Downtown Miamians Fire Up To Aid Burn Notice
By Catherine Lackner
To assist downtown business people — and support a local film industry that has proven to have a significant economic impact — Miami’s Downtown Development Authority says it will do whatever’s necessary to smooth the way when popular television show Burn Notice brings its cameras to the city’s core.
"Burn Notice will be doing a lot of filming downtown," said Alyce Robertson, authority executive director, "and we’re trying to bridge the gap and maintain a free flow of information. We’ll let people know where and when the filming will take place," in addition to solving logistics and paperwork problems with the production company.
Javier A. Betancourt, authority deputy director, will be the point person, she said.
Film producers and crews may need assistance because the City of Miami film office —victim to political infighting, budget problems and staff cuts — has been leaderless since Jan. 1. Film permits are being handled by the parks and recreation department.
Some of the work is also being shifted to the Miami-Dade Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment.
Each Burn Notice episode pumps nearly $2 million into the local economy, industry sources say, and employs about 125 Miami crew members.
And, Mr. Betancourt said, the show will soon be joined by two new series: The Glades (some of which is being filmed in Broward County), and a remake of Charlie’s Angels, set in Miami.
Downtown is also the setting of choice for many commercials, videos and still photography shoots, he said. All can create problems with parking, street closures and the like.
"The production train is already arriving," Gary Ressler, whose company manages the Alfred I. Dupont Building, said last month. Several production companies have contacted him about shooting in or near the building, he said, while others are trying to arrange permits.
"I’ve been touring five production companies a week for the past three weeks," he said. With many projects already underway and more in the wings, Mr. Ressler said, "They’re having a hard time figuring things out without a film coordinator."
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