Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Legislative Update: HB 697 Now on the Floor

The Entertainment Industry Economic Development Act (HB 697) has passed the Florida House of Representatives Finance & Tax Council and, with a few legislative tweaks, moved on to the House Floor.

Among the modifications introduced to the bill include a cap of $55 million in the next fiscal year, which decreases in the following fiscal year to $50 million and $27 million for the next three fiscal years. In addition, the base incentive amount was raised from 15% to 20% for major film, television and digital media projects, with an enhancement for "family-friendly" films from 2% to 5% and keeping the 5% for productions between June and November.

HB 697's Senate companion bill, SB 1430, was recently raised to the Senate Finance & Tax Council; its original wording, identical to the HB 697, has been amended largely for clarification. Both bills can be tracked using the Bill Finder at the Florida Legislature's website.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jacksonville Film Festival Announces 2010 Dates, Events

The Jacksonville Film Festival has announced a calendar of events for its 2010 season, including the festival dates.

The festival will run four days and five nights October 13-17, 2010 at various venues in and near downtown. In the meantime, festival organizers have a variety of events planned benefitting local filmmakers.  Documentaries Marilyn: Life After Death and Collapse will be screened March 25th and April 29th, respectively; admission to either event is free for festival members and  $10 for general admission. In addition, WJCT Studios will co-sponsor a workshop on HD filmmaking May 22nd and 23rd; admission is $150 by April 1st and is limited to the first 35 reservations.

New festival co-directors Warren Skeels and Brenda Egedy Kolb, owners of the Jacksonville-based film and multimedia firm TigerLily Media, also announced Jacksonville Film Festival’s Artist in Residence Program, the reboot of its Reel People program, and youth-oriented programs Film with a Heart and Books Alive.

The festival kicked off its season with a sneak preview of the documentary Thespians, and is currently accepting submissions.

A preliminary slate of films and ticket packages are expected to be announced by September 1, 2010.

The new co-directors have a combined 25 years in the industry as filmmakers, and have a long-term partnership with the Jacksonville Film Festival as sponsors and featured guests.

The mission of the Jacksonville Film Festival is to provide entertainment, educational opportunities, programs and events that enrich the arts and culture of Northeast Florida, while inspiring a new generation of filmmakers through the diversity and power of film. More information is available via the festival website.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kick Off to 2010 Screenwriting Competition and Pitch

Once a writer has finished writing a motion picture screenplay, images of the completed film are already swimming in front of their eyes. They can picture the elegant and star studded premiere and almost taste the victory of winning prestigious awards. But how can they be sure that the screenplay is as good as they think it is? How can they be sure that it truly is ready to submit to agents, managers, production companies or even screenwriting competitions?

The Jacksonville Film Festival is here to help! This intensive workshop, led by an experienced script doctor and analyst, will cover the basics of making sure that any script is ready for a professional read. Covering everything from basic script formatting to last minute character and plot schematics, this four hour workshop will serves as a thorough check list, ensuring that your screenplay is ready to go!

The Polishing Your Script workshop is the kickoff event for this year’s Screenplay Competition, which will have an added twist for all entrants. The top ten Screenplay Competition Finalists will be invited to the festival in October to pitch their completed screenplay to a panel of industry professionals. In addition to a “Best Screenplay” award,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Local Filmmakers Looking for Distribution for "False Pretense"

Local filmmakers Mary Davis-Johnson and Mark Boese are currently looking for distribution for their new feature film False Pretense, shot and cast entirely in North Florida.

False Pretense depicts three young women from different social classes who befriend each other through turmoil. Johnson and Boese wrote and directed the film, with crew from Florida State College at Jacksonville and actors from Jacksonville and Daytona Beach.

Johnson and Boese are currently looking for distribution, and plan to put the film on the festival circuit in the summer. The trailer for the film is available here.

"America's Most Wanted" Airs Jacksonville Episode this Saturday

FOX TV will air an America's Most Wanted episode shot entirely in Jacksonville this Saturday, March 19th at 9:00 PM.

The episode will be 25 minutes long, split into three parts. The segment was filmed last month; Jacksonville doubles for upstate New York in this episode.

The story follows events surrounding the death of Kimberly Simon, a Utica, NY woman killed nearly two decades ago under still-mysterious circumstances.

Unfortunately, no copies of the episode will be made available; those seeking a copy are advised to make arrangements to record the episode.

Behind-the-scenes information on this and other America's Most Wanted productions in Jacksonville is available here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Legislative Update: HB 697 Passes Committee

The Entertainment Industry Economic Development Act has unanimously passed the House Economic Development Policy Committee. HB 697, sponsored by Representatives Steve Precourt, Jennifer Carroll, and Kevin Ambler, is an innovative proposal to stimulate job growth within the state of Florida. The tax credit program, also sponsored by Senate President-Designate Mike Haridopolos, levels the playing field for Florida to once again compete in the emerging economic cluster of film and digital media production.

“During these tough economic times, putting incentives in place that will attract new businesses and diversify our economy is sound policy that will have an immediate impact.” said Rep. Steve Precourt. “We’ve sent a strong message today that moving swiftly to lure new businesses to Florida and put people back to work is the Legislature’s top priority.”

In recent years, Florida’s existing film incentive program has been cut dramatically, resulting in a sharp decline in production projects lost to competing states. The bill creates a film and digital media tax credit that has a proven track record of attracting and growing the industry in other states. The production company will only receive the credit after all its payments have been verified. With the investment occurring before a credit is issued, this is a true performance-based credit.

First Coast Doubles for Upstate New York in Upcoming "America's Most Wanted" Episode

Fox Television’s popular America’s Most Wanted (AMW) series recently concluded filming an upcoming segment in Jacksonville where the First Coast doubles for Upstate New York. The show is scheduled for Saturday, March 13th at 9:00 PM (Fox 30).

This is not the first time Jacksonville has hosted this popular television program. Since 1989 AMW has filmed re-enactments in Jacksonville and the surrounding area. The first story was taped in the Duval County Detention Facility before it housed its first inmate. In the years that have followed, AMW has come back to the First Coast having Jacksonville double for cities all over the United States.

“Jacksonville’s crew, government cooperation, cost efficiency and locations are the reasons we keep coming back, “ said Greg Klein, Creative Producer, STF Productions. “Jacksonville producer Pepper Lindsey, the entire crew she assembles, and DP Mark Kohl, always go above and beyond expectations.

“We are fortunate to have a great diversity of filming locations in Jacksonville and we can double for a lot of places,” said Pepper Lindsey, CEO of Lindsey Films, Inc. and independent producer for the show. AMW keeps coming back to Jacksonville because of our film friendly atmosphere, hands on assistance from the JEDC Film and Television Office, and quality of the local crew.” Lindsey, who has worked with the show since it's first filming in Jacksonville in 1989, is responsible for assembling the production team, compiling the budget and overseeing the production.

AMW hired over 45 local professionals, rented and purchased items having over a $130,000 direct economic impact in Jacksonville.

In its 22 seasons, America’s Most Wanted and its viewers have helped capture more than 1,108 dangerous criminals, including dozens of child predators. The show is hosted by John Walsh, well known for his anti-crime activism following the murder of his son, Adam in 1981. On May 2, 2008, the program's website announced its 1,000th capture; and it will celebrate its 1,000th episode on March 6, 2010.