Wilmington's role in the film business was in the spot light again Thursday. EUE / Screen Gems symbolically broke ground on their new dream stage. This new facility is a big deal for our area. They had to divert from the script due to the weather, but the plot eventually came together. Governor Easley was on hand for the ceremony. “This is a big development for the North Carolina film industry," said Easley. The sound stage will be 37,000 square feet with no columns. There will also be one of the largest indoor production water tanks in the business. It is sure to attract many new productions. The new soundstage will be almost twice the size of anything on the lot right now. It opens up a world of possibilities. Bill Vassar, Screen Gems VP said, “What this is going to allow us to do is take it up a notch and allow us to compete worldwide for big productions." Johnny Griffin of the Wilmington Film Commission is very excited about the new sound stage. He said, "In 2007 the film industry brought in 100 million dollars to the local economy. With a stage of this size we could get one film that could potentially spend that amount in town." Screen Gems' President, Chris Cooney, was also on hand for the ceremony. "It will be ready in spring and available for summer production schedules. And we're trying to attract those films right now with a heavy marketing push,” said Cooney. Cooney said news of this new stage has already stirred a lot of interest in the production community. People like shooting in Wilmington, now they'll have one more very big reason to do so. Some pretty good economic news in a struggling economy, and people are saying North Carolina's tax incentives helped make this new project a reality.
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