Tampa Bay film incentives bring another movie to the area

‘The Throwback’ is about a mother who wakes up believing it is 25 years ago and she is still a college party girl.
Director of Photography Patrick Hubbard, left, prepares his shot for the movie 'What Lies Behind the Wall.'
Director of Photography Patrick Hubbard, left, prepares his shot for the movie 'What Lies Behind the Wall.' [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Dec. 21, 2021

TAMPA — The producers behind The Throwback wanted their movie to be made in Tampa Bay, where they met more than two decades ago.

“We both love the area because it is so beautiful and has not been over-utilized in film,” said producer Michael Alfieri.

Still, their application for a Hillsborough County incentive makes it clear why they ultimately chose this area.

“Our investors wanted us to film in counties that offered incentives,” it reads.

Said Alfieri, “Incentives matter.”

The Hillsborough County Commission approved their application earlier this month.

The producers hope to have cameras rolling in March.

They are eligible to receive up to 10 percent back on what they spend in Hillsborough.

Their application estimates that will be around $1.1 million over 15 days.

Earlier in the month, another production company, helmed by former Clearwater Aquarium CEO David Yates, announced local film incentives are why they are shooting a slate of 10 movies in Tampa Bay.

The Throwback is a romantic family comedy about a “married couple having a midlife crisis,” writer, director and producer Mario Garcia said. “The underappreciated super mom suffers a breakdown and wakes up believing she is still a college party girl. She thinks it is 25 years ago.”

That’s around when the filmmakers met at the University of South Florida.

Garcia, a Tampa native and resident, graduated in 1992.

Alfieri, a native of Hollywood, Fla., now living in Hollywood, Calif., graduated in 1994.

Aspiring filmmakers at the time, the friends promised to one day make a movie together.

“It took us a little longer than we hoped, but here we are,” Garcia said.

This movie not only brings them back to where “it all started,” Alfieri said, “but also allows us to bring some money into the local economy.”

Their incentive application estimates they will spend the $1.1 million in Hillsborough on 42 hotel room nights, by hiring 53 county residents for the crew, and by casting locals as two supporting actors, 16 day players and 200 extras.

They also plan on shooting five days in Pinellas County, which has its own incentive offering up to 10 percent back on local expenditures.

Tony Armer, the Pinellas film commissioner, said he has spoken with the production but “it hasn’t progressed beyond that yet.”