FORT LAUDERDALE – From the crime drama “The Glades” to the long-running TV series “Burn Notice”, South Florida is no stranger to film and television productions.
But now Broward County is poised to become a star.
On Tuesday, key players in the effort to strengthen the film industry gathered in the county commission chambers at the center of government.
“We are in the process of planning a huge flag planting in South Florida,” said DJ Viola.
Viola is a Hollywood producer and director and a major player in Broward’s ambitious plan.
He is working to create a massive production site much like studios in downtown Los Angeles with sound stages and production offices.
It would be built on a former 60-acre superfund site.
In Fort Lauderdale, north of Sunrise Boulevard, east of 31st Avenue, negotiations are underway with the city on the proposed project.
The working title is Fort Lauderdale Studios.
Broward Commissioner Steve Geller defended the film industry and said it would mean good paying jobs.
“I have no idea what a best boy or a gaffer is, but they’re part of the credits you see rolling at the end of movies. Those jobs pay at least $100,000 a year.”
While the film industry has been talked about for years, the heist has been incentives.
Broward commissioners approved film and television incentives to spur growth.
To qualify, a production must be worth at least $400,000 and a company would be eligible for a 15% rebate, capped at $175,000. Sixty percent of the production is to be shot in the greater Fort Lauderdale area.
For independent filmmakers like Luner Eugene, who has produced several films locally, a production cost of $400,000 is out of reach.
He hopes the resources will go to independent filmmakers.
“Many of us have great stories.”
He says, “It would be wonderful to get funding for our projects.