On Sunday, legislators completed the 2018 Legislative Session in Tallahassee. Of the 1,654 general bills filed this year, only 10% crossed the finish line. Regardless of the issue, getting a bill of any kind passed in the Florida Legislature has become increasingly difficult. While Film Florida did not submit a policy request on behalf of the industry this year, we were successful in continuing our momentum from last year to preserve the Office of Film & Entertainment (OFE), maintain the Entertainment Industry Sales Tax Exemption, continue state funding for the OFE’s Los Angeles Liaison and protect Talent Agents from de-regulation. Additionally, our friends at COMPASS filed their Motion Picture Capital Corporation legislation again and like last year, the bill passed favorably through one committee in the Senate but was never placed on an agenda in the House.

A small number of Film Florida Board Members traveled to Tallahassee at the end of January and with the help of our Government Relations team from The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners, we met with more than 15 legislators about our industry. The conversations that were had, and the information acquired were extremely helpful as we look towards the future with the 2018 Elections and 2019 Legislative Session. Film Florida is already actively communicating with the six current candidates for Governor and on the suggestion from our Government Relations team, we have invited each of them to speak on camera directly to the 50,000+ Floridians that work in the film, television, and digital media production industry. We believe it’s important for them to tell you how our industry fits into their vision for Florida’s future. Once we have completed filming, we will be releasing the videos on social media, on our website, and through e-mail blasts so everyone can be educated when they vote for our next Governor. The goal is to release the videos over the summer.

Furthermore, on the advice of our Government Relations team, we are prepared to launch an unprecedented effort to speak to every elected official and/or candidate running for the 142 seats up for election in the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives and we look forward to passing that information on to you. We cannot, however, accomplish this task on our own, we need your help! If you are interested in actively being involved in the effort to ensure every person running for state office understands who our industry is, what we do, and how we can be a positive part of further growing, strengthening and diversifying Florida’s economy, please respond to this e-mail at info@FilmFlorida.org so you can be included on that team. We will make sure you are prepared and understand the task, we just need your help with execution.

Despite the ongoing challenges in Tallahassee, Film Florida continues to focus (every single day!) on marketing and promoting the industry and the state of Florida as a premiere destination for film, television, and digital media production work. While leadership in Tallahassee continues to undervalue our industry, local legislators in counties and cities have shown tremendous support with 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. Regardless of local, regional, or state support, Film Florida, along with our local film commissioners who are part of Film Florida, will not stop marketing and promoting our industry and our state. We will highlight what we do have available and do whatever is possible to bring more work to Florida.

If you are not a member of Film Florida, we would like to encourage you to join the organization. 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. Please CLICK HERE to learn more about our membership packages and to join. If membership isn’t your thing, and you’d still like to show your support, please respond to this e-mail with your address and we’ll be happy to mail you FREE Film Florida stickers for your car, laptop, workstation, gear cases, etc. Finally, we hope you will make plans to join us at our next Film Florida Quarterly Meeting on Florida’s Space Coast (photo right). Film Florida members are invited to participate in Committee and Council meetings on Monday April 9 and the Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday April 10 is open to the public. CLICK HERE for more information about the upcoming meeting.