Nicholas Sparks Movie To Film At Freeman Park Oct. 25th and 26th

Nicholas Sparks Movie To Film At Freeman Park Oct. 25th and 26th Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 22 October 2014 04:00

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach announced earlier this week a movie will be filming at Freeman Park this coming weekend. According to a release issued by the Town, "Filming will take place this weekend at Freeman Park.  Choice Films, LLC is working on an upcoming Nicholas Sparks movie and will use portions of Freeman Park to film horses on the beach.  Sections 19-21 will be roped off during production, but traffic will be able to flow around the edge of the dunes and by the restrooms.  Film crews will be in this area on Saturday, October 25th from 8:00AM-5:00PM, and then on Sunday, October 26th from 5:00AM-Noon.  Also note that the production company will have use of the North Pier Parking Lot at the end of Canal Drive for parking vehicles, equipment, and trailers. Carolina Beach Police Officers will be on site during filming to help with traffic flow, and steps have been taken to ensure that the production does not negatively impact the beach, pedestrians, or vehicles."

Town Manager Michael Cramer notified the Mayor and Town Council on Monday October 20th of a request to film a scene for a new Nicholas Sparks film based on one of Spark's books titled "The Choice" at Freeman Park on the North End of Pleasure Island.
Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer have signed on for the lead roles. The love story -  set in a small North Carolina coastal town - is about bachelor Travis Parker (Walker) pursuing his new neighbor Gabby Holland (Palmer) and a journey neither of them could have foreseen. Cramer explained to Council in an email, "This afternoon I received a call from Mr. Vick Griffin, Location Manager for Choice NC Productions, Inc. Mr. Griffin is working on the newest Nicholas Sparks film adaptation shooting in the Wilmington area called “The Choice,” and they have a scene that they would like to shoot out at Freeman Park involving half a dozen ponies. The movie is being filmed in Wrightsville Beach and will be filming in November down in Fort Fisher, so they would like to include Carolina Beach their shoot during that time. The scene is representative of Shackleford Banks, which is a barrier island in Carteret County. Apparently, there are feral ponies there (not unlike the wild ponies on Ocrakoke Island), and in the movie the characters visit the island. The shot is a “Point of View” from the characters as they see the horses run across the beach as the sun rises in the background."
Cramer explained, "To date film permits have been issued by the town manager and I have issued several that have been small scale student films. However, as I have done in the past, I wanted to bring this request to your attention because it is a large scale activity in a very public place. I have discussed the filming with Mr. Griffin and will be meeting with him tomorrow to look at the site and discuss their needs. We will not need to close Freeman Park. They will need to use a segment of the park facing the ocean in the sunrise hours of the morning only and they will have a small crew. They are looking to film in the next 30 day. Our ordinance does allow horses on Freeman Park during the off season and we do allow filming on Freeman Park. However, before approving this activity, I would like to get your thoughts, ideas, concerns and opinions, regarding this activity."
Councilman Gary Doetsch explained, "I have no problem with filming on the island as long as we consider the impact it has on citizens as a first priority. As long as the impact is minimal I am okay and the film crews understand they are guest to our community."
Mayor Dan Wilcox explained, "I’m not really sure when our ordinance says horses can or cannot be on the beach, but I generally have no issue with the filming or the horses. My only concern would be that some part of the ordinance provides that latitude."
Wilcox explained, "Also, it seems to me that almost any time a movie is being filmed, the filming will include activities that are not generally allowed under our ordinances. As an example, the filming proposed at the boardwalk  earlier this year would have included a motorcycle on the boardwalk. Not something our ordinance  allows. So, if we want to encourage filming, perhaps we should create a general exception in our ordinance for prohibited activities when filming," with approval by the Town Manager or Council.


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