The cameras are rolling again in the Tar Heel State.
Five new productions are set to start filming in North Carolina by the end of October.
Resuming production is expected to create thousands of job opportunities at a time when the pandemic has forced entire industries to hit pause.
It’s been a multi-year effort to rebuild North Carolina’s film industry.
“We took some hits on the bathroom bill and before that, you know, tax incentives that brought a lot of industry here,” said Lauren Vilchik, an Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies with the School of Filmmaking at UNC School of the Arts.
This year presented a whole new set of challenges: trying to make movies during a pandemic.
“Those who were in production, who are in production in a daily basis, they took the biggest hit,” Vilchik said.
When COVID-19 shut down production, it impacted more than just the directors and actors. It hurt a lot of people who are sourced locally.
“Craftsmen and women in carpentry, in catering, in the concierge services and hotels and all those related industries,” Vilchik said.
On the NC Piedmont Triad Film Commisson’s website, you’ll find pages of crew listings under the production directory.
Vilchik says the talent is local. Now it’s up to the state to hold on to it.
“If we don’t look at it that way, train them, give them an incentive to stay and give them a place to go as they build their careers, then we will lose them, and that’s at a great loss to the state of North Carolina,” Vilchik said.
This week, Governor Roy Cooper announced film production would resume, adhering to a strict COVID-19 safety plan.
The five new productions are projected to generate more than $107 million in spending and create more than 8,000 job opportunities.
While the numbers are up, industry leaders say more needs to be done to stay competitive.
“At least give people an incentive to come and to spend money here, to hire people locally and perhaps move here,” Vilchik said.