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Film Projects In Wilmington Contributing To $135M In Spending In The State

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Apr 1, 2021
Projects filmed in the Wilmington area have been approved for millions in grants from the state and will contribute much more, according to a news release from the office of Gov. Roy Cooper.

The locally shot productions I.S.S., This Country and Static, are some of the latest announced recipients of awards from the N.C. Film and Entertainment Grant. Six awardees, including those in Wilmington, will spend a combined total of $134.8 million in North Carolina while creating more than 5,700 jobs, including 1,681 crew positions, stated the release. 

Production companies receive no money upfront and must meet direct in-state spending requirements to qualify for grant funds, according to the release.

So far in 2021, four Wilmington area productions have spent a total of $65 million in North Carolina, said Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission. Those productions, which have all recently wrapped, include This Country, Hightown, I.S.S. and Static.

Currently, there is one production, Along for the Ride, which is prepping and set to start shooting at the end of April or beginning of May, he said.

LD Entertainment's production I.S.S., a thriller featuring six astronauts living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) that was filmed in Wilmington, has been approved for a rebate of up to $3.6 million, stated the release.

Lionsgate TV series This Country has been approved for a rebate of up to $8 million.

"The series is set to air on FOX, and recently wrapped filming with location shoots taking place throughout New Hanover and Pender counties," stated the release.

Blumhouse Entertainment's feature Static, which filmed in New Hanover, Brunswick and Columbus counties, has been approved for up to $4.7 million.

Outside of the region, there are other film projects included in the recent grant awards.

Lionsgate’s project Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, a production that begins this spring in the greater Charlotte area, has been approved for a grant rebate of up to $7 million. And another project in the Charlotte area, the independent feature Evolution, is approved for a film rebate of up to $3 million, stated the release.

In addition, a grant award has also been extended to another Blumhouse feature-film production that is yet-to-be-named. The project has been approved for a grant of up to $7 million. It will begin production in the second half of 2021 after being pushed from 2020 due to COVID-19, stated the release.

“The film industry has been able to safely resume production and we are pleased to see more productions coming to our state,” Cooper said in the release. “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.”

Film productions across the nation were put on hold for a time in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Productions, however, have picked up in and around the Wilmington area. 

“Despite some setbacks last year, it’s great to see filming in the state finish strong in 2020 with projects to help kickstart what is expected to be a very successful 2021,” N.C. Film Office Director Guy Gaster said in the release. “As our film professionals follow proper safety protocols and guidance, the industry is able to help create substantial economic opportunities in the communities in which they film.”
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