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Film

Hulu Pilot Show To Start Filming Next Week

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Sep 5, 2018
A new production will start filming next week in Wilmington, the first of two upcoming projects.

The Port City's film industry is heating up in the latter part of 2018, bringing with it more activity and jobs for the region, officials said. And efforts are ongoing to land additional projects in 2019, according to Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission.

On Wednesday, the city of Wilmington sent out another location filming notice for Reprisal, a Hulu pilot, which is set to begin filming next week. That production and another film, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.'s Swamp Thing, are slated to film in Wilmington.

According to the city's latest filming notice, the Reprisal will film at Reggies 42nd Street Tavern, 1415 S. 42nd St., Sept. 17-18 and 20-22. The city has already released filming slots for other dates next week at Circa 1922 on Front Street in downtown Wilmington and two other locations.

And these films, like many others in the past, are not only bringing business to area hotels and businesses, they offer job opportunities for local crew, Griffin said.

While the details of the employee counts are not exact, typical numbers for a pilot like Reprisal are about 150 jobs throughout the length of the production, Griffin said.

Swamp Thing, which is a series set to be aired on the DC Universe streaming service operated by Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, could have a larger employment count, Griffin said.

Both Reprisal and Swamp Thing have set up offices at EUE/Screen Gems Studio on North 23rd Street in Wilmington, he said, adding that further details about the filming schedule for Swamp Thing have not been released.

This is not the first time Warner Bros. has shot a film in the Wilmington area. Griffin said it's actually been one of the larger firms to bring business to the city.

“Warner Bros., that's a company that has been here many times -- probably our biggest client [in the] overall history of doing work here in Wilmington, both from a television standpoint and a feature film standpoint,” Griffin said about the production company that also brought One Tree Hill and Revolution to the Port City. “So it's certainly good to have them back in the area once again working here and shows their confidence in the region.

“It's kind of sending that message to the industry that, here's a major client that is working here in North Carolina and is glad to be here doing business,” he added.

Swamp Thing will mark the third production to be filmed in the Wilmington area in 2018. LD Entertainment’s Words on Bathroom Walls wrapped up filming this summer. In the spring, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that the production would receive a grant of up to about $2.3 million from the state’s film and entertainment grant fund.

Streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and others could offer more filming prospects for the region’s industry, Griffin said.

“Any time there's new channels that are popping up, that just means there's going to be additional content that's got to be produced. So the more distribution networks that are out there, then that means a greater volume of content, which is more opportunity for us,” Griffin said.

And more opportunities could arise in 2019.

The business that has come through the Port City this year along with a hefty amount of the state's film and entertainment grant still left in the coffers, increases the chances of landing the next client, Griffin said.

According to the N.C. Film Office, the state still has $51 million available this fiscal year.

"No awards have become 'official' so far this fiscal year," said Guy Gaster, director of the N.C. Film office. "The last official award was done in March for Words on Bathroom Walls ... a project becomes 'official' once a production submits its application, an offer is made by the N.C. Department of Commerce and then accepted by the production."

Calls are coming in for clients looking for locations in 2019, Griffin said. 

"They're just kind of thinking about their next slate of projects that they're going to do and where they might locate. The first thing they want to know is whether or not there's space here for them, whether or not there's crew that's available and whether or not there's any incentive money available," Griffin said.

"We've got these two projects, and we've worked to get them here. They're going to help us spread the word now, and be able to speak confidently to the fact that we have work here," he said. "It's just gonna take a little bit of time, but we are having some inquiries, and people are looking at us." 
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