Originally posted on the Tampa Bay Business Journal website.
Just as “The Infiltrator” hits movie theaters nationwide, the Tampa Hillsborough Film & Digital Media Commission is working to attract the next production to film to Tampa Bay.
An independent film with the title “No Postage Necessary,” starring former Miss Tampa Charleene Closshey, is seeking financial assistance to shoot in the area. The director is Jeremy Culver, a writer, director and producer at Two Roads Picture Co., according to his LinkedIn profile.
The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners will be asked to approve an incentive of up to $25,000 for the production at its meeting on July 20.
The money comes from a previously approved Major Films Incentive Fund, included in the fiscal year 2016 budget for the Economic Development Department.
It’s the same funding source that was used to attract “The Infiltrator,” the Bryan Cranston movie that shot about 10 percent of its scenes in Tampa Bay and premiered at the Tampa Theatre on July 6, before its national release. That movie got about $250,000 in local incentives and provided a nearly 4-to-1 return on investment, a study released by the commission showed.
Hillsborough County set up its own fund after state legislators declined to provide additional incentives for film production for several years.
“In the absence of state incentives, our local incentive is much more competitive at an independent film level,” said Dale Gordon, executive director of the Tampa Hillsborough Film & Digital Media Commission. “We can help independent filmmakers and the money goes further.”
Producers of “No Postage Necessary” — whom Gordon said have Plant City roots — looked at Georgia and Mississippi and were pre-approved for incentives in both those states, ranging between 20 percent and 30 percent of production costs. The local incentive is for a 10 percent cost rebate, but producers’ money for expenses such as local crews and rented equipment “goes further in Tampa Bay, because the cost of production is not as expensive,” Gordon said.
In order to qualify for the incentive, producers have to spend a certain amount of money in Hillsborough County, then submit expenses that are audited before the rebate is awarded, she said.
“The Tampa Bay area is known throughout the state for its work with independent filmmakers, who come and have a great experience and hopefully will come back,” Gordon said.
Closshey was a Tampa Bay Business Journal 30 Under 30 honoree in 2005. She previously starred in “An Evergreen Christmas,” according to IMDb. Culver was a writer and director on that film as well.
Click HERE to read the article on the Tampa Bay Business Journal website.