State of the Art

N.C. filmmaker goes ‘Beyond the Blue’

I’ve said many times that state legislators ought to reinstate tax credits for filmmakers. If producers don’t shoot here, we lose nothing; if they do, we give back only a minority percentage of the money they prove they’ve spent in the state.

Well, perhaps pictures may succeed in persuasion where words have failed. Kevin Richmond, producer of the documentary “Beyond the Blue,” hopes they will. But the Hickory-based filmmaker isn’t singing the praises of “Iron Man 18;” he’s drawing our attention to homemade talent.

Richmond appears in the picture as one of 12 North Carolinians – writers, directors, producers and people who occasionally act – who share their love of moviemaking and their advice about getting started. The film’s not political, but you end up wishing our state would help them. (Oddly, though, not one comes from Charlotte.)

Ever since the 1980s, when Dino De Laurentiis came to the Chimney Rock area to shoot “Firestarter” and then opened a studio in Wilmington, North Carolina has tried to attract moviemakers from New York, Los Angeles and even overseas. “Beyond the Blue” makes a case that, while we should continue to draw big-budget projects if we can, local filmmakers with much smaller needs deserve our attention, too.

They may have to shoot features in four weeks (often on weekends) instead of four months. Their devotion to movies may mean second or third jobs, instead of second or third houses. But they’re doing this out of love. And as we hear throughout the film, anyone can do it with a modicum of equipment, minimum money and maximum passion. That’s a valuable message to share.