In Yanceyville and Caswell County exists a unique capacity to produce and distribute film. Surprisingly, the small rural community is home to two amenities that could become an economic engine for the area. The first is the Film, Video and Digital Animation program at the Yanceyville Campus of the Piedmont Community College. Specifically the Digital Effects and Animation Technology (DEAT) program is a unique draw to the area given that there are only a few facilities nationwide that offer this type of training. Additionally, the former Pinnacle Film Studio (currently for-sale) includes office space, a historic home and four sound stages that range in size from 8,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet. The studio is located directly off Main Street in Yanceyville, walking distance to the downtown business district. Combined these two amenities could position Caswell County as a center for film production and distribution in North Carolina.
To aid in the recruitment and retention of film companies to North Carolina Governor Perdue recently signed into law SB 943, which offers qualifying companies a 25% tax credit. Given the aforementioned film amenity in Caswell County and the tax incentive, I believe the opportunity exists to attract a production company to the area.
However, there are significant challenges to attracting this type of industry to Yanceyville and Caswell County. Primarily, there is not a dedicated staff member at either the county or town level tasked with economic development. In addition, there are numerous other obstacles to consider such as a lack of housing options for visiting students, faculty and film industry professionals, dearth of supporting industry, etc.
Over the course of the semester I plan to build capacity for film-business recruitment at the Town and County level through conversations with the town and county officials, representatives from PCC, the Department of Commerce, NC Film Office, Duke Documentary Center, and other like-minded entitles.
For more information on the Piedmont Community College Yanceyville Campus Film and Video Program please visit: http://www.pccfilm.com/index.html