Florida Seeks to Revive its Declining Film Industry

Film advocates are looking to make change in Florida and bring back an incentive program intended to bring big budget movies (and jobs) back to Florida. Critics of the incentive program are vehemently against any new tax breaks, labeling any incentive as more of a needless handout for Hollywood. 

The previous tax credit program for film incentives in Florida ended over three years ago. Sadly, the incentive ended prematurely even though nearly $300 million were slated to be disbursed over the course of six years. “What happened was everybody rushed to Florida and they used all the money in the first two years,” stated Kelly Paige, past president and current board member of Fim Florida, responsible for representing the Florida film industry. 

The non-profit organization has been campaigning for a new incentive program in order to lure more prestigious film and television business to the state. In the past, Florida has served as the setting for quite a few films, including Dolphin Tale, shot in Clearwater, and the Punisher, which used downtown Tampa as its setting. 

Florida’s Film Legacy

Florida has a lengthy film legacy stemming back to the 1950s when Creature from the Black Lagoon was filmed at Wakulla Springs. Other famed productions made in Florida include the Miami Vice television show from the 1980s, and the Netflix Exclusive, Bloodline, shot partially in the Florida Keys. 

Even director Tim Burton has a penchant for shooting his films in Florida, including his classic Edward Scissorhands, which he filmed in the Tampa Bay area. “It’s a good place to shoot. There’s so many different vibes and scenarios and different looks,” Burton said to the St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commission with regards to filming in the Tampa Bay area. 

In the meantime, should Florida remain as one of the only other 18 states that do not offer film incentives, the state will continue to lose film industry business to other states. Georgia to the North has pretty much usurped all that used to be Florida’s film industry thanks to its very generous film tax breaks. In fact, Georgia is often referred to as the “Hollywood of the South.” 

Photo Source: Netflix