Interest In Film Production Wanes As New State Guidelines Take Effect
North Carolina's film tax credit program expires on Dec. 31. Some critics say the change is already hurting business in the state.
Rebecca Clark is executive director of the Piedmont Triad Film Commission. She says the number of production inquiries is dramatically down in her office, by around 75 percent compared to last year---and that could have a long-term impact.
“We have had to try to rethink of the way we are going to market ourselves and what types of business that we are going to go after. What I have decided is that we are going to go after national commercials which spend a lot of money but they hire less crew and is shorter work for our crew base,” says Clark.
Clark says film industry workers and supporters will lobby the legislature in January to consider revising the new program.
The film industry employs more than 4,000 people across North Carolina. The state began offering the incentives in 2005. Under the recent program, production companies can claim a 25 percent refund on qualified spending for a production, with a cap of $20-million.
Lawmakers have replaced the incentives with $10-million in grants available for the first six months of 2015. Guy Gastor, North Carolina Film Office director, says it’s not all bad news because they’re advantages to film makers under the new system.
“You will receive a letter that gives you the up to amount that you would have and the money is set aside for that, so that is different. Previously, it was all spending and then you would submit forms at the end. You will go in knowing that the state has definitely allocated these amounts,” says Gastor. “From a state standpoint, it does give, if you are looking at the budget, a set number that is truly allocated for filming.”
The North Carolina Film Office estimates movie and television projects shot in North Carolina this past year generated revenues of more than $300 million dollars.
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