film incentives

An alternate funding option for smaller filmmakers will soon be a reality in North Carolina.  Cucalorus, in partnership with the North Carolina Film Office, is announcing a new film incentive for projects with budgets under a quarter of a million dollars.

Once the popular tax-rebate form of the film incentive expired in North Carolina and legislators replaced it with a grant fund, film production in the state dropped significantly.  With those big-budget films and longer-running television series also went the support structure for smaller projects.  

This broadcast of CoastLine originally aired on December 10, 2014.

The debate over film incentives in North Carolina erupted on the public stage last year when two state RepresentativesRick Catlin from New Hanover County and Chris Millis of Pender Countysponsored a bill that would fundamentally change the structure of the tax rebate.  

This broadcast of CoastLine originally aired on June 24, 2014. 

Providing tax breaks to the film industry... statewide, it's a controversial topic. In Southeastern North Carolina, there's no question incentives have injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy through the boom in film production here. But plenty of state leaders from less film-centric areas aren't convinced the financial benefits of the industry extend statewide. 

Billy Hathorn

At the beginning of this year, North Carolina’s film incentive switched from a competitive tax rebate to a very small grant fund – holding just $10 million.

As North Carolina legislators gear up for a new session, Governor Pat McCrory says economic incentives are his Number One priority.   

Billy Hathorn

It didn’t take long for local film workers to see a drop in production after North Carolina legislators re-structured the incentive – changing it from a tax rebate to a fixed grant fund. 

Isabelle Shepherd

The legislature is out of Raleigh, but, the jury may not be out on economic incentives, including those supporting North Carolina’s film industry. 

The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County leaders plan to write to Governor Pat McCrory, asking him to reconvene the legislative session to make a final decision on economic incentives.  Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says this is a bigger issue than just film; he wants to protect job development grants, which incentivize companies to bring their business to North Carolina:  

Andrew Sleet

Some state legislators say they don’t see the positive economic impact of film in North Carolina.  Wilmington’s film community is coming together to show them the big picture.

NC House Moves to Maintain Current Film Tax Rebate

Jul 31, 2014
AiClassEland at en.wikibooks [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], from Wikimedia Commons

A film incentive grant program is included in the current budget compromise. But an amendment proposed by Republican Representative Ted Davis from New Hanover County would maintain the existing structure of the film tax rebate for one year. The proposal passed the House during Thursday's session by a wide margin.

Ted Davis’ amendment to Senate Bill 763 would extend the current tax rebates for one year, which would allow time for an independent study to be completed.

Betsy Jordan / Rick Catlin

Betsy Jordan, who is Rick Catlin’s Democratic opponent for the North Carolina House of Representatives, has already identified her signature issue: film. WHQR’s Isabelle Shepherd reports.

District 20’s Republican incumbent, Rick Catlin, has voted to convert the film tax rebate to a grant program. But his challenger, Betsy Jordan, says this isn’t enough to keep North Carolina competitive in the film industry.