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Steinbrenner grandson to produce two films and a web series in Hillsborough

Robert Molloy, the grandson of George Steinbrenner, will be the executive producer for two movies and one television series in Hillsborough County next year. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
Published Dec. 5, 2018

The Steinbrenner family has brought seven World Series rings to New York.

But can they bring an Oscar to Hillsborough County?

The Hillsborough County Commission on Thursday approved to give as much as $540,000 in incentive money to two films and a web series to be shot locally in 2019 by Tampa-based Pinstripe Productions, which is helmed by the late-George Steinbrenner's grandson and Tampa native Robert Molloy.

The movies titled Riff Raff and I Saw a Man With Yellow Eyes were approved for a maximum of $300,000 and $200,000 respectively, and the web series Southern Gothic Horror Series can receive up to $40,000. These productions will spend at least $5.4 million total in Hillsborough, according to agreements signed between the production company and county.

READ MORE: 'Little Mermaid' film made by the Steinbrenner family premieres this month

Under the county's production incentive program, approved projects receive up to 10 percent back on local expenditures after an audit of receipts.

"We will be creating a sustainable infrastructure of jobs for Floridians, from local industry professionals that can work in their own state, to the hotels, the food industry and local businesses," said Kristian Krempel, a partner with Pinstripe Productions. "It will allow us to put Florida back on the world stage as a destination both for the Entertainment Industry and Tourism"

According to Pinstripe's agreements with the county, the three productions will bring 320 jobs to Hillsborough and account for 1,405 hotel night booked throughout 40 total shooting days during 2019.

"The Steinbrenners are not only confident in the local film market but willing to invest in the local film market," said Hillsborough County film commissioner Tyler Martinolich. "This is huge."

According to the county agreements, I Saw a Man with Yellow Eyes is about a teenage girl with schizophrenia and terrifying hallucinations who suspects her neighbor has a kidnapped child.

Riff Raff will follow a retired hitman whose old secrets resurface while he is on summer vacation.

And Southern Gothic is a nine-part horror anthology with a southern twist.

Because the county's production incentive pot is capped at $500,000 a year, at least $40,000 of the approved cash cannot be doled out until 2020, film commissioner Martinolich said.

During Wednesday's meeting, the County Commission also approved a $7,000 incentive for the movie Skyman about a man who believes aliens that abducted him as a child are summoning him for a reunion, which he wants to document on film. Over two production days, $70,000 will be spent on 10 crew hires, 20 room nights and other expenses, according to an agreement between the filmmakers and the county.

READ MORE: The Zola Twitter saga went viral. The 'Zola' movie is being filmed in Tampa Bay.

Skyman is directed by Dan Myrick, who also made The Blair Witch Project, and is produced by Tampa's Joe Restaino and St. Petersburg's iHorror.com.

Restaino and iHorror.com will also have a role in the Pinstripe projects. Restaino is a partner at Pinstripe and iHorror.com is slated to be a producer on Southern Gothic.

READ MORE: Local producers team with 'Blair Witch' director for a three-project deal

Under his former company, Kingsway Productions, Pinstripe's Molloy released his first film theatrically in August.

Titled The Little Mermaid and starring William Moseley, Shirley MacLaine and Gina Gershon, it was a live action adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name about a young mermaid who gives up her life in the sea to earn a human soul.

It was made mostly in and around Savannah, Ga. for about $5 million.

Unlike neighboring Georgia, Florida does not offer a state tax incentive that can offer productions millions of dollars back. That's why movies like Live By Night, which takes place in Ybor City, and Gifted, set in St. Petersburg, recreated those locales in Georgia.

READ MORE: Fake Ybor City stars in Ben Affleck's new film

The county has lured television shows, movies and commercials to the area here with its own program, which provides incentives for productions that spend at least $100,000 in Hillsborough.

READ MORE: Hillsborough's film incentive has attracted $1.17 million in local spending, audits show

Three productions have qualified for the incentive since its 2015 inception — a film, a television series and a commercial. According to county audits, the production companies spent a total of around $1.17 million in Hillsborough while collecting $117,661 in county cash.

Contact Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com or follow @PGuzzoTimes.

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