Southport asks residents to weigh in on film policy; one organiz - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Southport asks residents to weigh in on film policy; one organization pushes for guidelines

SOUTHPORT, NC - (WECT) - As leaders in Southport ask residents to weigh in on the city's film policy, one organization is pushing for the town to adopt guidelines instead of an ordinance.

Save the Cape argues that film guidelines would be less rigid than the current ordinance, since they wouldn't be set in stone, and therefore be more likely to bring in productions.

"Southport needs Hollywood a lot more than Hollywood needs Southport," said Toby Bronstein, of Save the Cape.  She says when Safe Haven filmed there over the summer, it brought in millions of dollars.

"Merchants had actors and actresses shopping in their stores, eating in their restaurants, it was a huge boom to Southport," said Toby Bronstein, of Save the Cape.

The Wilmington Regional Film Commission says that when it comes to picking towns, productions are looking for places with rules that can bend. In fact a lot of them chose to leave Hollywood, because the rules are so rigid.

"What you don't want is a document that says you can't do this, because this is what the piece of paper says you are going to do, we can't allow you to do anything that's not on that piece of paper," said Johnny Griffin, the Director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission.

He says there are a lot of things in the film business you can't plan on, from needing to shoot an extra day because an actor gets sick, or needing to set up equipment in a new place.

"They want flexibility," said Griffin. "They aren't looking to run over the area in anyway, its a process until you can't pinpoint where that light is going to go, until the crew arrives on the scene."

Regardless of the type of policy in place, he says in order to be attractive to productions, it needs to have the ability to make last minute changes.

"Its not so much about the guidelines as it is about the relationships that people have, and being able to work together," said Griffin.

A public hearing will take place Thursday night in Southport, the same night that the film debuts.

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