North Carolina officials have approved a quintet of film and television projects to being filmed in the state as a part of its 25% rebate on production expenses, with shooting starting by the end of October.
The news was announced Tuesday, six months after almost the entire entertainment industry halted production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. State officials said the new projects will generate a direct in-state spend of more than $107 million while creating 8,671 job opportunities, including 650 crew positions for the state’s film professionals.
“Our state’s film industry continues to welcome new projects from prominent production companies,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “The industry provides good jobs and opportunities for local businesses while showcasing on a big stage what North Carolina has to offer.”
The five projects approved for the North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grant include the following:
— “USS Christmas,” a made-for-television movie about a newspaper reporter who finds love on an aircraft carrier. The production will film in the greater Wilmington area and is eligible to receive a grant rebate up to $1.1 million.
— “A Nashville Christmas Carol,” a made-for-television movie, which riffs on the Charles Dickens story with a busy film director and producer visited by the ghosts of country music past and present. The production, which will film in the Charlotte area, has been approved for a grant rebate up to $1.1 million.
— “Parkside,” a feature-length film that will film at the EUE/Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington. This production is approved for a film and entertainment grant rebate up to $7 million.
— “Delilah,” a new series from Warner Bros. Television for OWN about a headstrong, principled lawyer in Charlotte who left a demanding white-shoe law firm a decade ago to hang her own shingle and make raising her children her top priority. Filming in and around Charlotte, the series is eligible for a grant rebate up to $5.4 million.
— “Hightown,” second season of the Starz series from Lionsgate Television and Jerry Bruckheimer Television, which continues the story of a woman’s journey to sobriety that is overshadowed by a murder she feels she must solve. Filming in the greater Wilmington area, it has been approved for a grant rebate up to $12 million.
“2019 was a banner year for film and television production in North Carolina and despite some setbacks related to COVID-19, it looks like 2020 will also be a great year for the state’s industry,” said Guy Gaster, director of the North Carolina Film Office. “It is exciting to have these productions up and running and we may have even more before the end of the year.”
Officials said production in North Carolina continues on several non-grant qualifying projects including the latest seasons of the reality series “My Big, Fat, Fabulous Life” and “Love It or List It.” Two other Piedmont Triad-based projects recently wrapped production: the SAG-signatory feature “Where’s Rose” and the Nat Geo Wild docuseries “Secrets of the Zoo: North Carolina.”
The announcement came a day after the major entertainment unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers finalized the industry-wide safety protocols for shooting. North Carolina officials said each production in its state has a COVID-19 safety plan that provides extra precautions to protect those working in front of and behind the camera.
Notable past productions shot in North Carolina include “The Hunger Games,” “Dirty Dancing,” “The Color Purple,” “Forrest Gump,” “Dawson’s Creek” and “One Tree Hill.”