Local film projects generating significant expenditure; new tv series announced for september

For what some have called a slower year for Wilmington’s movie scene, things aren’t looking bad. This is according to Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, who points to three projects currently in production and one in preparation.

“The second season of The summer when I became pretty is in production, [the feature film] Eric Larue got a permit from the city and started filming, and the [second season of] Welcome to Flatch also started filming,” he said on Wednesday. “We have another feature coming up shortly; I hope to say something about this soon.

Several other 2022 projects have finished their work here: Starz TV Series Season 3 upper townas well as series of events George and Tammy and feature films The problem with Providence and A song for Imogen. In fact, Michael Shannon, who played George Jones in George and Tammy and made his directorial debut with Eric Laruereportedly helped bring this latest project to Wilmington from Arkansas due to that state’s new anti-abortion laws.

Not only did this year’s projects keep the teams busy; the numbers also look pretty good, Griffin said.

“Last year [the film-related] spent $315 million locally,” he said of the historically high level of activity in 2021. “So far this year, completed projects and those on the ground are expected to spend more than $200 million . If the year ended tomorrow and we had no other plans, we would still be in pretty good shape, but we are confident that this number will increase. If we had another $50 million TV series, we’d be closer to that number, although it’s unrealistic to think we could hit $315 million this year.

Earlier this week, Another Project announced it would shoot in Wilmington for its six-episode first season. divine renewal, a new “documentary series” produced by Heartlight Entertainment – according to execs – “takes the runaway success of home improvement shows and adds a spiritual element”. Filming will begin in late September and continue through October, according to Valerie Smaldone, one of three film and media veterans running Heartlight. The series will be hosted by Erik Estrada, who is known for his turns on faith-based television shows as well as his signature role as Frank Poncherello on CHiPS, a popular crime drama series that ran from 1977 to 1983.

divine renewal However, that can’t be factored into local film commission or North Carolina Film Office calculations because reality shows don’t typically seek state incentives, Griffin said. Several reality shows related to the house – including Like it or list it – turned in the state. Like it or list it filmed several full seasons in the Research Triangle area. Although not eligible for state film incentives, reality shows hire and spend at project locations, contributing to local economies.

“Reality series are strongly encouraged to submit ‘Intent’ forms to the state film office, but it is not required and most do not have eligible expenses for the film reimbursement program. of the state,” said Guy Gaster, director of the North Carolina Film Office. .

Heartlight Entertainment bills itself as the developer of “a slate of uplifting, inspiring, and spiritual programming designed to deliver positive energy to audiences in dire need of elevated programming.”

While producers Smaldone and Matthieu Chazareix are based in the New York area, the third producer, Monty Hobbs, lives in Wilmington and has connections in the film community as well as the community at large, Smaldone said. Producers are working with the Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM) and several churches to identify people with home repair needs and inspiring stories. She also posted on social media to attract other possible topics.

“Looking for people who need small repairs in their house; from installing a grab bar in a shower for an elderly person to creating a wheelchair ramp for a disabled child; from pruning an overgrown garden to fixing a leaky faucet. Let us know who in your community is in need. Small fixes can do big miracles,” the post read.

NOTE: This version of the story corrects where Eric Larue’s filming was originally supposed to take place. It was to be shot in Arkansas, not Atlanta. It also corrects the nature of the George and Tammy project and adds information about Love It or List It.

Gladys T. Hensley