Rep. Tillis and Gov. Chris Christie sneak out back door to escape film supporters?

This morning on Market St between Front and 2nd, a total of 63 film supporters came out for a last minute mini-rally.  Not a bad turn out considering the rest of the folks are working. And what better place to hold one when the NJ Governor Chris Christie came into town to support the Koch Brothers’  funded Thom Tillis Campaign for US Senate.  We gathered and shared voting information, discussed which NCGA members are for and against our NC Film Incentives  (See Filmmakers voting guide – NCGA_FilmmakersVotingGuide_2014) and also to express our feelings about Thom Tillis showing up in Southeastern North Carolina to do some fundraising. As you know his campaign will fail without SENC on his side, and we will do everything we can to stop him.

When the cars came around in front of the Dixie Grill, Gov. Christie looked a little surprised at the crowd before him. Thom, not so much.  He’s got a good poker face. We gave them their respected breathing room and stood on the median 20 feet away. As media from Charlotte, Raleigh and, of course, Wilmington rolled their cameras and audio devices, the film supporters chanted, “Film =Jobs” until their vocal chords needed a rest.  As Tillis and Christie sashayed through the restaurant doors, a film truck rolled by with joyous honks to support those holding signs.

Meanwhile, Thom Goolsby snuck through the back door to get into the event.

While indoors they smiled and shook hands with their supporters, but the crowd moved on either side of the doorway, lining the curb and still chanting every few minutes.  As expected, Tillis said what we predicted he would say the minute he did his thing in the short session. “Well, I voted for film.”  When one knows the Senate won’t take it up, one can say anything he or she likes to look good.  Perhaps he shouldn’t have had his people whipping up votes against film the first time around!  I am not sure if he thinks we would not remember, or we are just plain dumb, but whatever the case, it was a nice effort on his part.  Bless his heart.

Knowing that we would not leave, it appeared that he chose to exit through the back door in order to avoid us like the plague as did Gov. Christie and Thom Goolsby. Is there any other explanation? Can’t think of any, either. We left the walkway clear for them to exit. I consider that quite a cowardice move, don’t you?

If you were unsure of what they really think about film in this state, you know now.  We have got to let them know just because you have billionaires in your back pocket, and “celebrity” politicians supporting you, doesn’t mean you will get elected.


  1. I’m glad you’re taking a page out of my program, Sheila. I told you about Tillis. He was never for film – it was all a ruse. Ol’ Uncle Thom can say whatever he wants publicly, but the Koch Brothers are paying, so he does what they say as directed regarding the national platform. There must be some really big GOP investors in Georgia right now. The Koch’s attacked film in Florida too and the people are fighting to get it back. This today:

    • Of course, Michael! If Tillis really had wanted the incentives, it would have happened. If it didn’t happen because he’s so impotent, then Who would want him in the US Senate?! “some really big GOP investors in Georgia”??– of course, it’s McCrory’s Chick-fi-Screw Cathay Family contributor$. Further, when NC loses 4,000+ jobs and money flowing into the communities’ economy, then the chokeKoch$ think NC’s primed and desparate for the McBigGas, McBigOil, McFracking, McCementandLimestoneMining near schools and vulnerable water sources.

  2. You should know all the name calling and bad mouthing these politicians is not going to help your cause at all. Like I have said before we all moved to Wilmington for the film industry . .When it was in it’s infancy, I for one have been here since 1984. I have seen the large times and the lean times. This is probably going to be the end of an era. You can complain about how elected officials let you down till the cows come home or you are blue in the face. It doesn’t matter. They have voted to end the incentives. That is final. Now it is time to pull up your bootstraps, get tough and go out there and get to work where there is work. Be it LA. GA or CA. That is the nature of this business . We all have to pick up and move on, or be left behind to wallow in self pity. Don’t be that guy. No one feels sorry for you. You have made a decent living here for a good many years. Now it’s time to move on. I for one am so thankful I saw this coming and got out and got established in another market before all this finally came down. It’ll be tough at first, but the good ones will succeed. The others will just have to find some other means of making a living. Good luck.

  3. Oh and by the way, in your little video clip with your 63 film supporters chanting, did you happen to notice the Film Trucks lllc truck you staged to drive through was based out of Mt. Pleasant, SC, and owned by a transportation coordinator from there?

      • You know, kid, it’s people like you I was commenting on. Looks like you’ve got about 3-4 years in this business. You’ve been a grip a set dresser and worked on an effects crew. Apparently you weren’t very good at either or you’d have picked a craft and stuck with it. You are one of the ones I mentioned will have a rough time sustaining a career in this business. Seems to me like you should explore other means of making a living. Good luck.

  4. Thom Tillis needs to move back to Florida. He has don’t nothing for the people of NC.

    November can not come soon enough. I think we will be stuck with him as speaker, but he will not win senate race.

    As the driver of the truck that did the drive by I have lived in Wilmington for 20 years. Now I am being forced to sell my house and leave NC.

    They claim they do not want to pick “winners and losers” but they are doing just that.

    Millions in incentives promised to Cisco, Areo Space company in RTP, Duke Energy, and many more.

    This is settling a vendetta against a signature piece of legislation from the previous administration.

    I will live here long enough to vote and I will be brining 10 people to the polls with me.

    4200 families and their husbands wives and of voting age children will vote in the midterms.

    That has a huge multiplier effect and with polling do close between Hagan and Tillis it just might be the deciding factor.

    • Shaun-
      Just a reminder
      Several hundred at the down town rally
      Less than that at the massive group photo op
      63 at the Tillis/Christie meet and greet.
      And you say that 4200 families will vote?
      After Woody White stated that Charlotte and Raleigh film communities are not as galvanized as the ILM group is?

      Funny but you ASSUME that all film families will vote Democratic – thats disingenuous and an outright lie – you know better than that. You also know that 100% turn out has never happened and won’t happen now or in the mid terms or in the next gubernatorial. election.
      Your over inflated ego and raging degree of self importance is sad to witness. Sure locally there will be some that will have to move (Hey I moved 880 miles to take a job here – funny how that works isn’t it? I moved plenty of times during my service life as well)
      Grow up. Politics happens but voter apathy is a constant. You will NOT get 4200 votes to turn out and your multiplier affect is a laughable as the multiplier affect for your economic impact which are proven false by EVERY independent study every done.
      You are so desperate you are making wild claims.
      Sure Hagan could beat Tillis and I hope she does.
      But you guys LOST on the incentive vote – your lobbying was poorly done, your studies were not even close to being “fair” and or accurate. Heck even Prof Handfield took his web site down twice because he couldn’t handle all the questions on his data points.

      And for those people who seriously believe that the ID of a poster here is THAT important please tell me who preston sc was/is at WECT. Please tell me who Pete Vogolio is here?
      It is immaterial folks……your arguments however are not.
      Your data was proven wrong and your predictions about voter turn out are wildly exaggerated.


  5. Film has been the best and most stabilizing factor in my life aside from my family. It insures my family, feeds us, and pays our bills. It’s a shame that a handful of motivated idealogs can screw up such a beneficial thing. No surprise it’s the same people that passed voter suppression legislation, homosexual discrimination, failed to expand Medicaid, cut unemployment, and failed to remedy Duke Energy’s coal ash issue. Now that we have a clearly identified target lets get to work. To those of you who are on the fence on this issue, all we have asked for is a one year extension of the currently working program so it can be further examined. The problem starts at the top of our so called leadership, extends to the senate chair Berger and speaker Tillis. We must fight hard to vote these people back to their lounge chairs. My entire family supports NCFILM!

  6. Tillis and Christie. Bridging the gap of corruption, because corruption doesn’t eat alone. If you think the behavior of our elected officials is acceptable, you’re a complacent sap who is a part of the problem, not the solution. If you got out while the getting was good, you don’t have a say in NC politics, so do everyone a favor and stay a pushover in whatever wannabe state you moved to. Elected officials are supposed to represent the voters, not their own wallets. Anyone voting against the incentive was either bought by out of state interests, or bullied by those who were. They have their salaries from us, and now they want more so they accept kickbacks from fracking, chikfila, and out of state studios and politicians. If you support film and you don’t vote at all, you’re the problem, you’re no patriot.

    • Stretch –
      You said:
      “Elected officials are supposed to represent the voters, not their own wallets”
      The baseball stadium supporters believed the same thing – until the votes were tallied then they realized they had severely over estimated the popularity of their position.
      The same could be true for film – but its worse than that. While ILM has had rallies and photo ops etc other cities have failed to produce the same level of support. This is indicative of weak support within the industry. Extrapolate that to the public and you might be disappointed by NC voters. The VOTERS turned very conservative we put these guys in office by WIDE margins. This is NOT something that will be reversed by 1000 votes here in SE NC.

      Baseball supporters did the EXACT same thing you guys are doing – and lost. Remember you TOTAL 1000 here – even if 50% of you turn out thats 500 votes.
      Not enough………..

  7. Well Mr. or Ms. Concerned,

    I am one of those people who moved here to work in the film industry. I move to the state with my wife and daughter. We bought a house. My wife became a teacher . My daughter goes to school here and I’ve started a business here based around the film industry. As the business has grown many small business have been started and I’m sure if the business had continued there would have been less out of town equipment and more local. Now let’s discuss the financial impact to the state. The film industry had a study done that showed that for every dollar the state gave to the film industry about a dollar fifty was returned in tax revenue. Let me guess your going to say it was bias because we funded the research. Well I’d be glad to look at the states research. Oh wait they didn’t do any. So yes I will find work out of state to support my family who will remain in North Caroline because we love our home an our friends here. I will also hold hope of turning this around come election time. I will agree that name calling is not going to change anything but votes will. Oh and in case you missed it my name is JEFF MCLAUGHLIN and I to am concerned and not ashamed if people know who I am!

  8. Will be crossing party lines NOT TO VOTE FOR Tillis. Film credits are just one of my reasons for going against party lines. Anything that does not help build jobs in this economy is not the correct political move. Republicans, as a rule, believe in giving a hand up rather than a hand out. Film credits would not have effected the tax base as the detractors state. Apparently we have too many life-long lawyer/politicians and not enough honest working men and women in government or economists.

  9. I moved to Wilmington from Pennsylvania a year ago. When I moved here, the day I moved in the first people I met were film people. At the time they only did the occasional background job, but a few were film students, or doing what they could to write screenplays. I had no idea so much has been shot here over the years, and after getting involved in the film industry myself, I can’t believe it’s over. The people are great, and it’s awesome to walk around and see beautiful scenery you recognize from a movie or tv show. Film workers don’t go to massive department stores, they shop in unique stores and shops downtown. They love coming here because it’s different from other states. We’ve got amazing restaurants and bars, special shopping areas unique to the area. Wilmington is historical, and it’s growing, and it’s thanks to NCFilm. Almost all my friends in this state make in some small part, or entirely, their living in the film industry. I’m going to lose my friends to other states that recognize the film industry as good for jobs, good for small business, and good for tourism and great PR. I’m Stefan Armstrong and I approve this message.

  10. Shelia I support EVERYTHING you do for the film industry, i’m glad they have someone out there fighting for them like you do! Any chance you want to start fighting for teachers too LOL (kidding) This is the letter I sent to the Gov. and all the others. This is all heartbreaking and I can’t wait to vote! Thank you for all you do!!

    My name is Melinda, I am 34, grew up in New Jersey, and I would like to share my story with you on how I became a resident in Wilmington, NC three years ago.

    Starting back in 2009 I began vacationing down here in Wilmington because of a little show called One Tree Hill. My friends and I loved the show so we began making multiple trips down to Wilmington, at first to look at all of the One Tree Hill locations, however, as I was doing so I also fell in love with the town of Wilmington and its surrounding areas.

    I was a teacher in New Jersey and took a HUGE pay cut to come here to teach, coach girls softball, and teach Drivers Education at JT Hoggard High School, where the Governor himself came to visit last year.

    As a fellow registered voter, as a teacher, and as a major film supporter I am asking you to please consider either extending the film incentives another year until a reasonable compromise can be reached. I have many friends who work in the industry that have families, I even teach some, and the stress this is putting on them is unexplainable. My students are concerned that they are going to have to leave the state leaving all their friends and some family behind because their families are going to have to relocate to most likely Atlanta. It is heartbreaking to hear about this from them. The film industry not only films in 70 counties in the state but also supplies at least 4,200 jobs to a state that already has unemployment problems. It helps the local vendors in town when they buy supplies, clothes, shoes, furniture. It supports our school system when they film in our buildings (they bought our band students in instruments and uniforms), and most of all tourism which brings so many people to our beautiful town to stay in hotels, eat in our restaurant’s, fly in and out of our airport, and retailers that sell and make tons of money on Dawson’s Creek or One Tree Hill gear, just to name a few. The industry is doing nothing but getting stronger. Big name production companies plan on coming to film here providing the incentives are here, so are already here and have already stated they will leave if the incentives are taken away.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I do not know if it will make a difference but I had to at least try. I am a registered voter and I am going to do whatever I can do in order to save our film industry.


    Melinda Malavasi

    • You sir, are a moron. First of all Screen Gems had nothing to do with the production of Fast 7 . If you’d do a little research before you spout and spew your lame remarks about the workings of the film industry you wouldn’t look or sound so stupid to those who make their living in this business. It’s almost comical to hear some of these remarks. You know I don’t usually respond to such rubbish , but you tried insulting me so I apologize for stooping to your level, but sometimes some people such as you need a dose of their own medicine. Maybe it’ll open your eyes and you’ll realize how ignorant your remarks really are. And by the way, Hunger Games was not a Screen Gems show either. Both of these shows were done in part at OFS, a defunct fiber optics plant north of Atlanta. Thank you and please try to keep opinions on matters you obviously aren’t well versed on to yourself. Also don’t try force feeding all the propaganda about the Cathay family being behind your ex mayor and now governor and his decision to end the incentives in NC. That kind of slander will only hurt your cause more.

      • There it is, folks. Our enemies, don’t want us to question “Why” or “Who” are responsible – and they certainly don’t want their names known. They always resort to name calling and that’s how I know – sounds like a GOP plant to me. All of my theories and extrapolations were performed with tenacious research. Everyone knows Screen Gems has been setting up shop down I-85. And they will continue to do business in Atlanta, even if production dries up here, with the blessing and cooperation of the unions. The information regarding Screen Gems, I found in a memo dated in 2011 regarding economic development in Atlanta, where I went to Law School, where my brother practices law, and lives off of Jimmy Carter Blvd, coincidentally. That’s where the proposed new facility is – where they are already shooting on the back lot and in the old fiber optics facility as home base. It doesn’t have to be Screen Gems “show” to assist in producing or consulting, for that matter. Filmmaking is a collaborative effort and presently, there’s enough business to go around down there. And obviously, bringing film back to NC is not your cause – or you would have referred to it as such. Always look for the keywords, folks: “Moron”, “idiot” or “stupid” gives them away.

  11. Don’t you think something stinks here folks? Why would the Thom Tillis & the Republicans want to run the “liberal” film industry out of the state? The film industry is NOT a “brick & mortar” business. Producers only need a cell phone, laptop, internet connection & a vacant building to make a film or tv show (and of course an deep & experienced crew base). It is a truly UNIQUE business model. It’s NOT difficult to understand this simple fact. Without the incentive, you have NO $’s coming into the state. Tillis & his Republican cronies have not hurt the “liberal” film industry, they have destroyed the ability of over 4000 families to make a living at what they do best, help producers/networks manufacture a superior product. It’s one of the few products made in the USA where we’ll still the best in the world. And manufacturing these “products” requires NO INFRASTRUCTURE! I challenge anyone to name one other manufacturing industry that can make that claim! Something stinks folks….Are the Koch brothers investing in Georgia film?

  12. Oh sorry, forgot to mention Universal Studios owns the Fast and Furious franchise. So if you’d do your homework you’d have known that. I don’t know which studio is behind Color Force the production company for Hunger Games, but do know Lionsgate is the distributor. Thank you. RIP Paul Walker.

  13. Hey folks – I can understand the feelings. You work in the industry, you’ve raised kids here etc……..I GET IT.
    So you work in a film “factory” that has laid you off. did the factory close because business was off? Was there too much competition? Were you NOT profitable? From a strictly business perspective – you got laid off because your government checks have stopped. Re-read the posts above – “its because of political ideologues”, “its political retribution”, “it’s because of Tom, Pat, Phil Rick”…..etc, etc, etc.
    Is it? Is it really?
    Your business model was being artificially supported by government hand outs. Can you stand on your own? If not then the business model is flawed.
    None of your independent studies shows that film incentives pay off. NONE. Even our own Fiscal Research Div – part of our own Legislature said we lose money on every dollar invested. That by itself is not “gospel” but it IS supported by all independent studies.
    Now politically? Louisiana’s Legislative FR Div showed that they lost money on every dollar invested – The Univ of SC Charleston study showed that SC lost money on every dollar invested. Yet, they still have film incentives.
    You guys are only partially right. Yes it is political – of that there is no doubt but you continuously fail to disprove the independent studies. You also always down play the competition.
    Enough is enough.
    Politically you feel as though you got stabbed in the back.
    Business wise your “company” can’t stand on its own two feet.
    And states like CA can TRIPLE their incentive program, and still don’t even come close to 1/16 of 1% of their budget like film supporters claim NC’s incentives are. That means that if other states INCREASE their incentives CA’s still got a LOT of dry ammo left to use.
    You were ALWAYS on the edge with incentives – all it took was ONE election. All CA would have to do is increase their film incentives even further (or NY, or GA) . but you guys blame politicians to the exclusion of all other reasons. Thats scapegoating. Then of TOP of that you seem to be harping on posters who use false names on public forums as a sign of weakness. Really? Are you THAT childish? Do you have noting left to argue with?
    The workers at DAK, MUndy, Invista, and Rampage were not out demonstrating, taking photo ops, asking for MORE government assistance to keep their businesses going.
    They got other work, they moved, they picked themselves up. Who is worse? The guy that supposedly “hides” behind a computer ID? OR a person that stomps his feet whines and cries when his government hand out stops, which causes his “factory” to close. – forcing them to either move to where the work is.
    Based on what I’m reading here, and the LACK of foot stomping by those from the other companies – I’d have to say that you are NOT representing the industry in a positive manner.

    Ratchet the emotions down a bit….

    • Smug? No not at all. Filmmaker? No – anti incentives – ALL incentives. Would rather see lowered overall tax rates.
      What I have told /Sheila here in many comments is that when this was all done that you folks would need to sit down and HONESTLY evaluate where you went wrong and how to fix it.
      You’re not ready yet – you’re still in the denial stages.
      Give it time…….

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