Film supporters take fight to Raleigh


    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.

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    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.