MECKLENBURG COUNTY — Things are looking up for North Carolina’s film industry with some new productions back underway in the state.
Shows like “Banshee” and “Sleepy Hollow” ran for the border two years ago when state lawmakers allowed the industry tax credit to expire.
But since then, an increase in NC Film and Entertainment Grant to $30 million is bringing the film business back.
Elisabeth Fisher is a freshman at CPCC and wants to go into the film industry. But she’s worried North Carolina can’t compete with other states.
“Now no one wants to film here anymore,” said Fisher. “There’s no opportunity here anymore. All I could do, manage to be, is an extra. And I don’t want to be in front of the camera, I want to [be] behind it. So I feel like the best way for me to do that is go where they film a lot of movies.”
The state’s tax credits expired in 2014, sending many projects running to other states. Although North Carolina did come up with a fix, the NC Film and Entertainment Grant doesn’t offer nearly as many incentives, and for some it’s too little, too late.
“It makes me very frustrated and, to be honest, makes me very angry,” said Carolina Film community founder, Juli Emmons. “It makes me angry that our state didn’t see how important this was, how important the arts are. Not just from an artistic prospective, but a business prospective.”
Emmons founded the Carolina Film Community to connect those in the industry and help the community learn about film. She says business was booming until the incentives disappeared.
“I would say it went down significantly,” said Emmons. “A lot of our crew ended up moving to Atlanta which has a much healthier film incentive and a lot more work.”
But Emmons remains positive. Productions such as “Six” and “Shots Fired” are currently filming in the state.
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority says filmmakers who qualified for tax credits spent more than $340 million in North Carolina in 2012. Last year they spent just $71 million.
By Kate Gaier