WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington was once known as Hollywood East but it has been a while since the area has seen the big lights, camera, and action.
Although there are projects underway people say it is not what it used to be, especially when it comes to funding.
“Requirements for getting in are a little tough,” NC Film Commission Director, Guy Gaster said. “It’s no longer the $250,000 which, you know, then allow for a large number of productions. Now your minimum spend has to be at least $5 million if you’re a feature film or average at least $1 million an episode for a television series.”
Gaster says right now the Film and Entertainment Grant Application has $18 to $19 million up for grabs.
“Currently it is scheduled to roll over, so if there were any other funds that were allocated by the legislature the $18 to $19 (million) that’s remaining now would be added to that,” Gaster said.
Only a few projects have been approved, one of which is TNT’s ‘Good Behavior’ filming in the Cape Fear. Gaster says it is a hefty cost with not as much pay out.
And while some can afford it, it is a grant most independent filmmakers would not apply for.
“A lot of the really lower budget ones kind of operate as they always have. Which is you know, finding those resources through other means,” Cape Fear Independent Film Festival Director, Rich Gehron said.
While Wilmington has not seen as much action as it use to, festivals like the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival continue to grow and showcase short and feature films of all genres.
“I’m most excited at the fact that we are growing. Every year we get more films, bigger audience,”Gehron said.
Gerhon says independent film projects always provide jobs despite the lack of big productions in the area. Although the film industry is getting better, people say there still a long way to go.
“I hope that we’re able to continue to build upon our successes that we’ve have and expose more people to what it is that is so special about filming in North Carolina,” Gaster said.
Gaster hopes legislators decide to add more money to the grant in order to keep the cameras rolling. For more information on funding, click here.
The 17th annual Cape Fear Independent Film Festival begins Thursday and runs until Saturday at the Community Arts Center in Downtown Wilmington. The festival will also have an exhibit on display center through the fall.
Gerhon says there will be a free screening of the movie Sharecrop, a documentary made in North Carolina, Saturday at 3 p.m.