Financing movie and TV productions in the Sunshine State got a bit easier this month, with the newly passed Florida Film Incentive program going into effect. The program offers $53.5 million in tax credits for productions that film in the state, using local talent, over the next fiscal year.
Only 52 productions that applied have been certified to receive the assistance. One of them is St. Petersburg producer Tony Armer, whose sci-fi comedy Mad Science U now has the boost it needs to begin filming as early as October.
"If it wasn't for the new film incentive program, we were planning on shooting this film somewhere else," Armer said in a news release. "We've been working on this project for over four years now, so we're very excited to not only be shooting the film but doing so right here in our back yard."
Mad Science U is written by Tampa Bay screenwriter Brad Sibbersen and financed by local, private investors.
The tax incentive program has existed before but was slashed a few years ago to nearly one-tenth of the current amount. Most of that money was eaten up by USA Network's Burn Notice, filmed in Miami.
Tax credits are an attractive cost-cutting device for movie and TV productions, and a key reason why Louisiana, North Carolina and other states with generous programs get more attention from producers seeking locales. More available money will attract more productions to Florida, and create jobs since only money spent here, or on a Florida work force, is eligible for the tax breaks.
Over the next year, the Florida Film Incentive program is projected to generate $426.9 million in expenditures by companies filming in Florida, with an estimated 26,532 temporary jobs created.
Steve Persall can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at blogs.tampabay.com/movies.