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home : news : e-news August 9, 2022

6/12/2014 11:46:00 PM
Film Industry Likes Lincoln County
Lincoln County hasn't cashed in the way Wilmington, NC has, but there have been several producers that did a part of their filming here.
Lincoln County hasn't cashed in the way Wilmington, NC has, but there have been several producers that did a part of their filming here.
Banshee, a Cinemax production, was filmed partially in Lincoln County.BANSHEE shots courtesy of Cinemax
Banshee, a Cinemax production, was filmed partially in Lincoln County.

BANSHEE shots courtesy of Cinemax
+ view more photos

Wayne Howard

Could this be the beginning of the end for North Carolina's film industry?

Rep. Ted Davis, a Republican from New Hanover County,  proposed three changes to a budget bill hoping to extend the state's film tax credit program.

Davis proposed to reduce the tax credit from 25 to 22.5 percent of a film's qualifying expenses. The cap on the tax rebate would be changed from $20 million to $15 million. Finally he proposed to continue the incentive program through 2016, but on Wednesday morning (June 11th) a House committee voted down his amendment.

Davis had a bit more success on Thursday.  He didn't get exactly what he wanted, but film industry supporters said it's better than nothing.

Thursday night, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed, 90 to 26, Davis' amendment that would trade film tax credits for a grant program.

Davis's grant program is much like one passed in the Senate.

The proposal in the amendment said the Department of Commerce would create an account known as the Film and Entertainment Grant fund. It would provide money to encourage productions in North Carolina.

The money would be reserved for films, TV shows and commercials that had qualifying expenses of at least $10 million, $1 million and $500,000, respectively. But, the grant would not cover an amount more than $5 million for a feature-length film or one television episode, or more than $250,000 for a commercial.

The current film incentives package that runs out at the end of the year lets productions that spend at least $250,000 in North Carolina claim 25 percent of their qualifying expenses up to $20 million.

A report by legislative staff says a  study of the film industry in North Carolina by Dr. Robert Handfield is wrong about the state benefiting from tax incentives for movie and TV productions.  Handfield's study, funded by the film industry, concluded that North Carolina netted over $25 million from the incentive program and that the film industry was responsible for 4259 jobs with an average wage of $66,000.

Vicki Yount of Lincolnton, who has appeared in several made-for-tv productions, says she didn't make $66,000.  That average figure includes the stars of the productions.  But Yount says the movies and tv shows filmed here do bring in a lot of money.  "They spend money buying food, money for lodging, lots of little things that add up to a lot of money," Yount told us, "and a lot of that money goes into the local economy of the location where they're filming."

Wilmington, North Carolina, has had so much success in attracting productions that many have taken to calling it "Wilmywood."  There's even a website,
 The Lincolnton area hasn't had nearly that many productions, but there have been several.  Filming has been done in recent years in High Shoals, Laboratory, and at the old Lincoln County Hospital building.  In fact, just last month, the crew producing a dog story called "Max" spent several days filming there.  They'll be back in Lincolnton in July.

They're going to film a part of the 4th of July Parade downtown.  Then on July 9th, they're closing off the first block of East Main Street and the Courtsquare to film their own mini-4th of July parade with floats they're bringing in.  Actors from the production will stand on the north side of East Main Street and be filmed watching the parade.  Some storefronts will get reworked to fit the script.  

Another group, mostly independent film students, planning for a low-budget short film called "District," held auditions at the Cultural Center on Tuesday (June 10th) looking for actors and extras.

IF the movie industry figures are correct, the industry spent a total of at least a quarter million dollars in Lincoln County in 2013.  If the General Assembly does away with the tax credits, the industry will likely go elsewhere, said one producer.  "It's just good business.  Other people want us, too.  We have to go where we can get the most for the buck."

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