This morning I appeared on the WGHP Morning News to talk about The Hunger Games with Cindy Farmer. She’s pretty enthusiastic about the series of books and plans to see the film tonight at midnight.
Though I won’t to see the movie until Sunday, I’m kind of excited, too, thanks to my students.
At the beginning of the semester, I asked students enrolled in Film Theory and Criticism if there was anything in particular they wanted to learn more about; I didn’t make any promises but felt there was a little room in the syllabus to respond to their interests.
Several suggested talking about book-to-screen adaptations and, specifically, The Hunger Games. Despite the fact that the film was shot in North Carolina (more on that later), I had never warmed to the storyline. Two kids from twelve national districts selected at random to fight to the death? On television? Not appealing.
But, I agreed because some of them seemed so enthusiastic about the series.
Good thing I did because the book is actually quite the page-turner, and now I’m excited about seeing the movie, too. An additional inducement for me is that Jennifer Lawrence is the lead. She was terrific in my favorite film year before last, Winter’s Bone.
As for the North Carolina angle, this is an economic development success story. I serve on the Piedmont Triad Film Commission, which is an entity geared to bringing film production to the Triad area, helping productions with logistical matters while on location, and helping connect the local crew base to the jobs.
Though not shot in the Triad, The Hunger Games was shot exclusively on location in North Carolina (mostly in the western part of the state around Asheville but also in Concord, Shelby, and Charlotte) and pumped over 60 million dollars into the state economy. There were over 600 positions for our well-trained, local crew base and 5,000 jobs that were connected to the production in some less direct way (this might include food service and hotel jobs, for example).
North Carolina offers a 25% tax credit incentive program for productions over a certain budget, and that has helped bring new business into the state. Last year was the biggest year to date for film production in North Carolina with 40 feature film projects bringing in 220 million dollars in revenue. That doesn’t include all of the commercials, educational projects, and promotional films shot here.
There are hopes that the film (which is projected to be wildly successful) will not just spur more film production but will also give tourism a boost. This is a potential win-win-win: good movie, good employment for North Carolina crew, and tourism growth in western North Carolina.
More reasons to go see The Hunger Games.