CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Our state has been top in the country for movie and TV production for decades, but now many are leaving after the state legislature failed to renew the industry’s tax credits.
The Charlotte region has doubled for everything from DC in Homeland to the dystopian future in the Hunger Games.
“The film industry has a significant impact. You look at 4,000 jobs. You look at the fact that everybody across our country knows North Carolina as a center for film production and that is because of the 25 year history as being a leader,” said Marcie Kelso, the head of the North Carolina Production Alliance.
That history is about to be, well, history.
“A number of productions that were considering the state have crossed us off the list and unless something changes, that is going to continue and were going to go from being one of the top three states for production in the country to one of the bottom,” Kelso added.
Banshee, the Cinemax series that has shot here for three years, just told the crew they’re heading for New Orleans and Under the Dome, the summer hit that shoots in Wilmington, is looking elsewhere too.
The productions are leaving because the state legislature failed to renew the states longtime film incentive program.
Wendy Fishman has been in the business 20 years. She worked on Homeland and most recently as the location manager for Banshee.
She says, “Everyone was trying to mail their legislators and have a proactive part in trying to change their mind so we were dreading what could happen, and then it did.”
Fishman says producers don’t want to leave Charlotte, they just don’t have a choice.
“I mean they love it here, they adored being in the area but financially they can’t make it work, it’s difficult.”
Neighboring states have made it easy for them to go elsewhere.
Kelso says, “Georgia and Louisiana and South Carolina and so many other of our peers have understood the value of this industry and are going after it and that’s why we’re seeing the loss happen so quickly and so dramatically because we have our neighbors ready to jump in and take the business were willing to give up.”
There is talk of a possible short session this fall to reconsider the tax incentives. NBC Charlotte asked the governor’s office for comment but were told there was nothing to report now.
By Michelle Boudin