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From top: On the set of “The Arrangements.” Independent filmmakers on small budgets have to improvise. The camera is mounted to a baby stroller. Tanya Fermin’s new project is a supernatural drama called “HAON,” shooting at area locations including the New Hanover County Arboretum. Billy Lewis of Orange Street Films directing “The Terrible Two.” 41 Carolina passed House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, colloquially known as the Bathroom Bill. The bill restricts restroom use in government property to the gen-der assigned on an occupant’s birth certificate. Since the bill’s passage, some film productions have recon-sidered or terminated their plans to engage in North Carolina, including Lionsgate Studios, who had previously planned a comedy series in Charlotte. More than 400 film, television and commercial projects have shot at EUE/Screen Gems in Wilmington, but the sec-ond season of “Good Behavior” is the only major production definitely coming to shoot at the 50-acre sound stage lot. Bill Vassar, the studio’s executive vice president, says companies would apply for grant money and come back to town if the bill were repealed. Can Wilmington’s film industry survive this downswing? Is it in decline, or is it just in flux? “It’s somewhat both,” Griffin says. “The industry is in a state of decline, but that’s because it’s in a state of flux.” Griffin makes it clear, however, that a state of flux does not necessarily spell doom. “The local crew is the strongest around,” he says. “Having two films schools at UNCW and Cape Fear Community College and a top-rated film festival will not in itself attract a production here, but when the producers see it, they realize film is very important to the town, that it’s ingrained in the community.” However, many young filmmakers and technicians aren’t waiting for an upswing. Without deep roots in the area they are leaving at a rate much higher than industry veterans, fol-lowing North Carolina now lags well behind regional competitors like South Carolina and Georgia — which offers a 30 percent tax credit. Consequently, projects that might once have filmed here have migrated south and west. www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM the work. “For younger people, who are really the breath of life some-times on film sets, it might be a lot easier for them to move to Atlanta where sometimes they can just have their pick of shows, versus sitting here waiting to work,” D’Alessandro says. Angela Jones-Cuéllar, a recent UNCW graduate working in the film and theater industries, agrees. “I feel like making the jump to Atlanta was relatively easy for me to make right out of college because I hadn’t estab-lished ‘real-world’ roots in Wilmington yet,” she says. PHOTO COURTESY OF BILLY LEWIS PHOTO COURTESY OF TANYA FERMIN PHOTO COURTESY OF TANYA FERMIN


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