Gov. Cooper signs executive order forming advisory council to expand NC film industry

North Carolina news

Film set (Image by Dimitri Houtteman from Pixabay)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order for a newly formed “Governor’s Advisory Council on Film, Television and Digital Streaming” during his stop in Wilmington Tuesday.

Headed by Susi Hamilton, Secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources, a release from the governor’s office described the council as a diverse group of people who are passionate about the film industry. They will be responsible for advocating for the film industry and helping develop strategies to bring more projects to North Carolina.

“North Carolina is the ideal home for the film industry. Our natural beauty, the talented workers, the welcoming cities and town…in fact you can’t spell ‘film’ without ‘ILM’,” said Cooper, chuckling about the “dad joke” he made.

After seeing the film industry take an economic hit over the past few years — referencing the political battles in Raleigh over “bathroom bill” HB2 and the reduction of traditional incentives for filmmakers — Cooper said the message from his office is much different than that of his predecessor Pat McCrory.

“When the legislature did away with the film incentive package in 2014, and then we got hit by House Bill 2, the discrimination bill, the film industry began to take a lot of lumps, and we saw a lot of that business go away,” Cooper said after the announcement. “We got House Bill 2 repealed, we’ve now tried to increase the grant program, we’re continuing to push that, and we’re seeing it come back.”

Screen Gems executives said the studios are fully booked for the first time in quite a while, and another feature film recently committed to using Wilmington as its production location.

According to the website for the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, “The Georgetown Project” is in pre-production.

Johnny Griffin, the film commission’s director and also a member of the new council, confirmed “The Georgetown Project” is a feature film, but he provided no other details.

“We know that film is more than red carpet and celebrities, it’s about the talented crew workers, the studios, the local businesses that are all working together – it’s the backbone of the industry where the jobs are happening – these are the people who make it happen,” Cooper said.

The governor spent the day visiting the set of Reprisal during a trip to EUE Screen Gems Studios.

Reprisal is one of the productions benefiting from the North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grant.

Once completed, the production will be eligible to receive a rebate of up to $10.7 million, according to the North Carolina Film Office. The series filmed at various locations in Wilmington and New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Sampson counties.

The show premieres Dec. 6. It gave audiences a sneak peek when Reprisal released a trailer earlier this month.

The show stars Abigail Spencer (Timeless), Mena Massoud (Disney’s Aladdin, Jack Ryan), Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld), David Dastmalchian (MacGyver, Twin Peaks) and Rhys Wakefield (True Detective, The Purge).

Reprisal is expected to wrap filming sometime this month.

Copyright 2019 WECT. All rights reserved.

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