Words On Bathroom Walls is, so far this fiscal year, the only film to take advantage of North Carolina industry incentives. Five Home Depot commercials also claimed some state grant money over the last fiscal year. While there are efforts underway in Raleigh to sweeten the pot and lure made-for-TV movies and smaller film projects, the industry in Wilmington is not even a shadow of its former self.
In 2014, the General Assembly ended the tax rebate film incentive. That year alone, close to $81 million went back to producers. What replaced the tax rebate: a $10 million grant program. The grant fund has grown since then and now gets $31 million each year with no sunset.
Whether the tax rebates were actually worth the fiscal unpredictability and the expense or they were what Americans For Prosperity calls “a Hollywood handout” is a debate that continues – albeit less so in the southeastern part of North Carolina.
A recent proposal sponsored by North Carolina Representative Ted Davis, a Republican from New Hanover County, would lower the minimum spending requirement for TV and film projects and increase the funding cap for TV series and feature films. That’s according to Hunter Ingram, Film Industry Reporter for the StarNews – and our guest today.
Hunter Ingram is the only North Carolina film industry reporter in the state, which he’s covered for the past five years, starting near the peak when Ironman III was opening in theaters. He also covers the City of Wilmington and writes a column called TV Hunter.