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Economic analysis says “The Infiltrator” brought in nearly $1 million to Hillsborough

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

While the Florida Legislature once again opted not pass a bill that would replenish the state’s depleted film tax incentive package earlier this year, an investment made by the Hillsborough County Commission to help lure Bryan Cranston’s newest film has apparently provide a solid return of investment to the region.

The Infiltrator is the adaptation of Tampa resident Robert Mazur’s 2009 autobiography of the same name, which details his mission to try to bring down famed Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

British based Good Films spent eight days filming portions of the film in the Tampa Bay area in March and April of 2015, and a new economic analysis from HCP Associates says that the total estimated economic impact was $957,020.

Good Films wanted to film most of the production in Hillsborough County, but opted out when they were unable to procure over $4 million in pre-approved tax credits through the state’s film incentive package in 2014. In an effort to persuade Good Films to film at least a portion of the production locally, the Hillsborough County Commission approved a local incentive package of $250,000 in March of 2014 to help attract the filmmakers to the county.

The analysis by HCP was performed by using the IMPLAN input-output model (Impact Analysis for Planning). It found that there was $490,192 direct expenditures to the local economy. It also found that there was $145,942 of indirect spending, and $320,886 from an “induced effect.”

The report says that induced effects reflect changes in local spending that result from income changes in the directly and indirectly affected industry sectors.

Wages were paid to 25 Hillsborough County locals who participated in the production as a member of the cast or crew. They were paid a total of $252,303 in direct labor income, resulting in an induced impact to Hillsborough County of $187,543.

Another 148 professionals living in Florida but not in Hillsborough County received wages. They were paid a total of 836,717. Their wages were not calculated within IMPLAN due to their residence outside of Hillsborough County.

Another 18 non-Florida resident earned income directly related to the filming of The Infiltrator, making a total of $63,883. Those wages were not calculated within IMPLAN due to their residence outside of Hillsborough.

“The total effect of $957,020 in relation to $250k investment indicates a near 4:1 ROI for Hillsborough County on their incentive package,” the report concludes.

Speaking with other members of the Tampa Bay legislative delegation on Tuesday, Tampa House Democrat Ed Narain said he hopes that the Legislature will ultimately renew the film incentive program. The lawmaker cited the recent decision by the producers of the Ben Affleck vehicle Day for Night to eschew filming in Tampa’s historic Ybor City district (where the novel is based) for a soundstage in Georgia because of the lack of an incentive as an indignity that should not happen again.

“That’s just disturbing to me,” he said. “Because that’s jobs. People say those are just temporary jobs. But we have to think about tourism,” he said, referring to an economic indicator not included in the HCP analysis.

“That’s just disturbing to me. Because that’s jobs. People say those are just temporary jobs. But we have to think about the tourism,” he said, referring to what the two “Dolphin Tale” movies have done for Clearwater and its aquarium in that regard.

Those two films have pumped $2 billion into the Pinellas economy, an economic analysis released in February reported.

The analysis performed by HCP Associates was financed by the Tampa/Hillsborough Film and Digital Media Commission.

The Infiltrator will be released in July.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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