Wilmington-area productions fuel solid start to 2021 for film in NC

Crews with the horror movie "Scream 5" filming at Cardinal Lanes in Wilmington last  year.
Crews with the horror movie "Scream 5" filming at Cardinal Lanes in Wilmington last year.(WECT)
Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 12:41 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - After pressing pause on much of 2020 due to Covid-19, film production in North Carolina is back in full swing and is currently at a six-year high, according to a news release from Governor Roy Cooper’s office.

Six productions have recently grabbed a share of funds from the North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grant and those productions will spend more than $134.8 million in the state while creating 5,700 job opportunities, according to the release.

LD Entertainment, whose N.C.-filmed production “Words on Bathroom Walls” was recently released, returns to the Tar Heel State with a new feature-length film “I.S.S.” The thriller features six astronauts living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and follows their actions after receiving distressing information from Earth that threatens their missions and their lives. Filmed in Wilmington at EUE/Screen Gems Studios, this project has been approved for a rebate up to $3.6 million.

Blumhouse Entertainment also returned to the state with the horror feature “The Black Phone,” a story about a young boy who fights to escape the clutches of a serial killer with the help of past victims through a magic phone. The production is approved for a rebate up to $4.7 million and recently finished filming in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Columbus counties.

Blumhouse was also approved for grant of up to $7 million for an unannounced feature-film production that was pushed back from 2020 to the second half of 2021 due to the pandemic.

A fourth grantee, which has been approved for a rebate of up to $8 million, is the Lionsgate Television comedy series “This Country.” The series is set to air on FOX, and recently wrapped filming with location shoots taking place throughout New Hanover and Pender counties.

“The film industry has been able to safely resume production and we are pleased to see more productions coming to our state,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Film activity provides good jobs and opportunities for local businesses, while also providing a compelling global showcase for North Carolina and its abundant natural beauty.”

The Charlotte-area productions that received grant money were the Lionsgate movie “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” based on Judy Blume’s best-selling novel and will begin production this spring, and the independent film “Evolution,” which tells the story of a mom determined to find a way forward for her family when her daredevil teenage son suffers a freak accident, finding hope from the most unexpected source.

These productions received $7 million and $3 million in grant funds, respectively.

In addition to the announced grant recipients, production continues with two other grantees, “Virginia Cold Case” and the second season of the television series “Hightown”, which is filming in the Wilmington area, and recently wrapped on grant-receiving series “Delilah”.

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