Film incentives included in state budget compromise

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The North Carolina Senate passed a budget bill Wednesday, which means the compromise will now go to the House of Representatives.

Part of the $21.7 billion budget includes $60 million set aside for film industry grants over the next two years.

Rebecca Clark, executive director of the Piedmont Triad Film Commission, says the incentives are a huge improvement. She says the local film industry has suffered since the film tax credit program expired last year.

“We recruited four feature films to the area [last year]. The four feature films alone -- not counting commercials or television series -- they spent around close to $20 million. This year, we've had some low budget feature films shoot in the area. I'd say we'd be lucky if there was even a million dollars spent on those films,” said Clark. “I think the legislators have noticed that we have lost a lot of business, a lot of jobs statewide and a lot of new revenue.”

The proposed film industry grants include restrictions to ensure multiple projects will benefit over the next two years. Funds are capped at $5 million for a feature-length film, $250,000 for a commercial, and $9 million for a television series.

“It is much better than what we've had since Jan. 1. We'll be able to attract at least three times as much business,” said Clark. “While we're not as competitive as some of our other neighboring states, we have a lot to offer in North Carolina. We're hoping that will offset the differences in the incentive program.”