Greetings Film Florida Members, Stakeholders and Friends,
As I begin my third year as President of Film Florida, I wanted to share how honored I am to continue to serve this organization and lead our efforts for Florida’s film, television, and digital media production industry. I am proud of what we accomplished, but more importantly I look forward to building on those accomplishments, tackling new challenges, and propelling the industry into the future.
Before talking more about the future, I want to reflect on the recent past. Last month, Film Florida held our Annual Meeting and Industry Summit in St. Petersburg. The Annual Meeting and Industry Summit were based out of the Hyatt Place Hotel in St. Pete. Special thanks to the entire St. Pete Clearwater Film Commission team for their efforts in putting on such a tremendous week. Thanks also to Film Florida member the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for hosting a tour and informational session to learn more about the mission of the Aquarium as well as Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. After our Annual Meeting, the St. Pete Clearwater Film Commission hosted the sold out Industry Summit, including networking and panel discussions about producing, marketing, distribution, casting, and more.
As an organization, we have numerous goals for the next year and we hope you will participate with us. Over the last year, we have added more than 125 new members to our organization. The last three years have been, by far, the largest increase in membership over a 3-year period in our organization’s history. That shows the commitment everyone has to growing and strengthening our industry. If you’re not a member of Film Florida, now is the time to join! As a not-for-profit, we are funded entirely by our members so our ability to work on behalf of the industry is completely dependent upon the support we receive through our membership efforts. As an industry, we are stronger working together so we hope you will CLICK HERE and consider joining the team.
We have developed some tremendous partnerships over the last couple of years with organizations such as VISIT FLORIDA, Florida TaxWatch, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), and the Florida Chamber of Commerce just to name a few. These partnerships continue to help strengthen our efforts to put Floridians back to work at home, generate new revenues for the state, and enhance tourism. We believe these are important steps toward growing and diversifying Florida’s economy.
In addition to the relationships we have forged, our best sales and marketing tool is ourselves. A staple of our marketing efforts continues to be our sales missions to tell the Florida story and bring projects and companies to Florida. In addition to our longtime group of regularly attended sales missions (Toronto International Film Festival, Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism, NATPE, SXSW, Tribeca Film Festival, and Produced By), last year we added the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West to our schedule. We continue to offer packages to select sales missions to both members and non-members. Whether you are part of Film Florida or not, be on the lookout for special packages in the future so you can help spread the message that “Florida is open for business!”
In addition to those sales missions, we have made it a priority to promote more in-state events such as local film festivals that are members of Film Florida as well as our members that host their own events throughout the year. These in-state events can be just as effective for networking, professional development and promoting the industry while at a significantly lower price point. We encourage you to watch for these events in our newsletter and on our social media pages throughout the year. We are also looking forward to our upcoming Meet Ups in Central Florida, South Florida and the Bay Area.
Florida’s independent film and commercial production continue to thrive in Florida, along with the growing tech clusters throughout the state, and we look forward to further enhancing those aspects of our industry. While a statewide program to entice projects and companies to Florida is still a challenge, there are now 7 counties (Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties), and 2 cities (Miami Beach, North Miami) with some form of program to enhance production work in their region. These local programs are seeing excellent return on investment with the increased number of projects in their regions. CLICK HERE to learn more about the local programs. We will continue to work on ways, both on the state and local level, to keep and/or bring more work and jobs to Florida, with or without local and/or state programs. Florida also offers an entertainment industry sales tax exemption. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the program, CLICK HERE for more information and to apply.
We hope to provide you with many successful, educational, and enjoyable opportunities in Florida’s production industry, and we thank you so much for your continued support moving forward. Please mark your calendar for our next Quarterly Meeting, scheduled for September 3-4 in Boca Raton. We invite all Film Florida members to participate in the committee and council meetings and as always, our Board of Directors meeting on September 4, 2019 is open to the public.
As always, we appreciate your engagement, participation, and support.
President, Film Florida