Studios swim to new locations

Scout & About: Florida

The recent hit “Dolphin Tale” was shot in Clearwater on Florida’s Gulf Coast for two main reasons, per Andrew Kosove, producer and co-founder of financing company Alcon Entertainment. “It’s based on the true story of a dolphin who lost her tail, and she stars in the movie and lives at the Clearwater Marine Rehabilitation Hospital,” he says. “We had to shoot there in order to even make the movie. But the state’s tax credits were an equally big factor, as on top of the base 20% we also got a break for shooting off-season, and another one for being a family film.”

Kosove adds that Florida’s weather was also a plus for the $37 million production. “Clearwater’s a little beach town, but only 30 minutes outside Tampa, so getting equipment and crew was no problem,” The film’s success has, in turn, benefited the area, which was devasted by last year’s Gulf oil spill.

Bob Lemchen, senior VP of production at Fox Television Studios, has two TV series shooting in south Florida: USA’s “Burn Notice,” which completed its fifth year, shoots in Miami/Dade County; and A&E’s “The Glades,” which wrapped season two, shoots in Broward County. “Both projects’ showrunners wanted to be in south Florida for creative reasons,” says Lemchen, adding that tax incentives were also part of the equation: “We received them from the start; they’ve changed over the years from being a relatively small grant to a much larger program of transferable credits.”

“Burn Notice” shoots at the now-shuttered Expo Center in Coconut Grove, which affords “very competitively priced” studio space, says Lemchen. For “The Glades,” Broward County offers a looks ranging from beach to small town to Everglades. Lemchen also cites experienced crew and service providers as other draws — not to mention city support for all the explosions and car chases in “Burn Notice.”

And just to the north of Dade and Broward, Palm Beach County is hosting “Parker,” a crime thriller helmed by Taylor Hackford that’s set for a 2012 release. Starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, it shook up the area by deploying helicopters, firetrucks and marine patrol boats — bringing big-time filmmaking to an area better known for leisure-time activities.

SCOUT & ABOUT: FLORIDA
Sun shines, taxes fall, biz rocks | Studios swim to new locations | Miami rises as production hub for telenovelas

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