HOLLYWOOD, CA (WECT) - It's a big week for North Carolina in California.
Safe Haven, which was shot in Southport, premieres in LA Tuesday night.
That's just one reason Hollywood East is taking center stage in Hollywood.
Wilmington Regional Film Commission Director Johnny Griffin and Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo are meeting with studio executives this week in tinsel town, hoping to lure more projects to Wilmington.
Both Monday and Tuesday, the two took part in multiple meetings in and around LA.
"The great news is that with the people we talked to so far, Wilmington is on the map," Saffo said. "Everybody is talking about it."
Saffo didn't use taxpayer dollars for the trip, instead, he paid out of pocket to be a part of the meetings.
"I'm out here on my own dime," he said. "From an economic development point, I felt that this has been one of the biggest impacts for our community in a long time and I feel it's important they see the face of the mayor and understand that not only is the industry important to our community but the state, local and county governments are all working together to try to improve upon that."
Saffo said in meetings thus far, the area's film resume is helping to sell the region.
"Iron Man 3 was a huge production and tonight, will be the premiere of Safe Haven. People are talking about that and it is wonderful to come out here and people know about us," he said.
Griffin said it's obvious that IM3 is lending superhero strength to marketing efforts.
"That has helped to promote Wilmington even more," he said. "People know that it's shot there. People from that show have been back here and I talked to a producer yesterday and someone on the show said he would go back there and do another project. So, it is good to have that on the resume."
Both Saffo and Griffin will also attend a $60,000 reception in Beverly Hills hosted by the North Carolina Film Office and the regional film offices from various parts of the state. The state office is shelling out $10,000 for the event. The Wilmington Regional Film Commission chipped in $10,000.
Griffin said this kind of networking pays off - although not always immediately.
"I don't know that we would say that we definitely walk away from here with a feather that we can hold up and say, we got that on this trip," he said. "There are companies that we have seen out here that we have come and had visits with for a couple of years and we've had no interest and then, we get some interest from them."
Saffo said everywhere they have gone they hear positive comments about the professional Wilmington production crew and the city's southern hospitality, which has been gratifying to hear.
If you have any questions for the stars, email them to Ashlea at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on Twitter using #SafeHavenPremiere.
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