Haywood County to filmmakers: We’re ready to roll
Miles and miles of film have been shot in Haywood County, but it’s not just about national recognition or local prestige — it’s big business, and Haywood County wants a piece of the action.
“Movie and film productions create some good economy on a local level,” said Becky Seymour, manager of the Haywood County Film Office. Seymour also serves as Video Marketing Manager for the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, under whose auspices the HCFO operates.
“A lot of times production companies will use locals for extras or crew,” she said, “or for things like catering, carpentry and makeup.”
According to the HCFO website, North Carolina hosted almost 6,000 production days in 2013, creating more than $250 million in associated spending.
Seymour said that such films as the 1996 Jack Lemmon-James Garner comedy “My Fellow Americans” and the Ron Rash-inspired “Serena” have already brought attention to Haywood County, but a new film slated for release in September starring Wilkesboro native Zach Galifianakis may boost exposure even higher.
“Masterminds” is a comedic film based on the true story of the 1997 “Hillbilly Heist” of Loomis, Fargo & Co. in Charlotte by employee David Scott Ghantt. The caper grossed Ghantt (played by Galifianakis) $17.3 million and a seven-year prison sentence.
Filmed mostly in and around Asheville, the movie includes several shots at a home in the Eagle’s Nest area of Waynesville.
Although the N.C. Department of Commerce has allocated $30 million in this year’s state budget toward a grant program that rebates production companies up to 25 percent of their qualified spending, Seymour and the HCFO have taken steps of their own to attract more productions here.
Seymour’s assembled a list of locations, support services and crew — all of which are designed to make it easy for filmmakers who wish to do business in the area. So if a producer needs to find, for example, a hotel for a gaffer working on a shoot at an emu farm, or needs to hire a dialect coach and a florist for a scene at a microbrewery, that information is readily available on the HCFO’s website.
For more information on incentives available to N.C.-shot productions, check out www.filmnc.com/incentives.html. To learn more about the Haywood County Film Commission, visit www.haywoodcountytourismdevelopment.com/haywood-county-film-commission.