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Film

Reprisal Wraps Filming Despite Delays From Storm

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Oct 30, 2018
One show has wrapped in the Port City, and another is scheduled to film next month as the area’s film industry was able to maintain business following Hurricane Florence.

Reprisal, a Hulu pilot, has finished filming in Wilmington and wrapped early last week, according to Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission Inc., a local organization that does marketing efforts and recruiting for the film industry in Southeastern North Carolina.

The production’s staff and crew were scheduled to begin filming the Wednesday before the storm hit Sept. 14, but had to stop operations because of the storm.

"They were in high gear and had flown people in and were getting all their final details taken care of. And then had to shut down, fly those who were not from here -- actors and directors, those sort of people -- fly them out. And then like all other businesses, regroup and evaluate based on when the power came back and checking locations," Griffin said.

Filming locations, such as homes and sites in the area, had to be checked out prior to its ramp-up of filming post-storm, he said. One location that the production was set to film at on the Black River was flooded, and staff ended up finding another location to take its place, Griffin said.

Reprisal was eventually able to pick back up after the storm and filmed for about three weeks this month, Griffin said.

"Reprisal was able to complete the project on schedule," Griffin said. 

"The executives from the company were very understanding and were able to move through it without any ill-feelings or real setbacks, and they were able to say that if they go to series then that's not really going to have any impacts on their decision to be here ... they were surprised at how quickly the town was able to get up and going and how cooperative everybody was and so they left with a good experience in spite of all," he added.

Swamp Thing, a Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment project slated for air on DC Universe's streaming service, has also been gearing up to begin filming, scheduled sometime in mid-November, Griffin said. Crews are in the process of building sets. 

Although the production had not yet started filming here, Griffin said the storm did affect crew back into Wilmington.

"They were impacted a little be less [than Reprisal] being that they ... were just in a construction phase. Obviously, they did not have talent here or anything like that, which complicates issues and when you're really on a time crunch to get things done in a certain number of days."

Swamp Thing, however, almost left the Wilmington area because of producers of the $100 million show with 300 people were concerned about flooding, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said in September. Area officials were able to convince producers of the show to stick with its filming here.

Swamp Thing is the only project now left in Wilmington and is slated to film until mid-2019, Griffin said.

Griffin said Tuesday that he could not discuss in detail about the situation that reeled the project back in for filming, but gave some credit to local crew.

"If you're sitting in California and you're watching the Weather Channel, you have a different picture of what's really happening here. And so you have to depend on your local crew people -- and I have to really give all the local crew people credit both on Reprisal and on Swamp Thing for being able to relay to their superiors back in Los Angeles that things [were] getting back to normal here ... regardless of what you see on the television," Griffin said.

EUE/Screen Gems Studios was able to clean up from the storm, make some minor repairs and get the studio completely functioning before any clients were able to come back to Wilmington, Griffin added

"Screen Gems was very proactive in getting things up-and-running where nobody was waiting on them to do anything," he said.

Griffin said that Wilmington is a hurricane-prone area, and hurricanes do come up in general conversations with film industry prospects.

While the hurricane this year may become a future topic in recruiting, it won't have much of an effect on the film commission's efforts, he said.

"It's always something that will be a conversation. Any of the cities that are in the Southeast, quite honestly, have to deal with the same issues. Whether it's New Orleans or Atlanta, as we've seen with the storms this year, it doesn't matter really where you were, these storms were so big and came so far inland that everyone was affected with rain and flooding," he said.

"But I think the advantage here is that we have experienced it before, we know how to deal with it, and are able to get the productions up and running again," Griffin said.
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