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Business, Community and Industry Leaders Explore Gainesville’s Potential for Film

Business, Community and Industry Leaders Explore Gainesville’s Potential for Film

Thursday morning, nearly 60 people gathered at the Hipppodrome Theatre for a panel discussion around a timely question—is Gainesville ready for film?

Panelists included Yoav Attias and Nicholas Burnett—the producers of the CMT series, “Gainesville,” which premiered later that evening. Moderated by United Way of North Central Florida President Deborah Bowie, the panel also featured Dr. David Denslow, Director of the Bureau for Economic and Business Research; Ryan Frankel, President of Frankel Media; MaryBeth Head, Producer/Director for Two-Head Media; and Blue Ribbon Committee on Economic Competitiveness Chair Mitch Glaeser.

In response to the question came a multitude of answers from the diverse perspectives represented on the panel.

Film image feature

Attias and Burnett illustrated the needs of film production teams, underscoring areas of critical need for success in the current industry landscape, while MaryBeth Head, who served as the location manager for the 1991 major motion picture, “Doc Hollywood,” brought valuable perspective on past area dialogues about attracting more film industry business, and how those dialogues could inform how Gainesville positions itself to attract new film projects. Ryan Frankel—whose firm, Frankel Media, managed the 2009 Gainesville episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”—spoke to the value of being able to live the kind of high-quality life Gainesville offers, and seizing the opportunities that come with growing a small business in a smaller community. Mitch Glaeser illustrated the efforts of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Economic Competitiveness by noting that regardless of its size, any business considering filming here should be able to expect the same relative ease in dealing with city government.

Dr. Denslow provided optimistic and realistic perspective on the potential impact of film industry-related economic activity, such as the $100,000 the average television series spends each day in the location in which it is filming.

At just an hour long, this dialogue was a beginning, designed to genuinely pose to the community the question of Gainesville’s readiness to attract new film projects. The collective answer was a multifaceted and prescriptive one: Gainesville has a rich talent base and creative class, including a collaborative group of core businesses necessary for film. But to grow film business, more cohesion is needed around what the collective end goal would be for the niche Gainesville would carve for itself as well as how the industry should work together to better tell the story of the work they are already doing. As new developments occur, we’ll keep you updated.

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