In November, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed the newest state budget. The budget is in effect through the end of the 2023 fiscal year. In the budget, there is a modification to the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund. This fund was created to provide incentives to film production companies in North Carolina. Upon a cursory overview, some funding has been cut for this program. As a result, you may have questions about what this means moving forward. With that in mind, today we'll discuss what you can expect from the revisions to the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund, including a detailed discussion of the changes and incentives.
Grant Funding Still Applies
Under § 143B-437.02A, a film can receive grant funds if the production company has expenses for a feature-length film, a television series, or is creating a commercial for a theatrical or television viewing, or online distribution.
However, the amount of expenses to qualify for Film and Entertainment Grant Funding has been cut in half!
A production company qualifies if its expenses are at or above $1,500,000 for a theatrical viewing of a feature-length film and $500,000 for a film made for television. Both of these amounts are half of what was previously required in past budgets.
For example, a television series would qualify for the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund if its expenses reach or exceed $500,000 per episode, which is half of the previous requirements. On the other hand, the requirement for a commercial for theatrical or television viewing, or online distribution, however, has stayed the same at a requirement of $250,000.
Grant Funding for a Television Series has Increased
In addition to the cut in total expenses required to qualify for a grant, the amount provided by the grant has increased for a television series.
Under § 143B-437.02A(a)(2) of the budget bill, a single season of a television series can receive up to $15,000,000 in grant money. However, the amounts for a feature-length film and a commercial for a theatrical or television viewing or online distribution remain the same. It also states that the grant amount is capped at $7,000,000 for a feature-length film and $250,000 for the commercial or online distribution.
What does this mean for the Film and Entertainment Grant?
From what we can tell, the main changes to the Film and Entertainment Fund incentives are an increase in grant funds for television series production and a decrease in required expenses needed to qualify for the grant.
The decrease in required expenses is likely to bring in smaller and up-and-coming production companies to the state which could strengthen the film industry in North Carolina. In fact, as of August 2021, there was $409 million in production spending in the state, which is the largest amount since the grant was created in 2014.
With a reduction in qualifications and an increase in funds for television, this number is likely to increase in the coming years.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund, please contact our offices.