Southport sticks with current film ordinance for now - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Southport sticks with current film ordinance for now

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SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) - Southport's Board of Aldermen decided not to make any changes to its film ordinance at a meeting Thursday night.

The issue has been a controversial one in the community. Following complaints from some citizens during filming of Safe Haven, a committee looked at putting new filming guidelines into place.

However, some in the community expressed concerns about doing anything that would deter films from considering Southport.

Some potential provisions included requiring written permission from neighbors for high-impact filming that would occur after 11 p.m. Another restriction aimed to prevent filming from disrupting parking and business in downtown Southport called for filming to be planned for Sunday or outside normal business hours.

Some citizens did not want to see more restrictions placed on filming.

"We are the 96% of Southport that enjoyed this," said Woody Wilson. "My grandkids were here, we had a good time. We've seen the movie twice. I don't have any problem with the film industry coming back to this town. If they come back to Brunswick Street and do the same thing, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Let's not restrict the film industry to come in here and do what they need to do."

About the proposed changes, Wilson said, "It's too restrictive."

Chris Snell, who lives along Brunswick Street, told aldermen, "We love our quaint little fishing village. The only thing we've ever asked of the film industry is to respect our right to enjoy our home in peace."

He said he enjoyed watching the filming of the movie; however, he found the fireworks disruptive.

For five nights during production, the movie set off fireworks from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. am fireworks.

"No one from the film industry ever came to our front door to discuss the filming with us," he said. "We were privileged to sleep deprivation every night."

He said the town's existing ordinance should have been enforced, which would have prevented the late-night fireworks display.

Still, Snell said he is happy the movie was filmed here.

"We loved the way Southport was portrayed," he said. "It will renew your appreciation of where we live and why we live here."

The existing ordinance has been in place since 1997.

Johnny Griffin from the Wilmington Regional Film Commission spoke about the economic impact of the film industry. He urged Southport leaders not to go too far with filming restrictions.
That was echoed by others at the meeting.

Aldermen Buddy Barnes, who served on the committee, said he didn't want to scrap the work that the group did - but said the guidelines weren't ready to be voted on just yet.

Aldermen decided to review the existing ordinance again in a year.

The current ordinance has been in place since 1997, the year after I Know What You Did Last Summer was filmed in the city.

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