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Film Producers Eye NC As Pandemic Rages Elsewhere, Says Film Office

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North Carolina's film industry is showing signs of life after the coronavirus pandemic put many projects on hold this year. North Carolina's film commissioner says that's due in part to producers showing more interest in the state as they consider moving film projects out of major cities.

"The pandemic has presented a few opportunities to the state that we might not have had otherwise," Film Commissioner Guy Gaster told WFAE. "We're still getting looks from projects that might have normally looked at something like a New York City, Chicago, even Los Angeles."

He cited as an example the Starz crime drama "Hightown," which filmed its first season outside New York City before relocating to the Wilmington area. Gaster said the move was due in part because Wilmington had fewer coronavirus restrictions and the population was less dense.

Gaster said he was not at liberty to share details of other negotiations, but noted other productions have had to rethink filming schedules and locations based on the comfortability of actors and crew members, and shifting travel restrictions.

This year's spending by film projects in North Carolina hit $110 million on Nov. 1, Gaster said. That's down from the $167 million spent by film projects in North Carolina in 2019, although it's higher than the $48 million spent in 2018, and the $57 million spent in 2017.

Gaster says next year also looks promising with producers already committed to spending $60 million in the state.

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