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'An instant infusion of cash' | Film productions investing millions into the Carolinas

According to the North Carolina Film Office, production projects created 11,000 jobs and invested $180 million into the state in the first half of 2022.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Film production is ramping up in the Charlotte area. According to the Charlotte Film Commission, there have been five major film projects underway this summer alone.  

Some of the projects include a Hallmark movie that filmed in Salisbury, an independent movie called "Second Time Around," and another independent film called "SITE."

NoDa residents also recently spotted Saturday Night Live comedy trio Please Don't Destroy filming for a new comedy movie, but the Charlotte Film Commission could not comment on the project.

The productions have created nearly 2,000 jobs around Charlotte recently, the Commission told WCNC Charlotte. Those jobs include set builders, crew members, and hair and makeup. 

"We have set workers, all local, working for us on the movie,” shared "SITE" producer Ben Cooke. The film is a sci-fi thriller set to be released in 2023 on streaming platforms. 

In the past several weeks, "SITE" has filmed in Badin and Shelby. Now they're building sets to film inside a warehouse right outside of Uptown Charlotte. 

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"We looked all over the nation, even across Europe, to make this movie, starting at the beginning of the year," Cooke explained. 

What made his team choose North Carolina was the growing film community and resources. Plus, Cooke said the Charlotte Regional Film Commission helped them scout filming locations. 

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.  

Cooke is from Los Angeles but said North Carolina’s rebate incentives for filmmakers drew him to the Tar Heel State. The movie has another two weeks of filming and is looking for extras. Cooke said those interested can reach him through the movie's website.

It turns out the incentives are attracting many other producers too. According to the North Carolina Film Office, more than 30 projects have filled out applications for the grant program this year.

Guy Gaster, director of the North Carolina Film Office, told WCNC Charlotte that the state’s grant program makes money for the state by attracting productions that will invest millions into local economies. 

"It’s an instant infusion of cash into those local economies,” Gaster said. 

According to Gaster, film projects invested $416 million into North Carolina in 2021. As of July 1, 2022, productions have spent $180 million in state and have created 11,000 jobs so far this year.

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"Everything you see on the camera, typically has either been purchased or is being rented and that’s all being spent with local businesses where the filming is taking place,” Gaster explained. 

South Carolina also has rebate incentives for filmmakers. The South Carolina Film Commission reports that in 2021, productions spent more than $92 million in-state and created more than 3,000 jobs.

Contact Julia Kauffman at jkauffman@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram  

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