North Carolina's top film recruiter is leaving his position amid uncertainty over the future of the state's incentives used to attract movies and television productions.
For the past seven years, Aaron Syrett has led the N.C. Film Office, which is being rolled into the state's new non-profit economic development partnership.
Syrett was invited to stay on board, but in a letter last week to the partnership's leader, Syrett said he couldn't make a commitment prior to the June 30 deadline because of uncertainty facing the industry.
"As you may or may not be aware, the film industry in North Carolina is undergoing a drastic change that may limit our ability to continue to grow North Carolina's film industry." Syrett wrote in the letter to Richard Lindenmuth, interim CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
The tax credit used to lure film productions to the state is set to expire at the end of the years. As the legislative session draws to a close, lawmakers haven't agreed on a new incentive program.
"With this looming uncertainty and not knowing what will be in our tool kit, I cannot consciously commit to something on June 30th when this possibility of change will not be resolved for another two weeks," he continued.
Bill Vassar, executive vice president of EUE/Screen Gems Studios, said Syrett inherited a "dormant film office" seven years ago.
"Through creative marketing and his relationships with producers, directors and studio executives, he helped attracted film & television projects to our state that created thousands of jobs and pumped over a billion dollars into the North Carolina economy," Vassar said. "Aaron is a rock and a great guy. His leaving is a loss for NC Film, especially during this uncertain time for our industry."
The state's film office is currently located in the N.C. Department of Commerce. Kim Genardo, a spokeswoman for the department, said Guy Gaster, who has served for four years as production service executive in the office, will serve as interim director.
Genardo couldn't say if Gaster would remain in the position after the office moves to the partnership around mid-August.
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