Local filmmakers cry foul over Legislature turning down tax breaks



ORLANDO, Fla. - A growing Florida industry could soon be in the tank.

This week, $300 million worth of tax breaks for filmmakers died in the state Legislature.

Some local movie producers said without the incentives it’s too expensive to film in Florida, and they’ll likely go to other states where it’s cheaper.

Orlando movie producer Todd Thompson said state lawmakers have turned their backs on the business.

“It’s almost like not having your mom and dad back you up because they don’t believe in you,” Thompson said.

Now, Thompson’s latest film about the famous Florida Highwaymen will likely be shot in Georgia.

“We’re closing in on our financing. We’ve started to reach out to the cast. How can you not film a Florida story—a piece of Florida history—here in Florida? It’s ridiculous,” Thompson said.

In 2010, Florida provided $270 million in tax credits to get more movies shot in Florida and it worked.

Supporters said it created 200,000 jobs with combined wages of $1 billion.

Some of those jobs went to students producing films at Orlando’s Full Sail University.

Thompson is worried without those tax credits Florida’s film industry will dry up.

“The number of films shot in Hollywood has been greatly reduced,” he said. “But the fact that we had something and it’s now gone is a huge blow.”

The Orlando Film Commission said had the tax breaks passed the economic impact from having dozens of movies shot in Florida would have topped $4 billion.