The Florida film industry was extremely disappointed with the reelection of Governor Rick Scott. Last summer, he defunded the Florida Film incentives program, despite a recent study by the Motion Picture Association of America which concluded that the program supported 87,870 jobs, $2.3 billion in wages, and $7.2 billion in economic spending across the state.
Even so, Miami is pushing full-throttle to revive the film industry in South Florida. Just over a month ago, the city broke ground on a new 70,000 square ft film studio. It will be the centerpiece of a planned revitalization of the newly named “Media and Entertainment District” in the up-and-coming art and museum 14th Street near the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center. The space will include two sound stages, an onsite editing suite and prop house, and will be operated by EUE Screen Gems, a national production company that operates similar sites in New York, Georgia and North Carolina.
And that’s not the only game in town. A huge project in Miami Gardens, The Miami Oceans Studios has passed approval and been granted $10M in tax funds to build a massive production complex. The 900,000-square-foot facility would include 10 sound stages, four water-tank stages, production offices, post-production resources and a hotel.
That’s good news for series production in Miami, which currently have to shoot here, then head back to LA for post production. It may be that Miami’s production boom is not far off at all- right now HBO’s Ballers, starring Dwayne Johnson is shooting right down the beach from the pilot for the new Bruckheimer/ Bay project – an adaptation of Billy Corben’s Cocaine Cowboys greenlit by TNT. A Netflix original called Bloodline just wrapped in the keys with Kyle Chandler and Ben Mendelsohn and ‘The Trap’, a feature film starring Janie Foxx, Benicio Del Toro and Jonah Hill, begins shooting soon. There are also rumblings that Universal Studios has a call out for writers for a reboot of the 80’s cult classic Miami Vice.
Back to Rick Scott- the state incentives program will have a huge impact on whether or not all of this succeeds. Georgia is currently the top production state due to their generous tax incentives, surpassing California. Film Florida, a nonprofit association representing the film, TV, digital media and games industry, wants some of that back. This fall, they will once again pitch an incentives plan to state leaders that would allocate $50 million in annual tax credits for entertainment projects during the next four to six years. It’s definitely an issue, and a state to watch.