As of July 1st, there’s money in the North Carolina film grant program, funded yearly by the General Assembly. When the tax rebate ended in 2014, the industry left. Now, it’s returning.
$60 million has accumulated in the film grant pot. That’s after $30 million rolled over from last year because very few productions dipped into the pot – except for an independent feature film, Words On Bathroom Walls, and several Home Depot commercials. Add that to the $31 million coming into the pot each year with no sunset: that brings us to about $60 million.
Johnny Griffin, Director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, says few productions have drawn on the grant in the past, but the accumulation of money gives the industry dependability.
"If we only had $5 million available sitting there, then it starts to make people nervous as to – Well, I’m looking to coming there in September, and you may you have productions that show up before them and use the money, so I don’t really know if there’s much chance of me coming to North Carolina, but if you tell them you’ve got $60 million sitting there, then they feel fairly comfortable in knowing that – Okay, there’s a lot of money there."
While the current grant amount is not the $81 million given through the tax rebate in its last year, it’s getting close. Griffin says productions want certainty and simplicity from the state’s grant program. He says he’s in negotiations with several productions now and expects to make an announcement in the next couple of months.