Officials urge NC lawmakers to boost film production grants

Officials in Wilmington are urging North Carolina lawmakers to boost film grants as Hollywood productions go elsewhere for more lucrative incentives.

Mayor Bill Saffo and other community leaders spoke Thursday at EUE/Screen Gems Studios, a 50-acre sound-stage lot that’s seen its prospects dwindle since Republican budget writers ended a program that provided tax rebates of up to $20 million for major motion pictures filmed in North Carolina.

State legislators instead created a grant-based program providing $10 million in rebates to be divided among qualifying projects in 2015. In recent months, TV series such as FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow” have left. There are currently no major movies in development.

Saffo says increasing the amount of money available in the new grant program is essential to making North Carolina’s film industry competitive again.

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