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Pharrell working to make Virginia a global destination for film and media

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Pharrell Williams is interested in growing Virginia’s film and media industry.

The 45-year-old singer and producer, who is a native of Virginia, recently hosted more than 70 state and regional leaders to discuss Virginia’s opportunities to capitalize on the expanding global demand for content and media technology, WTKR reports.

“We are on the map, but now it’s time to put our rich landscape, our people and their passion to work to make the Commonwealth a global destination,” said Williams. “This is my mission for Virginia, and I am not alone in seeing the vastness of this opportunity.”

According to officials in a press release from the City of Virginia Beach, Williams also met with Governor Northam and delivered a letter from several major studios and media companies expressing interest in Virginia opportunities. Companies included Netflix, Illumination Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Endeavor and 20th Century Fox.

The musician, producer and entrepreneur recently brought attention to Virginia when he helped produce the Oscar-nominated film, “Hidden Figures,” which tells the true story of three female mathematicians from Virginia whose work enabled NASA and John Glenn to orbit the earth and return safely.

“When I visited the set, I could sense the energy…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,” added Williams.

While the film industry in Virginia is still growing, it does have some notable history as of late.

In 2016, Virginia’s production industry had a total economic impact of $696.8 million, provided 4,287 high-paying, full-time equivalent jobs to Virginians and contributed $27.1 million in state tax revenue.

Virginia lawmakers introduced a film tax credit in 2011. Every $1 Virginia has invested in content incentives has returned $11 to Virginia’s economy, enhancing added-value deliverables on tourism.