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Aficionado’s  Guide to ... BIG SCREEN

No Pay, No Play Productions head for greener pastures as Florida’s film and TV incentives dry up BY JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER

PHOTO: Courtesy HBO

The next time you see Florida on film, consider this: Those scenes of palm trees and sandy beaches might not have been shot in the Sunshine State. South Florida could be a sound stage in Maryland; Ybor City and Daytona Beach might really be Georgia; and the shores of California might just be a fine substitute for Florida’s sunny beaches. Once a top destination for the television and film industry, Florida has been losing projects for years. The reason? Experts say lawmakers’ refusal to extend an incentive program means the industry is taking its business elsewhere. “Florida is the only state in the Southeast that doesn’t offer a program,” said John Lux, the executive director of Film Florida. “When Florida is the only state in the region, and one of only 15 states without a program, it’s a tough sell to companies, projects, and industry workers that Florida values this industry.” The state’s Entertainment Industry Financial Program sunset June 30, after the Legislature failed to extend it or create a new one. It put an end to a years-long battle to save something proponents said had “a proven track record of creating jobs and bringing new money to local economies.” The state first began offering an incentive program in 2004. What started as a rebate later morphed into a tax credit, giving qualified projects credits once the project was completed. Projects needed to submit paperwork and financial statements and undergo two audits. That incentive helped to lure several projects

WINTER 2016 INFLUENCE | 39

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INFLUENCE Florida Winter 2016  

The people, professionals and lifestyle of Florida politics

INFLUENCE Florida Winter 2016  

The people, professionals and lifestyle of Florida politics