Advertisement
  1. Hillsborough

A piece of the proposed Rays stadium site in Ybor will become a film studio

OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times The Blair Witch Project director Dan Myrick, left, and Kristian Krempel on 7th Avenue in Tampa’s Ybor City.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times The Blair Witch Project director Dan Myrick, left, and Kristian Krempel on 7th Avenue in Tampa’s Ybor City.
Published Jun. 21, 2019

YBOR CITY — The way movie producer Kristian Krempel sees it, Ybor City didn't lose out on an opportunity to become the home of the Tampa Bay Rays when the stadium deal fell through in December.

Rather, he said, Ybor gained an opportunity to be to independent film what Seattle was to the underground music scene that spawned the grunge era.

And he is willing to lead the charge.

"We are going to create an infrastructure here," Krempel said. "Ybor will be a place where movies get made."

His partner on the venture is fittingly a Seattle resident, Dan Myrick, best known as director of The Blair Witch Project.

Along with Charles Broadhurst, they are converting a 17,000-square-foot warehouse on the corner of Fourth Avenue and 15th Street in Ybor into a production studio with a sound stage.

Their company doesn't have a name yet, but Krempel quipped one idea — "Third Base Productions."

The reason: Their studio is located on a piece of the land that was included in the site for the proposed baseball stadium, in the centerfield section of the plans.

Myrick and Krempel already plan on shooting a web series and three films out of it. Although Broadhurst is a partner in the studio, he isn't involved in their projects.

The sound stage will be available to other filmmakers.

"We will be in constant development," Myrick said. "We are not here to shoot one film and leave. We want the cameras to constantly be rolling."

Cameras have already been consistently shooting high profile independent films in the Tampa Bay area as of late. That includes two Hallmark movies, a film starring Katherine Heigl, and another produced by Tosca Musk, sister of billionaire technology entrepreneur Elon Musk

"The industry is exploding in Hillsborough County," Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan said. "But there has been one missing ingredient that we needed to take film to the next level."

That piece, Hagan said, is a studio run by a big name in the film industry.

"We are very excited Dan selected Ybor," Hagan said, "When you have an opportunity to work with one of the most successful independent filmmakers of all time that is pretty special."

Still, Hagan couldn't help but to note the ironic location of the studio. Hagan was the most outspoken elected official in favor of bringing baseball to Tampa.

But Hagan also championed the county program that provides a production 10 percent back on what is spent in Hillsborough. That incentive is credited with helping to bring the rash of independent films here.

"If baseball comes, great," Hagan said. If it doesn't, film "is an additional economic tool that will help take Ybor to the next level."

Ybor will be busy in the coming years as it hosts Myrick and Krempel's productions, three of which will feature the Latin District.

"What I look for in a place is character and history," Myrick said. "Ybor is a place that has that history, it has its own vibe, and it hasn't been overshot and exploited."

The web series The Black Veil will begin pre-production this summer and cameras will start rolling in the early fall. Each of the six 15-minute episodes will be standalone fictional stories based on Ybor history.

RELATED: Blair Witch Project director will turn Ybor City into a horror hotbed

It was initially reported that the series would be called Lost Ybor, but the title Lost In Ybor actually belongs to their second project they hope to start shooting next year.

Lost In Ybor, Myrick said, will be a full length horror film about a daughter's search for her father who went missing in the Latin District.

Myrick is shopping for a third script, developing a fourth that will tell the tale of Ybor's mafia war in the early 1900s. Any of the six web series episodes, he said, might later be expanded into a feature film.

"Ybor's history is so amazing. We can mine stories from it for years," Myrick said. "And Ybor is the coolest place in Florida. It is it's own back lot." The Castle goth club is among Myrick's favorites.

"The Cuban Club, the Italian Club, the Centro Asturiano," Myrick's partner Krempel said, citing the district's grandiose social clubs erected over a century ago.

Still, "Tampa bay has an almost unlimited amount of looks and unique locations, but at some point we hit saturation point by not having brick and mortar facilities to help retain larger projects," Hillsborough film commissioner Tyler Martinolich said.

This "investment into a suitably-sized facility in Ybor has the potential to push an already amazing increasing in production activity to new heights."

Krempel and Myrick will primarily use locals for cast and crew and are already hearing from industry friends interested in relocating to the area.

"When people aren't working, they want to be somewhere cool to go hang out," Myrick said. "Ybor is it. When they are done shooting, they can walk for a cigar and beer."

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

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Boats move into Seddon Channel on Saturday morning ahead of the invasion by the pirate ship Jose Gasparilla. [DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Times]
    We were warned. Now the pirates are here. Stay with tampabay.com all day for the latest reports.
  2. A for sale sign is seen in front of a home in the Westchase area of Tampa. CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2013)
    And a spike in cash sales suggests investors were active in the market.
  3. Leading the way up Seddon Channel during the 2014 pirate invasion is the Jose Gasparilla, escorted by a Tampa Police Department boat and surrounded by hundreds of private vessels. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times 2014]
    As many as 100 law enforcement boats from some 20 agencies will keep an eye out for drunk operators and boats in trouble.
  4. Hillsborough deputies say Lesly Mendoza, 5, is missing and endangered because of allegations of abuse. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
    Investigators believe Lesly Mendoza, 5, is endangered because of allegations of abuse.
  5. A look at the construction on the Tierra Verde bridge project which is the bridge between Isla Del Sol and Tierra Verde islands on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 in St. Petersburg. The project began in December 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in summer of 2021. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Dr. Delay takes a deep dive into the construction process for the $56.3 million State Road 679 and Bayway Bridge project .
  6. A proposed bill in the Legislature would set a statewide referendum on whether to amend Florida's constitution to add a year to the period when home buyers can transfer their accumulated benefits under the Save Our Homes cap on property assessments to a new home. Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty says going from two years to three would reduce the possibility that construction delays in a booming real estate market would prevent some buyers from meeting the deadline, costing them potentially thousands 
 of dollars in property tax savings. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times (2019)]
    The bill, the idea of Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, would give buyers another year to transfer their tax savings under Florida’s Save Our Homes assessment cap to a home they’ve...
  7. Child and family advocate Jack Levine. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    The founder of 4Generations Institute discusses his commitment to children and families.
  8. Miranda Harwood, a fourth-grade math teacher at Brooker Elementary School, is the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year. [Hillsborough County Public Schools]
    The self-described “data queen” uses humor to keep her students engaged.
  9. This poster was seen January 21 inside a Brandon pet shop owned by All About Puppies, one of two pet retail businesses in Hillsborough County that were granted an exception from county laws prohibiting commercial pet stores from selling animals that came from breeders. [ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Times]
    The proposed ordinance would ban all commercial pet retailers and impose strict regulations on breeders operating within the county.
  10. Concentrix has told the state of Florida that it plans to lay off as many as 174 employees from one of the programs it has at the Interstate Corporate Center east of Tampa. This is the same call center hit with 245 layoffs announced in November. (Google street view photo) [Google Street View]
    In November, Concentrix, the California multinational company that runs the center, announced the layoffs of 245 employees.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement