The Wilmington Regional Film Commission declined to comment for this story.
Butler said the film industry declined because Republicans in the General Assembly ended the tax rebate program in favor of grants.
“It’s grossly underfunded and not competitive, it operates more in the form of a grant program, to lure any new industry back,” Butler said.
Robert Handfield, a professor at N.C. State University's Poole College of Management, said the current legislative leadership does not care about the benefits for film industry workers.
“I think the Republican administration has been anti-film for several years now,” Handfield said.
The state used to have a tax rebate program that provided incentives for film production in North Carolina, Butler said. Gov. Roy Cooper's budget would reinstate a similar program, which Butler said would be more effective.
Handfield conducted a study, sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America and other organizations, that concluded the film industry generated net positive revenue of $58.3 million for the state and local communities between 2007 to 2012.
The film and television industry generated $1.52 of tax revenue and $9.10 of direct spending for every $1.00 of tax credit provided by the state, the study concluded.
The passage of House Bill 2 has exacerbated the decline of the film industry in North Carolina, Butler said.
“While the film industry was already suffering because of leadership in Raleigh, HB2 has pretty much been the death knell,” she said.
The law has received criticism from a number of groups in the film industry, including the MPAA, who after the passage of law said it opposed "any law that legitimizes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."
Handfield said other states will profit from film business leaving North Carolina as a result of HB2.
“The states that will benefit from this are Georgia and South Carolina; they will benefit because of this mandate on HB2,” Handfield said. “We’re losing jobs because of this political statement they’re trying to make.”