Shifting strategies as film industry grinds to halt amid coronavirus pandemic

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the film industry is in limbo. The North Carolina Film Forum met virtually for the second time Wednesday night to discuss what’s next.

It’s part of a monthly nine-part series hosted by CucalorusĀ in partnership with the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Much of the meeting revolved around film festivals and what organizers and filmmakers are doing to adjust.

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“Film festivals rely on movie theaters and big crowds coming out and watching films together,” said Cucalorus Film Festival founder Dan Brawley. “Filmmakers who were going to have their world premiere in March or April are now forced to reconsider and decide whether or not a world premiere online is really going to give them the momentum that they want to launch their film and to launch their career in many cases.”

One of those filmmakers is Hannah Black and her partner Megan Petersen, who directed and starred in the locally filmed movie Drought.

“We’re getting ready to world premiere this weekend at the Vail film festival,” Black said.



Brawley says premiering a film online comes with potential downsides.

“There’s this stigma around showing your film online that that kind of kills your chances of ever showing your film in a movie theater,” Brawley said.

When it comes to productions filming in Wilmington, 2019 was the strongest year in half a decade, and 2020 started off with two new pilots.

“Right now, crews would be all over the city producing new content,” he said.

Brawley says there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’ve heard that some production companies, some big studios like Netflix are hoping to start cameras rolling again, maybe as early as August,” he said.

The next forum will be held on June 10 and will focus in part on the casting and production of season one of the Netflix series Outer Banks.