TAMPA, Fla. — Pinellas County's beautiful backdrop is the star of the show for several upcoming films.
Tony Armer, the film commissioner for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, says several film productions are currently underway around Pinellas County, growing the area's film industry.
Right now, one Lifetime film called "DOA at the PTA" is being filmed around the bay, using sights like the Clearwater Police Department. While it is not set to air until 2022, Armer says three more Lifetime films are also set to be produced in Pinellas County.
"Having these films shooting in the area wouldn't be possible without David Yates and Danny Roth. Over the next few years, I think we're going to see more and more types of these films shooting in the area," Armer said to 10 Tampa Bay.
David Yates, the former CEO of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is known for his role in producing Dolphin Tale. Danny Roth also served as a producer and plans to bring more movies to the area for production.
Several Hallmark Channel films were also produced in Pinellas County over the summer. "South Beach Love" filmed in St. Petersburg, is set to air this Saturday, October 9, on the Hallmark Channel.
Another film "A Taste of Love" was filmed in Dunedin over the summer. The movie is centered around a woman named Tylor, who is an out-of-work culinary network TV chef who returns to her hometown in order to figure out life.
During her stay, she discovers the restaurant that has been in her family for generations is up for sale and tries to save it while dealing with love and struggles along the way.
The movie is expected to be released nationally in 2022.
Armer says all the new productions are having a positive impact on St. Pete and Clearwater.
"When it comes to jobs, they're hiring local people. Some of these smaller budgeted films are actually a really great opportunity, kind of a training ground, to start people out who may have been doing other positions in the industry or are wanting to get started," he said.
To attract these productions to the area, Pinellas County offers an incentive. When the production spends money locally and ultimately helps the economy, the county provides 10% cashback.
"There's no upfront money that goes to the project, there's no spending of county funds prior to the film shooting in the area. They have to come, do the project, and afterward they get 10% back," Armer said.
Additionally, the film commissioner is seeing more tourists travel to the area because of the films being produced here.
"I believe 20 or 25 percent of all travel to Florida is coming here because of something they have seen on TV or in a movie. Being able to showcase our area on the big screen or little screen is a great tool in helping drive tourism, which in turn, helps create jobs and helps the economy," he explained.
Over the next few years, Armer is hopeful to see more productions in Pinellas County. Florida does not offer an incentive to film productions, so he expects to see smaller projects coming to the area.
"We're not going to get those big-budgeted films that are [multi] million dollars. We're going to get these smaller projects that are two million dollars or under as far as their budgets go," Armer described. "I'd rather have 10 $400,000 films than no films at all. It's still helping promote our beautiful destination."
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, another film called "The Plus One" will start production in Pinellas County. The romantic comedy stars Ashanti and Cedric the Entertainer. Both Danny Roth and David Yates will serve as producers.