North Carolina So Far
NBC's sci-fi thriller series "Surface" is shot in North Carolina
This past summer, North Carolina lawmakers passed a generous new tax incentive, allowing film and TV projects spending over $250,000 in NC to get 15% back (up to $7.5M per project). The state is beginning to see the fruits of that legislation, with a Will Ferrell comedy and NBC series "Surface" currently in production there.
For 20 years, NC apparently ranked third in production revenues behind California and New York, with an annual high of $504.3M in 1993. But in 2004, with fierce competition from other states like Louisiana and the disappearance of the state's old film tax incentive, production revenues dropped to $235M, and about 2,000 jobs were lost. Supporters of film tax incentives hope that the new 2005 incentives will restore NC to its #3 position.
The Charlotte Observer published a pros-and-cons rundown of the NC incentives. Here it is:
• Local businesses and crew members benefit.
• Environmentally clean industry that can help replace jobs lost as other industries leave the state.
• The $250,000 eligibility threshold is lower than many other states, benefitting indie and homegrown filmmakers.
• Civil libertarians have attacked economic development incentives in general as an unwise and improper use of taxpayer money.
• Incentive programs set off bidding wars among states, forcing them to one-up each other and grow more expensive over time.
The article also discusses the labor union issues the state is currently facing with the renewed interest in production there.
>> N.C. film boosters point to results from new incentives package [AP/Charlotte Observer, 11/13/05]
>> Film Incentive Pros and Cons [Charlotte Observer, 11/13/05]