Miami to hold first film trade show as hemispheric hub
By Paola Iuspa
Miami will play host to its first film trade show this summer, an effort the city hopes will position it as a hub for Latin American and Caribbean films, event promoters said.
The Florida Film Market will take place Sept. 3-5 at the Coconut Grove Convention Center, said Rosemary Albo, CEO of the Florida Film Market, a for-profit group.
"Using our South Florida location," she said, "we can bring top US domestic and some of the world's 130 theatrical film market distribution companies, film buyers and agents, and international venture capital financiers."
She said organizers plan to make the event annual and the place to go for anyone in the industry to sell or buy rights for cinema, TV and video productions from the Americas.
Ms. Albo said the film industry in the states was changing, becoming more interested in international product it is Miami's chance to use its strategic location and its South Hemispheric contacts.
Although there are many film trade shows in the states and Europe, she said, each one tends to have a different purpose.
"Ours is to trade with films from Latin America," said Ms. Albo, who works as an executive producer and producer of commercials. She said she holds a degree in video-film technology from Career Institutes of America and a degree in film technology from Miami-Dade Community College, among others.
Jeff Peel, film and entertainment director in the Miami-Dade Mayor's Office of Film & Entertainment, said the success of the market would lie on bringing companies willing to finance works from local filmmakers.
Miami Commissioner Joe Sanchez praised Ms. Albo's initiative and said it would give the city a chance to start cashing in on an industry hardly exploited.
"This is one of the many industries we have to tap into," he told other commissioners at a meeting where Ms. Albo introduced her plan. "It would help to change the perception that our state is not film-friendly."
Ms. Albo said to get permits for location shoots, filmmakers have to go to different municipalities, wasting time and creating confusion.
In February, the county started servicing film companies via Internet, Mr. Peel said. FilMiami.org, he said, was designed to offer information on incentives, weather conditions, images of some locations and links to local production guides. The website, he said, also offers "virtual on-stop-permitting" for production companies around the world.
"They may apply for permits in 25 municipalities throughout the county and check the status," he said.
Mr. Albo said permitting and the kind of information found on the Miami website should be statewide for ease and uniformity.
"We need to have better communication between counties," she said. "The state needs to come up with some sort of a system where a company could get permits for different locations in Florida in just one office."
The trade show, she said, would also try to attract filmmakers to acquaint them with local scenery and geography.
Miami City Commissioner Tom s Regalado said bringing production companies to town would mean more business for the locals.
"I don't think the city makes any money on permits. But film producers easily spend $100,000 to $200,000 a day for expenses such as food and hotel rooms.
Mr. Peel said about 10 companies come to the county to shoot movies every year, adding about $250 million to the local economy.
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