A major topic of conversation during last week's groundbreaking for Screen Gems new mega sound stage was North Carolina’s film incentives. These incentives have been a big factor in the rebirth of the production business in our area, and they may be in for an overhaul. Screen Gems’ commitment to build the largest sound stage east of California, complete with the largest indoor water tank in North America, is a major gamble on North Carolina’s film future. The state's tax incentive package helped make it happen. "We extended the tax credit for film incentives to 2015, which I believe they were waiting on before they did this expansion," said Democrat Julia Boseman. Basically, film makers get a 15 percent tax credit on productions up to $7.5 million. The package was recently extended by the state legislature. Now there is pressure to fatten it up. The ideal is to have the studio lot bustling 24/7, but it may take a few more aggressive steps to make that happen. Chris Cooney, EUE/Screen Gems President said, "We're pretty competitive state-to-state, but I think we're losing our edge to other states. We want to make sure that North Carolina will remain a leader in film in this country." "We're going to get together to look at increasing the incentive to bring even more business to North Carolina," said Boseman. It is a financial gamble that has so far paid big dividends for our part of the state. "I think North Carolina’s film industry is on the rebound. It's a renaissance happening right now and people are starting to take notice of North Carolina," said Aaron Syrett, North Carolina Film Office Director. Screen Gems is gambling the renaissance leads to a new golden age for local film. Screen Gems' new Wilmington sound stage should be ready for use by early summer. Local studio chief, Bill Vassar, said there is already a lot of interest within the film community.
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