After two years of concentrating on attracting film productions to the region and notching some big wins with movies like “The Infiltrator,” Film Tampa Bay is embarking on a digital media assessment that aims to help identify a cluster of work in the region to maximize its economic impact.
A thorough look at which companies in town are already doing digital media work will give Film Tampa Bay a sense of how it can deploy resources to help the industry develop into a cluster here.
“It’s going to allow us to do relocations, expansions and even help startups,” said Film Tampa Bay Executive Director Dale Gordon.
Digital media is a targeted sector for Enterprise Florida and has a pool of economic incentives from which to draw for companies expanding and adding jobs here.
Economic incentives have largely eluded Gordon in her role as film commissioner since she started at Film Tampa Bay more than two years ago. She has negotiated some Hillsborough County film incentives for portions of big-budget movies to shoot locally, but most projects won’t even come for a look without state incentives.
Gordon sees her role as one of economic development, with an opportunity to connect a fragmented, local digital media industry, connect that industry’s hiring needs to area colleges and universities and help businesses grow.
Haig Mardirosian, dean of the University of Tampa College of Arts and Letters, is working with Film Tampa Bay to identify companies using digital media to complete the first phase of the process.
“In academia, we are using digital media in ways that the larger business community is not yet doing,” Mardirosian said. “We are a community that is imagining applications for digital media technology.”
The first phase of the assessment is an exciting step for the community, Mardirosian said. “Even taking inventory is sparking a conversation.”
The assessment already has connected Film Tampa Bay with companies like Echo Bridge — an award-winning animation studio in St. Petersburg that has done work for Nickelodeon, MTV and Univision.