ST. PETERSBURG ― Made-for-television movies filming in the Tampa Bay area are becoming nearly as common as seeing alligators or drunken pirates.
The latest, Spring Break Nightmare, has been shooting in St. Petersburg since Feb. 1 and wraps on Feb. 25.
The unit production manager, Travis Pilat of the Night Vox production company, said the film will likely premiere on Lifetime later this year.
This marks the fifth made-for-television movie shot locally since October, with the previous four being helmed by Dolphin Tale producer David Yates and slated to premiere on either Hallmark, Lifetime or ION.
And, prior to those, three Hallmark movies had been shot in the area since 2019.
St. Petersburg-Clearwater film commissioner Tony Armer said the production reached out to him a few months ago. “They heard about our weather, great crew and incentive program and I told them to come on over.”
Pinellas County’s incentive program provides a production up to 10 percent back on what they spend locally. The program has a $1 million annual budget.
Pilat said the movie is a thriller about a girl who is kidnapped and held for ransom while on spring break. “The mother is the hero, and she has to find and rescue the daughter.”
On Tuesday, production brought Spring Break Nightmare to Creel Motors on 66th Street N in St. Petersburg for a scene in which the mother visits “a rental car company to look for a trace of her missing daughter,” Pilat said.
The production is staffed with local cast and crew.
“We’re providing jobs for people,” Armer said. “This is the latest movie to come here and it won’t be the last. We’re enjoying a lot of activity right now.”
Production is just about wrapped on The Beast Comes at Midnight. Shot in Gibsonton, it follows a teenage podcaster who believes unsolved murders are the work of a werewolf. This is the first of a series of movies based on Gibsonton’s real-life history as a residential hub for sideshow workers.
And Yates said his next film, The Plus One, about a man who brings an ex-girlfriend to his best friend’s wedding, begins shooting in March. Then they begin production on a family movie called Lab Kids.
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Theatrical release will be sought for those three movies.