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Why are no more films being made in Wilmington (in 2010)?

Amy Hotz

Of course films are still being made in Wilmington!

The city and surrounding area is rich with filmmakers who do their own independent projects, work on bigger budget studio productions or do both.

You might not notice all the independent films being made here because their production crews are “low impact,” meaning they don’t have a lot of big trucks or super-heavy equipment. But they’re out there in force. For evidence, just look at all the local titles in area film festivals and even some national film festivals.

Right now, an independent short called “October House” is in production and will be sent out to the festival circuit to raise money for a feature version of the same script. Hank & Jed Productions puts out an animated short every Thursday at Escapistmagazine.com. The feature film “Bolden!” just wrapped here last week and had a large budget for an indie. Those are just three examples. (As for TV, “One Tree Hill” just started its eighth season and “Eastbound & Down” spent a few weeks here this summer filming its second season. We also had two pilots shoot here over the summer. One of those still has a chance at wooing a network.)

The more complicated question is why more studio-produced features are not being made here. Wilmington has always had an up-and-down film industry, fluctuating for various reasons over the past few decades. Most recently, the great debate has been film incentives.

Right now, productions that spend more than $250,000 in qualifying expenses within the state can receive a 25 percent rebate on all their qualifying expenses up to $20 million. That’s up from 15 percent and up to $7.5 million last year. Many thought this increase would lure at least some more medium-sized features here.

But then studios and production companies pointed out a $1 million cap on the salaries of “highly compensated individuals.” Again, some believe this cap is now keeping productions away because there are greener pastures (greener as in bigger money incentives) in other states, including Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana.

The question opponents to these film incentives ask is, “When will it all end?” It seems as soon as one incentive is upped, another state ups its ante and North Carolina is left behind once again.

For more information about Wilmington’s film industry and about N.C. film incentives, check out these sites:


North Carolina Film Office

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3 Responses to “ Why are no more films being made in Wilmington (in 2010)?”

  1. On August 28, 2010 at 9:09 am jack wrote:

    You are right.No more big budget movies will ever come here because our lawmakers in Raleigh are too blind to the fact that you have to be competitive with other states .Basically they blew it by putting a cap on the incentives.Good for Georgia. They are so much smarter than our government.There are EIGHT films being made in the state.Too bad the people we voted for are making people lose their homes and families ,while they sit up in Raleigh and get richer by the day.Shame on you!

  2. On August 28, 2010 at 12:58 pm Byron wrote:

    Perhaps if something was filmed here that was actually worth watching we would see more activity.

  3. On October 10, 2010 at 6:47 am Darrell Sheldon wrote:

    Last year alone, Georgia took in over $770 Million in film production. That is what a well crafted incentive plan can do for your state. And you don’t have to spend any money on infrastructure upgrades, dredge a river, add housing, or really any thing at all except a rebate on money already spent here. Hmm.? Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Michigan and even Puerto Rico seem to have the right foresight and are reaping the rewards as we are being left in the dust.

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