BREAKING: BOTH NC House AND Senate file bills for NC Film!

Sooo, right after Gov Pat McCrory announced his proposed budget which would only allocate $10 million in funding for our North Carolina Film Industry for  each year over the next two fiscal years (effective July 1, 2015), I asked, “What will the NCGA do about it?”

WELLLLLL…

SB 193, sponsored by Michael Lee and Bill Rabon was filed today.  Yep, you heard me right, THE SENATE!  It would put $66 million in “recurring funds for the 2015-2016 fiscal year for use consistent with the purposes of that Fund. This act would become effective July 1, 2015, and applies to grants made  on or after that date.”

The funds are reserved for a production on which the production company has qualifying expenses of at least the following:   For a feature-length film would thankfully drop to $1,000,000).  For a video or television series, it would go up from $250,000 to $1,000,000 per episode.  This bill also provides for Commerce to enter into multi-year contracts.  Take a gander and see what you think!  SEE FILED SB193 NOW

OH BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE!

Meanwhile back at the House Representatives Ted Davis along with Lewis, Saine, and Iler filed a bill of their own for film HB171!!! Wait, strike that, both House and Senate filed the same bill!  YES!  Every damn word is the same!

Hold on, am I dreaming?  Both the House and the Senate both agree on something? SEE FILED HB171 NOW

More details to come.

 

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UPDATE: NC House puts film in the House budget.

Tonight, the short session came to an end with film almost last on their list.  The amendment came from Rep. Ted Davis.  Ted, was the one who proposed the best bill (2nd to Susi Hamiltons) this week and it failed.  He isn’t giving up as you can plainly see.  This time around he went in with the “grant” proposal such like the one Bill Rabon presented to the Senate.  The results VOTES: 90 Yays 26 Nays.  The film incentives are now in the House budget, with a $5 appropriation.  Now it will go to conference.

The original grant program proposed by Bill Rabon would have a $20 million reserve for the 2014-15 fiscal year (the year end would be summer 2015, I believe) The money would come from two state reserve funds.

For features, you have to spend a minimum of $10 million and the grant payout would be capped at $5 million. TV would have to spend at least $1 million per episode with the same cap, $5 million. Commercials need to spend a minimum of $500,000, with a payout cap of $250,000.

Now that it is has passed, they can now go into negotiations.  So as you can already see, Under the Dome, Sleepy Hollow and any feature film that spends over $20 million in the state would not benefit from this program. Also, this would also mean that we can only have so many projects until the well went dry. Once $20 million has been given out, we must wait until the next fiscal year. Also, the original proposal would sunset in July, 2020.  Sooo, they will go and and get to work to make the new proposal more viable for the industry.

(Now in my personal opinion – the only way to make this proposal work for our industry would be basically to at least double the cap and increase the reserve. )

It’s not over yet.  We won the battle of the budget.  Yes, the battle, not the war!  We still have a ways to go.  But let’s focus on this.  We got it in the budget because of you.  Your phone calls.  Your emails.  You did it!

I know this grant is not what everyone wants, but let’s see how it all plays out. They still have a lot of work to do to get it viable.   I will keep you posted.

Also, it might be a great idea to contact and thank these folks who helped us immensely:

Rep. Susi Hamilton: Susi.Hamilton@ncleg.net 919-733-5754

Rep. Ted Davis: Ted.Davis@ncleg.net 919-733-5786

Rep. Beck Carney: Becky.Carney@ncleg.net  919-733-5827

Rep. Frank Iler: Frank.Iler@ncleg.net 919-301-1450