Brevard looks to entice movie makers to Space Coast

Written by

Don Walker | FLORIDA TODAY

It’s the special effects, big stars or intriguing plot lines that draw crowds to local theaters. But it’s tax breaks and other incentives that draw filmmakers to the Space Coast and other parts of Florida.

The financial impact of the movie industry on the Sunshine State topped $130 million last year. How Brevard County and other areas of the state can capitalize even more on what that industry has to offer was the focus Monday during the kickoff of a two-day film industry networking event at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront. The event, which concludes today, is sponsored by the Space Coast Film Commission and Film Florida.

The primary objective from Monday’s gathering was a tax-credit lobbying effort. State lawmakers will be asked in January to raise the cap on credits available for filmmakers and to extend those credits, which are due to expire in 2015. Also in the works is an initiative to attract more television productions to Florida. Unlike motion pictures that can wrap up filming in a matter of weeks, TV programs such as “Burn Notice,” being filmed in Miami, have long-range economic benefits.

“That doesn’t mean we’re not still going after movies, but the best value is episodic television production,” said Jennifer Pennypacker, president of Film Florida, a nonprofit association. “The incentive is to create jobs, and television creates the best opportunity.”

Film commissioners statewide have

Bonnie King, Space Coast Film Commissioner, and Susan Simms, Los Angeles Liaison at Florida Governor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, attend Monday’s Film Florida meeting at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront. / CRAIG RUBADOUX/FLORIDA TODAY
 

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Here’s a look at the financial impact productions filmed in the Sunshine State had on the Florida economy last year:
2,737 production days
$131.6 million generated in Florida wages, products and services
16,066 jobs and $71 million in wages for Floridians
24,269 lodging/room nights for film-related workers, production crews, etc.
Source: Film Florida

 

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It’s the special effects, big stars or intriguing plot lines that draw crowds to local theaters. But it’s tax breaks and other incentives that draw filmmakers to the Space Coast and other parts of Florida.

The financial impact of the movie industry on the Sunshine State topped $130 million last year. How Brevard County and other areas of the state can capitalize even more on what that industry has to offer was the focus Monday during the kickoff of a two-day film industry networking event at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront. The event, which concludes today, is sponsored by the Space Coast Film Commission and Film Florida.

The primary objective from Monday’s gathering was a tax-credit lobbying effort. State lawmakers will be asked in January to raise the cap on credits available for filmmakers and to extend those credits, which are due to expire in 2015. Also in the works is an initiative to attract more television productions to Florida. Unlike motion pictures that can wrap up filming in a matter of weeks, TV programs such as “Burn Notice,” being filmed in Miami, have long-range economic benefits.

“That doesn’t mean we’re not still going after movies, but the best value is episodic television production,” said Jennifer Pennypacker, president of Film Florida, a nonprofit association. “The incentive is to create jobs, and television creates the best opportunity.”

Film commissioners statewide have embarked on a unified effort to market scene-stealing landscapes, picture-worthy amenities and the oceanic waves and climate of the Sunshine State to the film industry. So far, that effort is paying off, including in Brevard, where the Kennedy Space Center has served as the backdrop for big-budget space-related movies, while other parts of the county have hosted television and movie productions and film documentaries.

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” for instance, filmed here in October 2010, pumped an estimated $10 million to $12 million into the Brevard County economy, said Space Coast Film Commissioner Bonnie King. Those dollars were spent on hotel stays, for food ordered at area restaurants and in paychecks received by local labor used during filming.

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