Florida – Popular Film Destination
Everyone knows that Florida is a popular vacation destination, but who knew that it was also a popular film destination?! With the recent news of the new mob themed romantic-comedy being shot in the Orlando area (Numba One, starting in February 2012), and Armand Assante’s latest project to be filmed in Sarasota, I started thinking about how many films there are in which Florida is featured. It would seem that Florida is a great film location simply because of its world-class beaches, historical references and year-round sunshine. There are a great many other incentives, however, that make it beneficial to film in our great state. Financial, technological, and creative incentives are abundant, as Florida is home to many state-of-the-art sound stages, the third-largest talent pool and the third-largest crew base in the United States.
There are four major production centers in Florida, all with their own unique landscape –– Miami/South Florida, Orlando/Central Florida, Tampa/St. Petersburg and Jacksonville/North Florida. The South Florida region is famous for large projects like the ‘Bad Boys’ movies or ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’. The Central Florida area has most recently been featured in Adam Sandler’s ‘The Waterboy’. Although MGM (Disney) and Universal Studios’ presence in the 1990’s attracted many filmmakers to the area, historically, Florida had already had a significant presence in the film industry. Films such as ‘Twelve O’Clock High’ (1944), ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ (1954) and ‘Where the Boys Are ‘ (1960) were filmed here. Additionally, according to a representative from the Florida Governor’s Office of Film and Entertainment, Florida was one of the first states to establish a state film office. It was also the first state to open an office in Los Angeles in order to better serve production clients on the West Coast. There are also approximately 50 local film offices throughout the state working together in the pursuit of projects and the offering of services to visiting production companies.
In addition to marketing Florida’s natural resources, the Governor’s Office of Film and Entertainment also offers monetary incentives (awards, grants, etc) for a variety of projects. For instance, according to the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission, Palm Beach has developed a network that allows their office to offer industry professionals a one-stop permitting at no cost. Palm Beach’s film office is also full-service and representatives will make themselves available to coordinate scouts as well as assist with numerous other aspects of film production. Supplemental to any additional state awards, local grants and services like this allow producers to more easily manage production costs, making Florida a pretty attractive destination!
Elsewhere in the state, complete studio and production services are also available. This includes backlots that can double for just about any national or international locale, as well as office space and soundstages totaling more than 160,000 square feet. In Metro Orlando, filmmakers have access to more than 10 state-of-the-art soundstages, making it one of the largest working production facility centers outside of Los Angeles and New York. Further south (Palm Springs) is home to G-Star Studios, the newest and most advanced soundstage in the world and the largest in the State of Florida. Couple that with our resident award-winning school for entertainment media, Full Sail University, and it’s no wonder Florida continues to be one of the most sought after destinations for motion picture and television production.
So maybe you’re in the industry, maybe you’re just a film buff, the next time you see a movie, commercial or even a video, look closer. It could be your highway, your town, your neighbor!