WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Film industry leaders talked about the state and the future of the TV and movie business in North Carolina at a forum at Thalian Hall, held as part of the Cucalorus Film Festival.
Entertainment Partners hosted a special panel discussion during the festival called, "State of the Slate: The Future of Film in North Carolina."
Panelists included reps from EUE Screen Gems Studios, the North Carolina Film Office, North Carolina School of the Arts, and locally filmed productions.
Much of the discussion centered on the film incentive program.
In North Carolina, filmmakers get a 25% rebate on what they spend on goods, services, compensation, and wages.
The speakers noted there is a misconception in Hollywood that the program is gone. Film leaders in North Carolina are fighting that misconception.
There has been debate amongst state leaders about the future of the incentives.
The current program expires in January of 2015 if lawmakers don't extend it. However, the General Assembly doesn't convene until the spring.
Panelists urged those who support the industry to contact legislative leaders in the state.
When asked by a member of the audience if the infrastructure to support the film industry in Wilmington would be enough to attract productions if the incentives expire, panelists said no.
The experts said the decisions about where to film are more driven by economics than location.
Also, the industry is facing a lot of competition from New York, Georgia and Louisiana, which offer varying incentives to filmmakers.
The discussion ended with talk about mobilizing to support film incentives.