Producer Andrew Hevia has been at some of the biggest film festivals in America, but returning to Sarasota for the second consecutive year, he is still impressed by the Suncoast. “Sarasota is a much better film festival than it has any right to be,” he said in an interview with SRQ Backlot.
Hevia is here promoting When We Lived In Miami, a short film shot in the Miami area and screening tonight before the world premiere of A Song Still Inside. He sat down with SRQ to discuss his film, the state of film in Florida and the reputation of SFF in the independent film universe.
The return to Sarasota is a circular moment in the life of this film. Last year, Hevia came to town attached to Sun Don’t Shine, another Florida-based film made by director Amy Seimetz (read about that film here). While Hevia had talked about the concept for When We Lived In Miami with Seimetz before, it was in Sarasota that he finally got her to commit to the project.
The short film was shot last fall, just as Hurricane Isaac was hitting South Florida. In fact, there was no storm in the original script. Hevia thought production should be delayed because of the storm, but Seimetz instead wrote it into the script. Seimetz, who grew up in Central Florida, could tell the hurricane probably wasn’t going to destroy the shoot.
Hevia lives in Miami himself, and spoke with us at length at the potential for Florida to become a major player in the world of independent film. “It’s all about regionalism right now,” he said. The fact Miami already has a great deal of film production happening now is good for the entire state, he said. That can benefit places like Sarasota, where a film community is burgeoning. “I can drive to Miami and shoot here,” he said.
The biggest obstacle facing filmmakers in the Sunshine State these days isn’t talent or infrastructure, but financing. Much of the money behind productions still comes out of Hollywood and Los Angeles, and that means Florida filmmakers often find themselves on a plane to California looking for backers.
Our interview with Hevia delved into much of what the Miami filmmaking community is doing to boost production there. Check back later today for a recording done with WSRQ to hear everything he had to say.
When We Lived in Miami screens before A Song Still Inside at 6:45pm.