‘Beneath the Helmet,’ ‘On The Map’ to screen at Milman-Kover Festival

The 2016 Milman-Kover Jewish Film Festival will kick off with a showing of Wayne Kopping’s Beneath The Helmet and close with Dani Menkin’s On The Map. The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee announced this week that the event, scheduled for March 6 through 13, will include screenings throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties.

“We plan to add matinee screenings at several local venues—to make it easier for audiences to see all the films,” said Roz Goldberg, festival co-chair. “In addition, we planned exciting special events—and special guests—that will greatly enhance the festival experience.” A complete list of films, times and locations will be released in January. Continue reading ‘Beneath the Helmet,’ ‘On The Map’ to screen at Milman-Kover Festival

Corcoran Presses for Florida to Renew Incentives

At a quarterly meeting last week, leaders for Film Florida decided to hold the organization’s annual meeting in Sarasota. The event, tentative slated for late June, will bring the biggest voices in film to this area for an annual awards event and to discuss its policy agenda. Of course, one of those voices is here full time. Jeanne Corcoran, Sarasota County Film and Entertainment Office director and co-chair for the Florida Film Commissioners Council, spoke with SRQ about Film Florida’s policy focus in the coming year. Continue reading Corcoran Presses for Florida to Renew Incentives

Introducing The Essay Film Collaborative: Intercoastal Adventures with Mark Troy

ManaSota Films founder Mark Troy continues his mission to create a vibrant and active local film scene with the creation of a new intercity endeavor entitled the Essay Film Collaborative, uniting filmmakers in Sarasota-Bradenton with like-minded creatives in Savannah, Georgia and San Diego, California. Continue reading Introducing The Essay Film Collaborative: Intercoastal Adventures with Mark Troy

ManaSota Films: Mark Troy Handing Off The Mic

Tonight’s monthly ManaSota Films monthly meet-up at Parkway 8 Cinemas will be the last with founder Mark Troy playing the role of emcee, at least for the foreseeable future. According to Troy, veteran local filmmaker and active community member John Lagerholm will take over hosting duties for future gatherings. Continue reading ManaSota Films: Mark Troy Handing Off The Mic

Bradenton Filmmakers Take Suncoast Students Under Wing

At Suncoast Technical College, students in the Digital Video Production program are benefitting from a new partnership with Bradenton filmmakers Trishul Thejasvi, owner of Orensis Films, and Thomas Nudi, writer/director of the recently completed feature-length film Monty Comes Back, who have been working with the students over the period of the last three months, leading them on a crash course through the art of storytelling and independent film production. Today, with five short film scripts written by the students, who will also direct, the group is putting out a call to the community for local actors to help complete these all-local productions. Continue reading Bradenton Filmmakers Take Suncoast Students Under Wing

Detert preparing ‘film reform package’ to empower moviemaking in Florida

As state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, gears up for her last regular session in Tallahassee, she says film will be one of her personal top priorities. But she does plan on taking a different approach this year, one that learns from “past mistakes” and which seeks to encourage filmmakers to headquarter permanently in the Sunshine State. “Film should be an indigenous industry in the state of Florida,” Detert said. “I don’t think you should fly in here and make a movie, get paid and fly back to Los Angeles. We should do more to recruit the film industry as a permanent industry in our state.”

Detert made the remarks to Sarasota City Commissioners Monday night as she briefed them on upcoming issues in the Legislature. The Venice Republican has been one of the state’s most vocal champions for film, but in the last two sessions saw film incentives legislation she sponsored eventually die. Film incentives were last funded by the state in 2010, but state officials have since spent the $296 million set aside for wooing film projects. Detert last year sponsored legislature to restore some funding, but it ultimately was left out of the budget when the session ended abruptly amid a budget battle between the House and Senate.

Along the way, she has made enemies with the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity political committee (see video below), but she remains convinced a bigger film industry in Florida means jobs in a variety of sectors.

She notes the industry has been especially kind to the Sarasota area, where Ringling College of Art and Design just broke ground on a production facility. From familiar film work for actors and camera techs to indirectly supported industries like caterers, florists and a host of other work, a production can spread a substantial amount of wealth in a region. And while the average annual pay for jobs created by companies receiving state incentives runs around $44,000, that figure for the film industry is around $70,000. “It makes perfect sense to me.”

But Detert wants more than incentives. In a “film reform package” she plans to introduce in session this year, she is expected to call for a substantial shift in operations for the Florida Film Commission, moving it out from the Department of Economic Opportunity and instead putting it under the auspices of Enterprise Florida. Among other changes, that would mean relocating the agency to Orlando. “I want to see an empowered film commissioner, and one who has a passion for the industry, who reaches out and brings film into Florida,” Detert says.

Those remarks come a couple weeks after Detert dressed down Florida Film Commissioner Niki Welge at a Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.

And improvement must occur for Florida to maintain a competitive stance. With Georgia actively wooing studios and Atlanta becoming a film center of its own, Florida has lost some embarrassing bids in the past year. Detert noted the Ben Affleck production Live By Night, where filmmakers decided it would be cheaper to rebuild a full set of Ybor City in Georgia than to film in the Tampa community, and the upcoming The Unknowns: Talent is Colorblind, a film about the Fort Pierce-based Florida Highwaymen that will be shot in Savannah. “That’s a Florida story,” she said of the Highwaymen film, “and it should be filmed in Florida.”

Of course, the growing industry in Georgia means more than just successful tax incentives. As film productions like The Hunger Games and television series like The Walking Dead set up shop in Atlanta, a pool of experienced professionals and the availability of high-end facilities and technology encourages further prosperity. In addition to improving teaching facilities for Ringling students, the improvements at the Sarasota art school are expected to boost the local film infrastructure.

“You have conducted a coup in that area,” Detert told Sarasota leaders. “It’s thrilling what Ringling is doing. One of the things Americans are still great at is creativity, and you are ahead of the curve in that area.”

Now, Detert says, the focus should be on making sure film productions don’t simply set up shop for temporary stints. To make incentives work, there may need to be more strings attached, she said. Those could ensure more studios establish here. “Half of them have house here anyway, and like everybody, they want to work where they live,” she said.