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How Florida Destroyed Their Film Industry

Florida legislature decides to eliminate their film tax credits

Florida used to be the #3 as a filmmaking destination, providing valuable film, TV and digital media jobs. Florida has enjoyed several major motion pictures filming in Florida including Burn Notice, The Glades, Magic City, Bloodline andBallers and films like Fast N’ Furious, Dolphin Tale & Dolphin Tale 2, Rock of Ages and others. But, Florida representatives have pulled the plug on their film industry. The House and Senate Appropriations Chairs decided NOT to fund any economic development incentives. This is the fourth straight year that members of Florida's legislature have refused to support their film industry. “The legislature’s ultimate decision to officially abandon our film, television and digital media professionals has our entire industry and supporters outraged. This is not the message our state wants to send to its longtime industry workers, and the rest of the world after building a reputation for over 100 successful years in this business,” stated Michelle Hillery, Film Florida’s President. “Six years ago, our industry was asked to help revitalize Florida’s economy, and it exceeded expectations. Since then, we have spent several years educating legislators, offering solutions to new programs with a focus on providing the best possible return on investment to the state. The industry should not be ignored; they are highly trained professionals who deserve to be supported by their elected representatives in their efforts to build serious entertainment infrastructure here. Moreover, the industry is not asking for excessive support; but sought a reformed conservative program that would restore Florida back on the path of regaining recognition as a global hub for film, television and digital media production. “The state legislature sent a very clear signal that they are not interested in continuing to improve the economic growth the state has seen and that is unfortunate,” stated John Lux, Chief Operating Officer of IDEAS, an Orlando-based media and experience design company. “And to see what happened on the Senate floor, where we clearly had a majority of Senators in favor of the amendment filed by Senator Detert, but to be denied a formal vote, that says a lot about how our legislature feels about hundreds of thousands of individuals that work in the industry. Politics was put before people.” According to a report by Film Florida, Florida has lost out on more than $650 million in projects, and $1.8 billion in economic impact. “Over 5,000 film and digital media students graduate every year and our state continues to tell those students to take their skills and training to work in other states,” commented Paul Sirmons, former State Film Commissioner. “The foolish thing is, many of these students are subsidized by our Bright Futures program – so the taxpayers of Florida are actually paying to educate another state’s workforce,” he added. “They need jobs here in Florida when they graduate.” The legislature has made sure that trained crew workers, actors, and other people associated with the film industry will have to travel to other states like Louisiana and Georgia in order to find a job.

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