Last week Film Florida had a productive couple of days in Orlando for our Quarterly Meetings. We want to thank our hosts from Film Orlando for coordinating our stay including our Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday at the Melrose Center at the Orlando Public Library. Our quarterly meetings kicked off on Monday with the Marketing Committee, Film Commission Council and Legislative Committee meetings. Monday evening Film Florida was a proud sponsor of the Women in Film & Television – Florida Jingle Mingle. Jingle Mingle is a very popular and highly attended holiday party for the industry each year so if you missed it this year, plan on attending next December.

Each Film Florida committee and council looks at industry challenges and how Film Florida can address them from the council/committee perspective. Many of our members have asked about the upcoming legislative session. During the Legislative Committee meeting we hosted Chris Ranung from COMPASS. Chris explained a program he will be advocating for during the upcoming Legislative Session, which starts Tuesday, January 9, 2018. The Legislative Committee attendees asked numerous questions to better understand the program and appreciated Chris attending the meeting so we could learn more. The outcome of this presentation concluded with the consensus of the group agreeing the program concept was intriguing and of course anything that could benefit our industry is something we are very interested in learning more about.

In addition to learning more about the program as presented by COMPASS, Film Florida continues to work with our government relations team, looking at options to help our industry based on Tallahassee’s current leadership. Like last session, the state legislature is faced with a challenging budget situation with education and healthcare costs in Florida growing rapidly, in addition to back to back years of costly hurricane recovery with the most recent (hurricane Irma) affecting approximately 70% of the counties in Florida. We are also focused on improving legislative bills that have been filed that, if passed, could adversely affect a number of local film commissions with stifling restrictions on their ability to market and promote their respective areas.

The Marketing Committee gave an update on the various social media campaigns we’re using to help promote the industry and the state of Florida. The entertainment production industry in Florida is open for business and remains engaged in recruiting films and television shows to our state. Marketing efforts continue to ensure that message is conveyed around the world. The Film Commission Council continues working on creative local incentive programs to help bring additional projects to Florida. There are now 6 counties with local programs in addition to a couple cities showing leadership in our industry with additional incentive programs.

While much of our legislative attention is on the upcoming session, we are already actively communicating with the confirmed candidates running to be Florida’s next Governor. We are making sure each candidate understands the importance of our industry for Florida’s future. We believe that our industry is not only important to the state of Florida, but can be part of the solution to the state’s potential budget challenges in the future. We fully intend to show candidates throughout the state how we can infuse much needed tax revenues into the state while putting Floridians to work, increasing economic development, enhancing tourism and helping diversify Florida’s economy.

For those who attended our meetings, we hope that your visit with us was informative and productive. We look forward to seeing you again at future events, tradeshows and meetings across the state! For those who are unable to travel, we encourage you to call in to the meetings via our conference call lines. Next up, Film Florida will be attending NATPE in Miami from January 15-18 and our Board of Directors will be in Tallahassee on January 30th. Also, mark your calendars for our next Quarterly Meeting April 9-10 in Cocoa Beach.

On behalf of the Film Florida Board of Directors we wish you and yours a Joyful Holiday and Happy New Year.