Pharrell Williams Wants to Boost Virginia's Film Industry

Pharrell Williams

Glastonbury, Somerset, UK - June 27, 2015 - Pharrell Williams playing Glastonbury Festival's Pyramid Stage

Pharrell Williams is making moves to boost Virginia's film industry.

Pharrell Williams co-produced the movie Hidden Figures two years ago. The movie centered around the true story of three African-American women, who were mathematicians from Virginia, whose efforts helped lead to the integration of the then-segregated NASA. The Oscar-nominated movie features NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia in the 1960s. But the movie filmed in Georgia, where film tax credits offered 30% filming incentives. Williams, a Virginia Beach native, found it odd that while the movie's true story took place in Virginia, it was being filmed elsewhere. "As I stood on set among all of this positivity and productive energy, I asked myself: Why were we telling a Hampton Roads story in Atlanta?" He asks this question in a new video being shared around Virginia's state capital. His solution is to create a film and soundstage campus in Virginia. Pharrell Williams Tinseltown / In an interview with the Virginia Pilot, he said, "Nothing would make me happier than to work with the state of Virginia on making it a place where people come to create film, television shows and advertising. It would provide jobs and inspiration." Williams is reportedly consulting with Venture Realty Group, a commercial real estate developer based in Virginia Beach, on possible sites for a future film campus. His idea is to create studio space in Virginia Beach and enhance the state's film industry. Currently, in Virginia, there is a $6.5 million cap on film incentives that will end in 2022. "The amount is not enough to create critical mass, to build infrastructure," said Andy Edmunds, director of the Virginia Film Office. Meanwhile, Georgia has no limits on incentives with no end in sight. In fact, in 2017 the state gave hundreds of millions in taxes on film production, but it was a smart investment as it returned more than $2 billion in revenue to the state. Williams boasts of the "economic engine" of film and TV industries and he wants Virginia to be competitive. "Virginia, we can do this," he says. "It's time now to make Virginia a premiere film destination." Related: