Governor Perdue visits Port City, discusses NC’s film industry
Governor Bev Perdue’s trip to Screen Gems Studios and the set of “One Tree Hill” Thursday came more than seven months after she was supposed to make her first visit in office.
The governor was scheduled to visit the studio’s new Dream Stage April 1st to announce the Miley Cyrus movie “The Last Song” would shoot there. But she cancelled the announcement at the last minute, because a deal with the movie’s producers could not be worked out. The production eventually moved to Georgia because of the Peach State’s higher incentives for film projects.
“They didn’t go because of the talent or because of the capacity or because of the studio. They went for money,” said Perdue.
Perdue said she was determined to increase North Carolina’s tax incentive for film projects. The measure passed despite a slumping economy and sagging tax revenues, but it’s already paying off. Screen Gems head Bill Vassar said the studio has received as many inquiries in the last three months as it has in the last five years.
“We’re expecting the scripts to be approved for two projects in the next few weeks, and they’re both coming from studios and producers who have worked here before and want to bring the picture here,” Vassar said.
Folks in the business, like “One Tree Hill” star Bethany Joy Galeotti, said there is something special about working in Wilmington compared to places like New York and LA.
“We are like a little family here, and I think when the morale is up and you’ve got a community of people working together who really enjoy working together, that shows up in the ultimate product of what you’re presenting,” Galeotti said.
The governor hopes presenting the new film incentives to producers will translate to more jobs across the state. The increased incentives go into effect January 1st.
The governor and members of the film council plan to travel to California in February to help lure more projects to the Tar Heel State.
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