Film Florida Executive Director said the state is losing projects worth millions to states like Georgia, which has better incentives.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Film Festival is kicking off Friday night.
These kinds of events help independent filmmakers with exposure, but some are frustrated with how the state keeps losing big projects to other areas who have better incentives.
Film Florida Executive Director John Lux said Florida is the only state in the southeast without an economic development program to attract larger projects.
Lux said independent films, commercials and music videos are successful, but he wants to see the industry reach its full potential.
“The industry would like to have an overall bigger effect on overall economic development in the state to grow and diversify Florida’s economy by bringing in some larger projects, which means more jobs for Floridians, more money for small businesses here in the state,” Lux said.
Many traditional film and television projects set in Florida are being shot in states like Georgia and North Carolina, where there are more production incentives, Lux said. Back here in Florida, two legislators have filed the “Florida first production partnership program” bill – a small economic development program. Lux said this would even the playing field if passed.
“There’s a lot of things that have Florida stories that have been done in Savannah,” Lux said, “and it’s just heartbreaking because not only are they telling Florida stories outside, but we’re losing those jobs. We’re losing that economic impact here in our local areas.”
That’s where smaller film festivals like the Jacksonville Film Festival come in to help independent filmmakers make connections. Jacksonville Film Festival Program and Artistic Director Tim Driscoll said they want their filmmakers to feel celebrated.
“That’s what we focus on: filmmakers who come in, the audiences who engage with those filmmakers,” Driscoll said. “We’re building a community of people who like what somebody else is doing, they’re challenged or inspired by what somebody else is doing, and it starts building connections outside the festival.”