HB2: We. Are. Not. This.

First, please let me apologize for taking so long to blog about this. I’ve tried to wrap my head around this whole HB2 thing. People have been flying off the handle about this. Some with facts and some with fiction. Trying to decipher which is which has been a bitch.

There are so many thoughts running through my head. First off, if you don’t know me, I am an unaffiliated female who believes in equality for all.  So, with that being said, I am sure you know how I feel about HB2. So instead of explaining it piece by piece (my brain would explode), let’s look at the effects it has had on our state so far.

Just when things start rolling again, our legislators and governor had go and throw away not only $42,000 for an emergency session but also more job creation here in North Carolina.

As an ambassador to the City of Wilmington,  it is become very difficult to welcome visitors here when folks are asking if it’s safe to be here. Seriously, lemme quote the last conversation I got about visiting North Carolina.

KATE: In light of the recent news story about NC, my wife and I will be visiting. We’re lesbian couple, will we have an issue with discrimination? Just Wondering

ME: No! There will not be any issues. Our legislators in North Carolina do NOT reflect the citizens who live here.

KATE: Thank you! That’s what I thought, but ya know I still has to check for peace of mind.

To those of us who live here, it seems like a ridiculous question because we live here and WE KNOW how welcoming this city is, but thanks to those who “represent us” we look like a bunch of haters and backward individuals.

So how is HB2 working out for us so far?

Let’s see, PayPal, Dow Chemical, the NBA, BioGen, American Airlines, Citi, Lowe’s, Wells Fargo, Apple, the NCAA, Google (just to name a few) are VERY disappointed in our leadership’s decision.

This week, large corporations like Bank of America, Cisco, Miramax and Uber signed onto a letter protesting the new law and demanding its repeal. Small businesses are also taking HB2 to task. [SOURCE]

Just today more than 15 large companies ie Reddit, eBay, Starbucks…joined the fight against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law. [SOURCE]

HB2 is also creating uncertainty with companies as well.

Leaders from across the country have banned non-essential travel to North Carolina. San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, West Palm Beach, and New York, with more pending.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order banning all non-essential state travel to North Carolina. The order requires all New York State agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of North Carolina, and bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety. [SOURCE]

As far as film is concerned in our state, we have a little backlash, but what we don’t know is how is will affect our future.

The Hulu/Lionsgate production Crushed had one casting call the day before the emergency session took place. Rumor has it, based on a couple of crew members who were hired for the production…HB2 was the reason they packed their bags. I cannot confirm that however.

My sources in Western NC have told me that Dirty Dancing ONLY stayed because they were already too vested with locations and talent timelines and had made a commitment to film there. Otherwise they would have hit the road as well. Again, however, I cannot confirm it.

As you probably have seen Producer/Director Rob Reiner stated immediately after HB2 passed, he will never bring a production to North Carolina as long as this bill is in place. He encouraged his peers in the film industry to do the same. [SOURCE]

Meanwhile not all in the General Assembly are backing the bill. Senator Jeff Jackson has taken to social media.

And our favorite red head Rep. Susi Hamilton is just as upset about the outcome of HB2.

And this…good Lord:  “The people of North Carolina want to talk about roads and economic development and jobs and that’s where I’m going to focus my attention, not on ridiculous restroom and locker room policies that some people are trying to force onto the private sector,” McCrory said. [SOURCE]

I can’t help but think of a school yard taunt: “Quit talking about yourself!” Hate to tell you this, McCrory, but the people of North Carolina are just getting started.  The Gov’na certainly made his bed, but he doesn’t want to lie in it any longer…

And it is also apparent, McCrory has no idea what’s in the bill they passed in a 12 hour period.

NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is running against McCrory, is asking all those who are ashamed of HB2 to sign a petition on ShameonMcCrory.com

Every hour, there are more companies, cities and states standing up against HB2.

In conclusion, I cannot stress to those who don’t live here that we in North Carolina want you to know our legislators DO NOT reflect who we are as citizens of North Carolina. We are welcoming. We are warm.  We. Are. Not. This.

Thanks for giving us all the headlines leaders of North Carolina…

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NC FILM INCENTIVES – Open letter from Rosin IATSE Local 491

Dear Film Friends:

Our mission remains the same: Do all we can to return the healthy film industry to North Carolina.

During this legislative session, while the exodus of our friends and jobs accelerates, the North Carolina House of Representatives has passed several economic development bills that could be used to address the harm done to the film industry. The Senate has not acted on a single one, and seems uninterested in economic development, even as Volvo, another auto plant, announces it is opening a new facility in South Carolina.

The news in the last few days has reported a total state coffer surplus of $1.1 billion. This reflects $400 million more in collections and roughly $70 million in existing reserves. So the argument that “tough times” is why we cannot return the film industry to a competitive national level simply will NOT fly this year. We should also ask, why does JONES STREET have a surplus, but MAIN STEET does not?

During the “Ironman” season, $84 million was granted as incentives for that banner year. As a result, our industry grew by leaps and bounds! Small business start-ups took root in Charlotte, Wilmington, Asheville and across the state. This year, legislation to increase the feeble $10 million grant amount has been introduced in both chambers, as well as a bi-partisan economic development bill which has been introduced in the House with the old film program included. But the fact is, at this late stage in the game, it’s all about a “grant.”

Representatives Ted Davis, Frank Iler, and Susi Hamilton continue to fight for our industry. The House has never been the challenge. Last year Representative Davis, with help from Frank and Susi, passed legislation that would have basically returned us to the film credit system we have long enjoyed, only to see that proposal die in the Senate.

Your House delegation is fighting hard for you, and I feel certain they will in the short term be able to increase the amount of the grant significantly when the House budget is rolled out soon.

We need to thank them and support them.

Whatever they are able to cobble together, and it will not be easy, we must demand that the Senate add a like amount to the fund. Please be clear on what I am saying: for every $100 the House puts in, the Senate needs to add a $100, or $200 total. Otherwise the Senate has not done anything!

Jason Rosin
IATSE Local 491
“Concerned for the Future of Film and TV in NC!”

To contact your legislatures:
NC HOUSE CONTACTS 
NC SENATE CONTACTS

NC FILM Update: New House Bill Includes Film Incentives.

The Omnibus Economic Development Improvements Bill aka HB 89 was filed today and was sponsored by House Reps Susi Hamilton (New Hanover, Brunswick) and Rodney Moore (Mecklenburg). This house bill is an act to restore various tax credits such as the jobs catalyst fund, the Mill Property Rehabilitation Tax Credit, Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and yes the North Carolina Film Incentives.  You heard me right.  Not the grant.  The film Incentives.  That’s what the language certainly looks like.

At first glance, starting on page 20, HB 89 is reverting to the 25% film incentive we had in previous years, with some very minor changes.  Minimum would revert back to $250,000 and the cap again on the 25% back would be $20 million.  Slight changes such as certified CPAs to audit instead on IRS, and other minor details have been added.  The sunset proposed is January 1, 2020.

Take a look and see what other differences you can find.  I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high, but I am glad that Susi and Rodney have gotten the ball rolling.  We gotta start somewhere in this fight to keep NC Film.

We know recently, Small Business for Film has collected more than 450 memberships statewide in less than 30 days and Governor Pat McCrory has recently stated the urgency for JDIG to be reinstated.

Of course, it was proven that when the film incentive is gone, production companies with medium to large budgets will not come to North Carolina to employ film workers and inject money in the local economy.  We have seen two existing shows with big budgets (Banshee and Sleepy Hollow) cease to return.  And of course, still a sore subject, Danny McBride and Jody Hill’s latest HBO show, Vice Principals setting up shop in South Carolina.

Now, it’s between the House and the Senate to decide on the “state of the slate.”

READ HB 89 NOW: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/House/PDF/H89v0.pdf

NC Film and small businesses that benefit.

Even though I have said this until I am blue in the face, it seems as though the message isn’t getting out there enough. 4200 people who hold full time jobs in the film industry isn’t the whole story; it’s just a part of it. Small businesses benefit from film in a big way. Talk to folks at The Ivy Cottage, Triangle Rent a Car, Old Books on Front, Manna, Brown Dog Coffee Co., Image Monster, etc. 100s of small businesses benefit from our NC Film Industry. Even Barber Shops.

Meet Mr. Graham. I did a story on him a few months back. (SEE STORY NOW), but if you have never met him, you probably didn’t realize he would be one of your favorite folks who live in Wilmington. With his infectious joyful personality and smile, he tells the story of how proud he is to support NC Film. Mr. Graham owns the barber shop at 5th and Castle Sts.  He had the opportunity to work with the film industry on Under the Dome. Listen to what he has to say. He has just one of 100s of stories that our politicians need to hear.

So, how can you help save NC Film? The majority of the general public loves the film industry here and agrees it needs to stay. So, get out and vote wisely. I can help you in a few counties.

FRIENDS of the NC Film Industry:
New Hanover: Elizabeth Redenbaugh, Betsy Jordan, Susi Hamilton, Ted Davis, Frank Iler
Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender: Ernie Ward
Pender, Onslow: Steve Unger
Bladen, Columbus, Robeson: Ken Waddell
Guilford, Rockingham: William Osborne
Guilford: Scott Jones

LIST OF WHO VOTED FOR AND AGAINST FILM: NCGA_FilmmakersVotingGuide_2014

Still looking for MORE volunteers at the polls!  We are looking for folks who are pro-NC Film to work in 2-4 hour shifts at the one stop early voting (October 23, 2014 – November 1, 2014) locations and on Election day (November 4, 2014) in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender County locations. GET MORE DETAILS NOW

ABSENTEE VOTING BY MAIL: Absentee voting runs through October 28, 2014

EARLY VOTING (ONE STOP) PERIOD: October 23, 2014 – November 1, 2014

LIGHT THE FIRE: 2014 General Elections – What can I do?

I know everyone is absolutely exhausted, pained and everything in between since the short session, but now is not the time to sit idle.  We have exactly three weeks until early voting begins.  With that being said, we as film workers and supporters need to light this election a new one.  Not just in Wilmington, but statewide.  The one thing many of the media outlets did that was a disservice to the NC Film community was shine a light on the industry and made it look like it was just a Wilmington issue.  We all know it is not, but we are indeed the ones that raise our voices the loudest.

vote_now

But this week I opened my ears and eyes, and I am seeing and hearing crickets. Again, I know it’s been a long road and we are all tired, but we need to be the ones to ensure change.  We need to educate. We need to keep our promises.  The promise we made during the summer months was that we will show them the power of the film community on November 4th.  There are over 25,000 North Carolina residents that benefit from NC Film in some way.  We need you ALL to be present at the polls!

Yes, we did lose the battle, but we will NOT lose the war.  Change begins with you!  And it takes all of us to make that happen.  ALL of us.  The General Assembly’s Long Session is only 3 months away and we need the right people in office to get North Carolina back on the right track ESPECIALLY with film!

Here’s some ways you can help:

1) SHARE. Share Share Share.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.  See articles that favor our candidates that support the film industry.  Share them! Seriously, share them!

2) TWEET. Tweet and retweet with the hashtags: #NCGA #NCPOL.  You can follow our pro-film Representative Susi Hamilton at @RepSusiHamilton or us at @WilmywoodNC for all the latest.

3) VOLUNTEER. Volunteer at the polls.  We are looking for folks who are pro-NC Film to work in 2 hour shifts at the one stop early voting (October 23, 2014 – November 1, 2014) locations and on Election day (November 4, 2014) in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender County locations. GET MORE DETAILS NOW

4) USE IT.  This week the Koch Brothers really screwed up.  Use that!  Let the community know that they REALLY want shut down NC Film.  Let folks know which candidates Kochs/American For Prosperity/Civitas. are tied to.  i.e. Thom Tillis.

5) SHARE THE LIST: LIST OF WHO VOTED FOR AND AGAINST FILM: NCGA_FilmmakersVotingGuide_2014

6) REGISTER TO VOTE. Ask around, make sure everyone you know is registered to vote!  Deadline for registration is October 10th.  That’s only 8 days away!

7) ABSENTEE VOTE. Make sure your film friends who are leaving town for work VOTE.  Absentee voting by mail runs through October 28, 2014!

8) DONATE.  We have folks like Ernie Ward, Elizabeth Redenbaugh, Steve Unger, and Betsy Jordan who are HUGE film supporters.  We MUST get them in office.  So support them! Those across NC let people know who is for film in your district.  Don’t be silent.  Be LOUD about it!

9) DRESS THE PART. Wear it in public!  Show your film pride!  Sport your Film =Jobs shirts.  Wear your production t-shirts.  Everywhere.  It’s always a conversation starter when you are out and about.  Let people know who is on our side!

10) FEEL IT. BELIEVE IT. Light that fire! Feel that passion you had just a few months ago and make your voice be heard!  You have 21 days.  Make each one count!

Let’s turn the tables and make this election have the greatest turn out in North Carolina’s history!

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THE WILMYWOOD DAILY – 09/05/2014 The Remaining hits theaters today, Absentee voting begins, locations, and more.

Tonight’s the night! Join us at Regal Cinemas for the 7:50pm screening of the Wilmywood shot, The Remaining. Lemme know if you are attending by clicking on the Facebook invite!

Finally, Secrets & Lies is straying away from the soundstages and their Porter’s Neck hood. Today they head down to the Brooklyn Arts District on N 4th St. Yay! This town just doesn’t feel right without the Lightning trucks lining the roadways!

Sleepy Hollow will also be out and about. Well, just sorta today. They scooch onto One Tree Hill Way, but they will be venturing out to N. 15th St. on Saturday.

And we are still counting it down!

  • 17 days until the Sleepy Hollow Season 2 premiere
  • 11 days until Sleepy Hollow Season 1 DVD/Blu-Ray releasetscc3

The North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition selected Rep. Susi Hamilton D-New Hanover and Brunswick to receive a 2014 Metro Mayors Coalition legislative award for her work in support of the film industry. Woo Hoo!  Congrats lady!  READ ARTICLE NOW

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REGISTER TO VOTE: If you have not yet registered to vote, you must do so NO LATER THAN October 10, 2014 by 5pm or you will NOT be able to vote in the General Elections on November 4, 2014.

ABSENTEE VOTING BY MAIL: Absentee voting by mail begins September 5,2014 and runs through October 28, 2014

EARLY VOTING (ONE STOP) PERIOD: October 23, 2014 – November 1, 2014

Now, I do have a statewide list of all the folks in the NCGA who are for or against film, however, I am not releasing it yet.

I can tell you who is running and who is profilm in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender. Those not listed are running unopposed.

US Senate
Sen. Kay Hagan (D) – Pro Film
Thom Tillis (R) – No

NC House
District 20
Rep. Rick Catlin (R) – No
Betsy Jordan (D) – Pro Film

District 16
Rep. Chris Millis (R) – No
Steve Unger (D) – Pro Film

NC Senate
District 8
Sen. Bill Rabon (R) – He gave us the Grant, you decide.
Ernie Ward (D) – Pro Film

District 9
Sen. Michael Lee (R) – Pro Film
Elizabeth Redenbaugh (D) – Pro Film

MOST POPULAR THIS WEEK:

That just about does it for me; I will have more Wilmywood updates for you Monday morning (unless something breaks) and every weekday morning we do “What’s Up in Wilmywood” at 7:30am & 8:30am LIVE on Sunny 104.5.  And on Thursdays during Cape Fear CW‘s Primetime News at 10!  Got Scoop?  Email me: sheila_brothers@yahoo.com.  Or message me on Wilmywood’s FB  or on Twitter You can also just post your comments below!  Until then, that’s a wrap!!

PRESS RELEASE: INACTION – NO SESSION WILL COST NORTH CAROLINA 12,000 JOBS

Official Press Statement:

Representatives Susi Hamilton, Ed Hanes, Rodney Moore, Ken Waddell and Michael Wray

INACTION – NO SESSION WILL COST NORTH CAROLINA 12,000 JOBS

Despite the length of this ‘short’ session, the General Assembly has thus far failed to adequately address one of the most important issues facing North Carolina – job protection and creation. Good jobs are the foundation of our families and our communities.  The North Carolina General Assembly has failed to enact any serious programs that will assist capital expansion, create an environment conducive to hiring, and actually secure the jobs of new and existing workers.

The good news is that this year’s legislative session has not yet adjourned. There is still time to support a bi-partisan economic development plan that will move this state forward.  We are convinced that a bi-partisan approach is the only chance of preventing the crippling of economic development opportunities for North Carolina in the next nine months.  Without the basic tools of economic development, the North Carolina Department of Commerce cannot be competitive in job recruitment.  Every one of our county economic development offices, the new Public Private Partnership (PPP), and the new prosperity zones will all be unable to effectively “sell” our state if a comprehensive plan does not pass.

Many of the elements of S 763 are supported broadly by members of our caucus. However, it is clear that in some areas the plans offered by the Governor are not aggressive enough.

We offer the following items that would make it worthy of vigorous bi-partisan support:

  • Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program – This inexpensive program is one of the few tools to encourage rehabilitation of commercial buildings in small towns and cities across the state. While the credit has been used extensively in Durham, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Raleigh and other larger cities, it has been particularly helpful in our smaller communities to create the type of re-investment we need to keep these communities vibrant.

 

  • New Market Tax Credits – This program is creating major investment by private capital in 14 others states. It fills a giant gap that exists where Banks are now reluctant to lend in rural and distressed areas.  Where this law has passed, the state has seen an immediate influx of capital and lending, often near the half billion mark in the first year.  This program does not cost the taxpayer money; it generates jobs and taxes for the state.  It must be part of any bi-partisan comprehensive economic development plan.

 

  • Film Tax Credit – This program has long been supported by both Republicans and Democrats alike. It makes money for state and local government by supporting 4,200 highly paid permanent jobs and 15,000 part time jobs, which in turn pays gasoline, payroll, property, sales and all other taxes and fees that support the government.  These workers have no job option in their field and will be forced leave the state if North Carolina turns its back on this knowledge-based industry.

Without S 763 and parts of H 1224:

  • Two proposed manufacturing plants and their 1,400 jobs that the Commerce Department is seeking will not come
  • The EPA will close the plant in Canton laying off 1,200 workers in Senator Apodoca’s and Senator Davis’ district
  • The state will eliminate 4,200 jobs in the film industry
  • The ELIMINATION OF OUR MAJOR RECRUITMENT TOOL, JDIG, EFFECTIVELY TAKING NORTH CAROLINA OUT OF THE JOB RECRUITMENT BUSINESS FOR ONE YEAR. If past performance is a guide, this will cost 6,000 jobs just in the recruits the Secretary is engaged with now

There are other tax provisions of H 1224 that could possibly be added to this compromise, some of which we are aware are much needed by the Department of Commerce and the Department of Revenue.  These include, but are not limited to, Crowd Funding, JMAC, JDIG, solar energy tax credits and the Secretary’s new Catalyst Fund.

We are calling on Governor McCrory and Senator Berger to sit down with House leadership and our caucus so we can finalize a package that can pass both houses with a strong bi-partisan vote.