June 18, 2004---Working in conjunction with a coalition vigorously opposed to anti-runaway production, the Florida branch of Screen Actors Guild played a prominent role in the passage of two important initiatives that benefit the Florida film industry. With the support of fellow industry labor unions, Film Florida and the state’s Film and Entertainment Advisory Council, SAG secured $2.4 million for the funding of the film production incentive legislation passed in 2003. In addition, SAG helped achieve a key license exemption for make-up artists, which allows non Florida-based make-up artists to continue to work in Florida.
Here’s how the Florida branch got involved: letter writing campaigns were launched by membership at the direction of Florida Executive Director Leslie Krensky, while South Region Executive of Organizing Carlina Rodriguez served on the Executive Committee of Film Florida and helped formulate the industry’s strategy. Meanwhile, Deputy National Executive Director for Organizing and Education Hollis Batchelor, who served as chairperson of the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council, helped draft the incentive legislation and assumed a leadership role in obtaining the exemption for the make-up artists.
“This legislation is the result of three years of extensive lobbying by the film industry in Florida,” Batchelor says. “It is evidence of how effective a unified industry can be. When Film Florida was formed six years ago we had a goal of creating a powerful presence in Tallahassee. We are getting close to that goal. What makes the funding of the incentive legislation so unique is that it is a cash rebate, which does not exist anywhere else. I am also very pleased with the outcome of the cosmetology matter, which was a major concern.”
After the funding passed, Film Florida ran full-page advertisements in the major trade publications thanking Gov. Bush and the Legislature for approving the funding. The advertisement provided information to the industry on how to obtain information about the new incentive.
Film Florida worked closely in conjunction with State Film Commissioner Susan Albershardt, who was instrumental in getting the incentive funded.
The incentive funds are available to qualified film and entertainment projects that spend at least $850,000 on Florida labor, and Florida-based production service and equipment companies. The fund will reimburse filmmakers 15% on qualified Florida expenditures up to specified maximum reimbursements based on the type of production. Digital media companies and companies that relocate to the state are also eligible for reimbursement under specific conditions.
Additional information on the new incentive is available by visiting www.filminflorida.com