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Why Miami's Film Industry May Be Making a Comeback

Miami’s film industry may be making a comeback.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, South Florida county and city officials say they are doing what they can to entice productions and contain the losses after the local government cut back on their film tax incentives.

For example, Miami-Dade County has launched an incentives program for film and entertainment productions. Among the criteria, productions must spend at least $1 million in the county for payroll, hire at least 50 Miami-Dade residents as main cast and crew members, and make sure at least 70% of the production is filmed in the county. The rebate for the productions that qualify is $100,000.

As a result, Dwayne Johnson’s Baywatch filmed in Miami and now Matthew McConaughey’s new movie The Beach Bum is filming throughout South Florida.

“This incentive is not meant to replace what the state had, it’s meant to stem the bleeding of what we had here,” said Sandy Lighterman, director of the Office of Film and Entertainment in Miami-Dade County.

Between 2010 and 2013, productions spent about $350 million to $450 million a year in Miami-Dade before dropping to about $150 million as TV shows such as USA’s “Graceland” left in 2015, Lighterman said.

“And that was when the real dip happened,” she said. “Each one that ended, we lost and [had> nothing to replace them.”

“We are in the middle of a crusade to bring the film and production industry back to Miami Beach and have really made some very significant strides in terms of amending our guidelines,” said Eva Silverstein, director of Tourism, Culture & Economic Development for Miami Beach.

Lighterman also explained that North Miami approved a program that would reimburse 30% of costs for productions shot in the city’s redevelopment area with Doral looking to start their own rebate program in 2018.

“People want to shoot where they have a good experience, and I think that most productions that come here have a good experience,’’ she said. “You have to get them here first.”

Meanwhile, Broward and Palm Beach counties are pushing their own film tax credits. The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB Underground’s film, music, fashion & create division has had a cash-based rebate program in place for five years for film, TV and print productions that shoot in the county, said vice president Noelle Stevenson.

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