Can Sarasota Save Florida’s Film Industry?
Written by Raymmar Tirado
Narrated by Ethan Hawke
In 2006, Florida ranked third in the country for film production based on revenue generated, trailing only California and New York. [source] But film production revenues in Florida have been on a steady decline since 2010.
Experts blame state legislators who have voted for the last four years, to allow tax incentives for film production to expire without offering an alternative solution. [source]
It’s estimated that the state has lost more than $650 million dollars worth of film projects in the last three years. [source]
In Miami alone, revenues have dropped from $366 million in 2011 to $175 million in 2015. [source]
The downward trend is forcing industry insiders and related businesses to pack up and move to more film friendly states. Something that leaves many wondering what the future holds for the film industry in Florida as a whole.
But all is not lost.
Just 230 miles west of Miami, Sarasota County, recently passed their own tax incentives hoping to offset some of the impact on a local community which is deeply rooted in the arts. [source]
Recent headlines have shined light on creative talent with ties to Sarasota who are having a national impact. Most notably the 23 Ringling College of Art and Design graduates who worked on ‘Zootopia’, a Disney movie which just won the Oscar for best animated film. [source]
The school, which is well known nationally for their graphic design and illustration curriculums, started a film program back in 2007. In 2016, the Hollywood reporter ranked Ringling College of Art and Design #16 among the top 25 film schools in America. [source] Up from #23 in 2011. [source]
Another Sarasota company, Semkhor Productions — in collaboration with the college — will buck the trend even further by unveiling a brand new 30,000 square foot sound stage and post-production studio complex spring of 2017. [source]
The new soundstage will be used as a training facility for film students, while also serving as a full service studio for feature film and music productions from around the world. A practical collaboration that serves the school, as well as an industry that struggles to stay relevant in Florida.
So while the future of filmmaking might look bleak in other parts of the state, Sarasota seems to be leading the way with innovative solutions.
Because it’s a whole new world out there for content creators. And it is not that crazy to think that the next Hollywood blockbuster might actually come from right here in Sarasota.
Learn more about Ethan’s visit to Sarasota.