'CSI' crew, Showtime film scouts find South Florida a stage
By Suzy Valentine
Crime pays in the entertainment industry.
That's what the Miami-Dade County Mayor's Office of Film and Entertainment is finding as two projects this month in addition to
"Miami Vice" are using or evaluating locations for police dramas.
As shooting of the film version of the 1980s TV series continues, the crew for "CSI: Miami" is winding up a shoot this week in Miami. Also, a team from Showtime visited last week to find locations for a drama titled "Dexter," based on a series of Jeff Lindsay books.
Mr. Lindsay's "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" and "Dearly Devoted Dexter" feature Dexter Gordon, a forensics expert-turned-serial killer.
Last month, a spokesman for "Miami Vice" said the Michael Mann production could bring as much as $30 million to the county's economy during its 13-week shoot. The "CSI: Miami" shoot, which is to last for about 10 days, could add $1.5 million, said film office director Jeff Peel.
"When the 'CSI: Miami' team comes to town, they drop $1 million to $1.5 million into the economy," Mr. Peel said. "It depends upon how many days the crew is in town. The contribution this time should be at the higher end."
It is too early to comment on the "Dexter" project, Mr. Peel said. A pilot is to be shot before the series is considered for airing.
"I don't know how many episodes they anticipate," said Mr. Peel, "but scouts are looking to create a different look from 'CSI: Miami,' so there will be less Miami Beach. There is no sense in re-creating that or the look of upcoming series 'South Beach.' "
Shooting of "South Beach," a 13-episode Paramount Network Television drama starring Vanessa Williams, is to start late next month, Mr. Peel said. A large part of more than $30 million the series generates is expected to stay in the county.
Filming for the latest in Italian comedy movie series "Vacanza," which like the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby "Road to" series features two comics in different locations, is to start in late September. Mr. Peel said it's expected to bring "a few million" to the economy as well as showcase the county as a vacation venue to Italians.
A spokeswoman for Italy's Giffoni Film Festival, which provided $40,000 in film stock to the NextGen International Children's Festival, explained the allure of the project.
"The films are released generally during the Christmas holidays in Italy," said Antonia Grimaldi. "Every year, the 'Vacanza' film is a blockbuster in this country."
Though the films have had various directors, they generally feature the same comedians, Massimo Boldi and Christian De Sica, son of director Vittorio De Sica, who won an Oscar in the late 1940s for "The Bicycle Thieves."
"The result for the city or the country in which the film is shot," said Ms. Grimaldi, "is that many Italians want to visit after the film. In fact, in the film, it is the locale with its beaches, restaurants and hotels that is the third character."