Following COVID-19 pause, film productions ramp back up in North Carolina

Following COVID-19 pause, film productions ramp back up in North Carolina
Updated: Sep. 15, 2020 at 11:11 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Five new productions in North Carolina have been approved for state Film and Entertainment Grants and will all start production by the end of October, according to a news release from Governor Roy Cooper’s office.

The productions are expected to generate about $107 million in direct in-state spending while creating 8,671 job opportunities including 650 well-paying crew positions for the state’s filming community.

“Our state’s film industry continues to welcome new projects from prominent production companies,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “The industry provides good jobs and opportunities for local businesses while showcasing on a big stage what North Carolina has to offer.”

With the help of public health officials, industry trade associations and alliances have developed protocols to aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19 at filming locations. Each production has a COVID-19 safety plan that provides extra precautions to protect those working in front of and behind the camera.

The Hallmark Channel’s “USS Christmas” is already filming in and around Wilmington and is about a newspaper reporter who finds love on an aircraft carrier. The production is eligible for a grant rebate of $1.1 million.

“Parkside,” which is the working title for “Scream 5,” is set to begin filming in Wilmington next week. The horror franchise sequel is approved for a film and entertainment grant rebate up to $7 million.

Additionally, the Starz drama series “Hightown” will be moving its production to Wilmington to film its second season, the news release confirmed. “Hightown” continues the story of a woman’s journey to sobriety that is overshadowed by a murder which she feels convinced she must solve. This production has been approved for a $12 million grant rebate.

“2019 was a banner year for film and television production in North Carolina and despite some setbacks related to COVID-19, it looks like 2020 will also be a great year for the state’s industry,” added North Carolina Film Office director Guy Gaster. “It is exciting to have these productions up and running and we may have even more before the end of the year.”

Wilmington isn’t the only city in the state to see an uptick in filming.

The made-for-television movie, “A Nashville Christmas Carol,” will film in the greater Charlotte area. As the title implies, this movie will be a take on the classic Charles Dickins story and is about a busy film director and producer who is visited by the Ghost of Country Music past and present. This production is eligible for a $1.1 million rebate.

“Delilah” is a new series from Warner Bros. Television for OWN about a “headstrong, highly principled lawyer in Charlotte who left a demanding white-shoe law firm a decade ago and hung her own shingle so she could make raising her children her top priority.” Filming in and around Charlotte, the series is eligible for a grant rebate up to $5.4 million.

In addition to the newest productions to be approved for funding from the North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grant, production continues on several non-grant qualifying projects including the latest seasons of the reality series “My Big, Fat, Fabulous Life” and “Love It Or List It” in the Piedmont Triad and Triangle regions respectively.

Two other Piedmont Triad-based projects recently wrapped production: the SAG-signatory feature “Where’s Rose” and the new docu-series “Secrets of the Zoo: North Carolina."

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