WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - On the heels of the newly approved alternative film incentives grant, Screen Gems said they are looking forward to working with the House and Senate as they develop a plan that supports the film industry.
The state House passed an amendment proposed by Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) that changes North Carolina's film incentive tax credit to a grant fund, similar to a proposal that has already passed the state Senate.
Bill Vassar, Executive VP for Screen Gems, released a statement saying:
"We are grateful and deeply appreciative of the efforts of House Speaker Thom Tillis and Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover), sponsor of the amendment. Their success in finding bipartisan support for the measure provides hope for this industry and the 4000+ North Carolina film workers and small business owners that depend on film to provide for their families.
We look forward to working with the House and Senate as they develop a plan that supports the industry and creates new jobs and business opportunities throughout North Carolina."
While this is not the incentives plan most film industry workers hoped for, Vassar said the support for NC film incentives remains alive.
Vassar originally said the company was "re-examining" their commitment to North Carolina, fearing the actions of law makers in Raleigh had "perhaps fatally weakened" the industry for the state.
Vassar was lobbying law makers not only on the behalf of his company, but also the 4000+ film industry workers, to rethink their decision to vote against extending film incentives to 2017. Wednesday morning the North Carolina Finance Committee voted 20-16 against an amendment to hat would have extended the state's film incentives program.
Vassar pointed out that the film industry has spent $1.2 billion in North Carolina in the past five years, including $130 million from Iron Man 3, and that in order for TV and movie makers to bring their productions to the state they need three key pieces.
- Seasoned, well-trained crew. Ours in North Carolina, and especially in Wilmington spans three generations.
- Diverse shooting locations to accommodate a wide variety of scripts and settings.
- The incentive. And a competitive incentive—above 20 percent with reasonable caps.
Law makers have proposed Senate Bill, SB 743, which offers film makers a grant based program, but Vassar said productions "can't build their budgets around a grant program."
Vassar goes on to say, "Unless new legislation is generated and approved in the coming hours, it's clear we are not welcome to invest our company's money, time and talent here any longer."
A petition was started by 15-year-old Van Bromley, who's parents are part of the North Carolina film community, pleading with law makers to leave film incentives alone. You can read that petition here: http://chn.ge/1kPR4ZM