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NC film industry feels impact from ongoing writers' strike


The North Carolina Film Office is experiencing a slowdown in film and TV projects coming to the state as the writers' strike now enters its fifth week.

The number of productions reaching out to the film office is down 25% compared with this same time last year, according Guy Gaster, the state's film commissioner.

Gaster said he began to see the slowdown in November 2022, as studios began bracing for a possible strike, and he said North Carolina is not alone.

"I think if you contact my counterpart in Georgia, my counterpart in New Mexico, some of the other filming hubs, they would echo the same," he said.

The Writer's Guild of America is demanding higher pay, a stable pay structure and provisions dealing with artificial intelligence, among other demands.

In total, 96 productions have connected with the state's film office so far this year, compared with 130 productions that had connected with this film office at this time last year.

Gaster said the slowdown is affecting not only local film and TV writers, but many other members of the industry as well.

"We're talking about the film professionals — those professional crew members. There is some local acting talent that is also obviously being impacted, and then the businesses and, in particular, the small businesses that work regularly with the film industry and productions that are filming in the state," he said.

The film office was aware of at least one production in Wilmington that had stopped production because of the strike.

An untitled Starz series called "J&L Project" began filming in Wilmington in March before it halted production in early May because of the strike, according to a report from WWAY.

The slowdown in production comes after several strong years for the film industry in North Carolina. Gaster said the state recorded about $259 million in production spending in North Carolina in 2022.

That was down from a record $416 million in production spending in the state in 2021, but Gaster said 2022 spending was still in the top six highest levels of annual production spending recorded by the office.

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Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal