Miami-Dade due a bonanza of filming and entertainment production jobs
By Zachary S. Fagenson
By year's end, seven television series, one pilot, one Telenovela, seven motion pictures, five documentaries, two visual effects projects, three video games and three digital media projects might get started in Miami-Dade.
The Miami-Dade projects could grab a big share of $54 million in film incentives the state is to release as well as $425 million in expected spending and an estimated 26,000 temporary production jobs.
"Something like three-fifths of the projects… look like [they're] coming to South Florida," said Jeff Peel, director of the county's Office of Film and Entertainment. That "may mean 60% of the money, but it's not a direct correlation.
"Keep in mind that the $50 million is what the companies get back. In order to get that, they have to spend four or five times that."
Two years ago lawmakers cut Florida film incentives from $25 million to $5 million. Now a five-year, $242 million package could cure the weakened industry.
"I think this program… is going to make a huge difference in putting Florida in general back on the map for the big-scale Hollywood productions," Mr. Peel said.
The incentive may also boost the number of commercials shot in Miami-Dade, which was badly battered by the downturn.
The projects must begin this year. To get state funds, production must begin in six months from the application date.
Which projects will take off, and their specifics, remain unknown.
"I do know Transformers 3, which is the big Michael Bay follow-up," is coming, Mr. Peel said. "We've been scouting with those guys for a couple months."
But the bulk of qualifying projects' details remain under wraps, he added. The incentive is similar to Florida's targeted industries tax refund, which allows companies to apply without public disclosure.