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Supporters of film industry rally downtown

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- With only two days notice, supporters of Wilmington's film industry attracted thousands of people downtown to rally against possible changes in the state's film incentives.

A bill, co-sponsored by two local lawmakers, Rep. Rick Catlin (R-20th District) and Rep. Chris Millis (R-16th District), has folks concerned about the future of the industry. It would stop the refundable portion of the state's film tax credit, potentially pushing big productions like "Iron Man 3" away from Hollywood East.

"It would make sense that people who live in this community, that they should be able to plainly see the benefits of the film industry and the number of people who work in the film industry," Screen Gems Executive Vice President Bill Vassar said.

Supporters say it is an industry that provides Wilmington with jobs and revenue, and a bill that would leave Wilmingtonians jobless.

"I'm a talent agent," said Susan Walters of STW Talent. "I represent about 250 actors here in the Wilmington area. That is a lot of jobs that would be lost. Not to mention my own."

Local leaders, including Rep. Ted Davis (R-19th District) and Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District), were at the rally. They say it is important to educate those in Raleigh, and that they will keep fighting for the film industry.

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