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Front Page » Top Stories » Film Florida pushes funding for productions

Film Florida pushes funding for productions

Written by on August 23, 2016
Film Florida pushes funding for productions

Stung by the Florida Legislature’s refusal for four consecutive years to revive a moribund tax rebate program, the Film Florida entertainment production association, an industry advocacy group, is considering its strategy for the 2017 session.

After the November elections, as many as 40 new legislators may be in Tallahassee, said Kelly Paige, newly elected Film Florida president and owner of the Level Talent Group in Tampa, at the group’s quarterly board meeting Friday.

“It’s going to be a big education year, with a lot of new people coming in,” she said.

“It will be a new challenge, with new leadership in Tallahassee,” agreed board member Todd Roobin, who is Jacksonville’s film commissioner. The group might want to “adjust our ask,” he said.

In 2010, a Jobs for Florida bill designated $242 million over five years for tax credits for film studios and other production companies. By March 2011, $227 million of the credits had been committed, with the majority going to so-called high impact television shows like “Magic City,” “The Glades” and “Burn Notice.”

The state’s film incentives come in the form of tax credits based on the scope of the production, number of local people hired, the season in which filming occurs and several other variables. The credits can be sold at the end of the term if the production doesn’t need the equivalent tax relief.

The Florida Legislature finally let the program end last month, which industry sources say is driving business to other states, particularly Georgia, North Carolina and Louisiana, which have aggressive and well-funded programs.

“The temperature of the water has changed since Governors Bush and Crist were up there, but we did go all the way to the Senate last year,” Ms. Paige said. “Those that get it, get it.”

But, said John Lux, the organization’s newly hired executive director, “We don’t know how the new legislators feel about our industry.”

Film Florida will continue to retain a lobbying firm and to work with legislators who are pro-film industry, members said. They include Sen. Jack Latvala, who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development.

“We have to maintain a presence in Tallahassee, continue to be at the table,” said board member Judson C. French Jr., who is director of research and innovation initiatives at the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts.

“We have to remain relevant,” Mr. Roobin said, “and on the local level, we have to have optics in Tallahassee.”

8 Responses to Film Florida pushes funding for productions

  1. DC Copeland

    August 24, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Film Florida should forget about Tallahassee and seek to become its own self-funder. The biz needs to be stabilized. Producers need to know they can always count on tax incentive funding when they come to MIAMI & THE BEACHES– fagedabou the rest of the state. Maybe one element of a sustainable filmmaking kitty might include revenue sources based on product placement– which will go a long way if the movie or TV show becomes a hit. For instance, “Burn Notice” would have had ex-spy-on-the-run Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) applying Coppertone to his skin in every show. Or the Kyle Chandler character in the current “Bloodline” enjoying his go-to-Cuba-Libre with Bacardi.

    • JEV

      August 24, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Right On! LUX and Film Florida think that their GOP Neo con buddies woll finally see the light and ee get our 300 million Incentive Bill back. Film florida spends all our dues on Lawyers, Lobbyists and trips to Tally and countless arguments in front of Hollywood haters. The only hope is Localized Indigenous self funded projects far and away from Extremists GOP Politics. @JEV1A

  2. JEV

    August 24, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Lux and film florida are fighting neo cons GOP Majority legislator that calls Incentives for Florida Movie Biz Corporate Welfare! They are so out of touch of reality of the potential clean billion dollar industry right in front of their faces, its pitiful. As long as con artist Gov Scott is around.. no money for anything Arts Related will happen. LOCAL INCENTIVES is the only hope.

  3. Michael Highfill

    August 25, 2016 at 7:55 am

    THIS Brings in Millions and Millions in Tax revenue from hiring local Florida talent and meals, gas, hotels and so on. Why in the world Stupido, Scott and his moron lackey’s can’t figure this out is purely because they don’t like money or they don’t like the people who are bringing in the money. Vote OUT Rick Scott and ANYONE WHO IS TOO STUPID TO SEE HOW MUCH MONEY THESE MORONS ARE COSTING OUR BEAUTIFUL STATE.

    • JE Vizzusi

      August 25, 2016 at 10:38 am

      RIGHT ON.. Conservative Film Florida will never convince Scott and his hedgefund croonies to accept the left and Hollywood. This is not about Jobs, creating Industry etc., its a personal attack by the extremist GOP Florida House and Senate that will never consider anything that is Arts related. Correct: They don’t like the people who are bringing in the money! We need to group together every legit Indie in the State and start a Localized self funded Incentive to help each other because taking the Political Road especially teaming a Film Incentive with the Tourism Incentive ain’t never going to work. Scott wants Movie Production to leave altogether. None of us considered this when we all voted this Neocon for a 2nd term. Now we are stuck! Loss of revenue for our biz, Scott doesn’t care.

  4. Jose Cela

    August 25, 2016 at 11:41 am

    These incentives have been proven to have a positive return on investment. There are still tens of thousands of Floridians out of work. Film crews spend millions in food, lodging, logistics, rentals all of which pays our local taxes so we don’t have to.
    Louisiana has invested millions like this and now has a strong film industry producing works all the time.

  5. Natorya Nicole

    August 28, 2016 at 1:29 am

    I am a kids book author / screenwriter born / raised in FL. I plan on being able to film my teen / family drama TV movie in 2017 here in Florida… The ball has already started rolling. I have several unproduced scripts that I plan to film in FL with everyone associated being a resident of the Sunshine State.
    I am Extremely Interested in helping, being a part of making sure FL gets these tax credits!
    My Goal is to turn my scripts into films right here where I live 🙂

  6. George

    September 19, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Leave politics aside. The facts are that production company including my own are leaving florida to film in locations that can produce the same look at a lower cost. 25%-40% lower. Just like car manufacturers who are fleeing to Mexico for the cont savings producers and crews are already fleeing florida for Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana etc.. If we want to employ our citizens and build a clean profitable industry, government needs to support that. What are they up there for if not to help the citizens?

    I have a feature film that takes place in the Florida keys that i am producing rings now the budget is over a million dollars. If I shoot the film in Sea-Island Georgia or gulf coast Mississippi, I will get a rebate of 300,000 in my pocket after the shoot is complete. That is three hundred thousand reasons not to shot in florida.

    George Monteiro