If only superheros could rescue Wilmywood from political chicanery.

| March 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

Those involved in Wilmington’s local film production scene recently learned the good news that yet another superhero will grace the streets of Wilmington to fight crime and bring lots of cash to the city and state but is very bad news on the heels of our new superhero? Are there some very real villains in our own midst?  Are tricky politicians planning  to destroy our success in an effort to enrich themselves and their friends!?

Filming for the new Max Steel superhero movie will take place in the city beginning this spring, it’s scheduled for release in 2015 which could coincide with the end of our incentive program and so our great fortune with the film industry . Local make-up artists, lighting technicians, extras and any other would-be crew members hoping to be a part of the Open Road and Dolphin Films production are being advised to submit their resumes for the live-action movie through the Wilmington Regional Film Commission as soon as possible.

The newest and hopefully not last fantastic feature will be in the hands of 35-year-old Stewart Hendler, credited with directing 10 previous productions that have included psychological thrillers and a sci-fi dystopia, and will star Ben Winchell and Ana Villafañe.

Winchell has made appearances in three TV movies in recent years and is also recognized from his role in two series, “A.N.T. Farm” and “Necessary Roughness”. Atlanta-native Villafañe graduated from an all-girls Catholic high school in Miami and recently received her Music degree from Loyola Marymount University in LA, where she has also been making a name for herself as an actress and model.

maxsteelThe impact of filming on-location in Wilmington should not be underestimated. The restaurant, service and entertainment industry, the lumber business, real estate companies, plus local shopping and retail establishments will all feel the bump provided by a seasonal increase in city residents. The local city government will also receive added tax revenues, a prospect that could either see lower taxes for city residents or improve municipal services.

Figures from the North Carolina Department of Revenue reveal media production companies have annually spent over $100 million in the state and boosted jobs by more than 10,000 in recent years, thanks in no small part to the state’s tax incentive program aimed at attracting more film business.

Opponents of the incentive program postulate that the lack of lasting or long term jobs outweighs the huge and now constant influx of interim employment and revenue brought to North Carolina annually. This stance within state government is beginning to smack of political chicanery to many of the incentives supporters. Is Governor Pat McCrory tearing into the hand that feeds the state in favor of the hand that feeds McCrory? Read: Governor Pat McCrory and Chick-fil-a conspire to send North Carolina film jobs to Georgia? 

The recent filming “Iron Man 3″ – brought $81 million to North Carolina. Prior to this “The Hunger Games,” which fanned cash in nine counties, brought $55 million in revenue to the state and created 1,133 jobs. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, brought in $20 million to the local economy while shooting took place in New Hanover County.

The list of Wilmywood’s cinematic accomplishments  goes on and on with little or no interlude. The resume just keeps growing but as in many of the suspenseful films made in our state, the moment is at hand- the pending sunset of the tax incentive program has us on the edge of our seats. 2015 will tell us if the boon will continue or be busted by self serving politicians. Dukes up, dander up, no more fingers crossed… time to take a serious stance.

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