Florida is not Los Angeles, and it is not New York. But that doesn’t stop Florida’s film industry from growing increasingly stronger with the years. Florida ranks as one of the top three states for tax incentives and, according to the Orlando Business Journal, follows only Louisiana and Illinois. Additionally, statewide resources well-justify the tax benefits and rebates available to filmmakers. Renovated in 2010 and located in Sarasota, the Florida Sound Stage touts 20,000 sq. ft. of open space with power coming from three locations. There are almost 60 local film festivals listed in “Film in Florida’s” website, and trade organizations including the Screen Actors Guild, Teamsters and the Writer’s Guild have chapters throughout the state. One notable chapter is the Women In Film & Television, Florida. Women In Film was founded in 1973 to represent women in all disciplines of film and television. In 1989 the WIFT-FL was established with the goal of increasing and promoting more film work throughout the state – for both women and men. In concert with both the tax benefits and resources that Florida has, Women in Film stands as a formidable connection point of empowerment. Joining the WIFT adds nodes of contact by helping members hone skills, expand influence, and enhance careers through mentorship and a supportive network of professionals. Sponsors enable outreach programs, and association committees represent the organization throughout the community. WIFT-FL uniquely joins advocacy with 40 other chapters around the world in promoting equality and productivity. Under the umbrella of the Women In Film organization of Los Angeles, filmmakers in Florida can connect through the parent organization’s various programs, classes and competitions. Mentorship is a key factor of success in any industry, but imperative in the field of film. As a highly competitive career path, trying to be the lone wolf is suicide – especially in Florida. Although tax incentives and resources continue to draw talent to the East Coast of America, Hollywood still stands as the loudest voice of cinema. If filmmakers want to “make it” in the industry, finding some clout to lean on is a necessity. The Women in Film & Television, Florida appears to be a viable and reliable resource existing for that very purpose.
Florida Film Connections for Women (and Men)