Charlotte's movie biz dream picks up steam

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Homeland fans have been getting a good glimpse of the show they love shooting all over Charlotte, and after it cleaned up at the Emmy's, everyone felt proud to say it was filmed right here. That coo, of course, came hot on the trail of Hunger Games mania - the blockbuster filmed uptown and all over our area.

"Those shows have helped us tremendously," says Beth Petty.  Petty is director of the Charlotte Regional Film Commission, a role she's had since 1998.  She says the momentum building now is a first in her career here. "We've been really busy, just lots of leads coming through the door, lots of people coming to our area."

But it's not just those latest production scores. Page thinks it's also politics. It's the DNC.

"I even had one person during the DNC who's a very well known location manager email me and said all eyes on Charlotte," she says.

City Councilman John Autrey wants to strike while we're hot. The state raked in a lot of cash in 2011 thanks to film production. "Like $300 million last year. That's real money. That's money that goes into And he wants to see more pocketed here.  "The minimum wage for someone working on the set for a grip or a third-ranked person is like $24.95 an hour.

The next step, according to both Autrey and Petty, is building a big sound stage like Wilmington's. Charlotte leaders just traveled there to see it, and Autrey thinks they could build a similar one on the Eastland Mall property the city just bought.  But it's not going to be cheap.

"We closed on that the 31st of August," Autrey says. "I don't think that converting anything over there to film studio usage is going to be practical. It's going to have to be demolished. And it's going to rise out of the ashes form that."

The city needs a private partner.

"Hopefully by next summer we'll have a partner identified and be able to get on with it," he adds.