WILMINGTON, N.C. — Officials in Wilmington are urging North Carolina lawmakers to boost film grants as Hollywood productions go elsewhere for more lucrative incentives.
Mayor Bill Saffo and other community leaders spoke Thursday at EUE/Screen Gems Studios, a 50-acre sound-stage lot that’s seen its prospects dwindle since Republican budget writers ended a program that provided tax rebates of up to $20 million for major motion pictures filmed in North Carolina.
State legislators instead created a grant-based program providing $10 million in rebates to be divided among qualifying projects in 2015. In recent months, TV series such as FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow” have left. There are currently no major movies in development.
Saffo says increasing the amount of money available in the new grant program is essential to making North Carolina’s film industry competitive again.
“The film and television grant program was created by the North Carolina General Assembly last year to replace the highly successful tax credit policy that had helped propel the 30-year statewide industry’s rapid growth,” the group said in a statement. “We are working closely with our representatives and senators to increase the funding in the grant program to a level that will continue to retain our current employment and recruit new projects and the jobs they will create.”