MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The HBO sports drama, “Ballers” and the Netflix series “Bloodline” are the only big productions being shot in South Florida, but they might not be next year if the state doesn’t renew its love affair with producers. That was the warning delivered to Miami-Dade’s legislative delegation in a public hearing Thursday.
“We have lost over the past five years somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 million in production work,” said Bruce Orosz, president of ACT Productions, and chairman of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Think about how many jobs and how many people that money would employ.
The state has allowed an incentive program – payments to producers for coming here – to run dry, and the legislature has refused to renew it. TV and cinema are going to states that do offer breaks. ”
The movie “Rosewood” based on a Florida story was shot in Georgia because Georgia offers handsome incentives.
A Ben Affleck mobster movie, “Live By Night,” set in Tampa, is being shot in California because of big money breaks.
Florida’s theatre union has lost a quarter of its members.
“They have to move to other states to find work. The work isn’t here anymore,” said Chris Ranung, president of the local Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
Makeup artist Erin Keith said she hasn’t applied much mascara in South Florida lately.
“I haven’t been able to work here. I’ve had to go out of state. My tax dollars are going there, my money is not coming here, so it’s pretty devastating,” Keith said.
On top of work that has been lost, the loss of major productions has also dampened the magnet quality that shows shot here bring. Call it the “Miami Vice” effect.
“We’re watching tourism boom as a result,” said Graham Winick of the Miami Beach Film Office. ‘Miami Vice’ is the perfect example of ultimate economic growth through media.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez called filmmaker bonuses a no-brainer.
“They’ll shoot here, or they’ll shoot it in Louisiana,” Gimenez said. “I’d rather have them shoot it here, and bring the jobs here.”
Lawmakers were sympathetic to the pleas.
“There is a lot of support for it in the legislature, it just hasn’t crossed the finish line,” said Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R)Miami-Dade, chairman of the delegation. “I think that this year there actually might be some dollars invested in (entertainment incentives).”
In the previous two sessions, however, Miami-Dade lawmakers have not brought the issue to the floor of the House or Senate.
The television and movie industry face another obstacle: They will be among a long line of interests with their hands out when the legislature meets in January. And with Gov. Rick Scott pushing a billion dollars in tax cuts, the chance of a happy ending for showbiz is far from guaranteed.