no income taxes instead of lobbying for just their industry paying less.

Film Industries Donations

Is this a result of the probability of loosing thousands in incentives.
For years the movies industries have taken our tax dollars and sent all the profits to Hollywood.
To extend the though, what does this donation help the Sampson County schools, the Randolph County schools, the Wilkes County schools, NONE. That is the point. NC has been giving away the STATES tax dollars and only the Hanover, businesses have been getting any, any benefit, LITTLE as it was.
I've said it before, Hanover can give away all their money they want, help yourself.

Fat cats!

See, Hollywood handouts to fat cats...oh, I mean schools. Hope they find another way to get donations in the future as the Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana schools will benefit by having the film crews from NC migrate to their states.