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CFIFN sees big picture in museum 

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While the push in Raleigh to eliminate film incentives is still causing controversy around North Carolina, one local nonprofit organization hopes to immortalize the state’s film history with a museum.

Rich Gehron, president of the Cape Fear Independent Film Network (CFIFN), said the museum would be integrated with the community, as it would feature thousands of films affiliated with North Carolina while enhancing the Wilmington economy.

“If we can make it happen, it’ll remain free to the public,” Gehron said. “It will help contribute to the local economy in downtown Wilmington. People would come for the museum and stay for the food [at nearby restaurants].”

CFIFN hosted a public discussion at Giant Café Friday, July 11 after a brief Powerpoint presentation as a way to gauge the community’s support of the film museum.

“[The discussion] is two-fold,” Gehron said. “We get input from the community and give details of what the process is. It’s a feedback … of what they might like to see and to provide people with opportunities to volunteer.”

Though still in its infancy, many community leaders and members have taken an interest in the film museum project, said Kathleen Gehron, CFIFN director of education and outreach.

“We met with the mayor two weeks ago and he loves the idea,” Gehron said. “UNCW loves the idea and now we have interns coming from the film studies department. … I don’t think you can meet someone in this town that isn’t connected to someone in the film industry some way.”

During the discussion, attendee Kent West asked, “Are you going to include UNCW student film projects? Or any indie projects all the way up to major productions?”

Gehron pointed to a box of about 3,000 index cards that contained the names of films made in Wilmington from both independent and blockbuster producers. “The blue [cards], which are the majority, are the independent films. Those were student films,” she said.

The plan is to purchase a building of about 2,000 square feet in downtown Wilmington, and offer free admission, funded through grants and donations, by spring 2016.

“It’s a traditional museum,” Rich Gehron said during the presentation. “With digital and interactive components that allow us to go beyond physical space.”

As a way of testing the waters, Rich Gehron plans to create a temporary exhibit in 2015.

“We’ll put up different displays to give people a sneak peek when they come to the permanent location,” Gehron said.

For more information, visit www.cfifn.org

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