‘We were the first Hollywood:’ Mayor Deegan seeking half million dollar local film and TV investment

JACKSONVILLLE, Fla — Lights, camera action!

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan is asking city council to sign off on more money to help incentivize television and film production here in the Bold City and local filmmakers are hoping the money will help put Jacksonville back on the map for movie makers.

Jacksonville has a long and rich film history.


In the early 1900′s the city was even nicknamed the “Winter Film Capital of the World”, before Hollywood eventually won out.

“We were the first Hollywood, the original Hollywood. You know, it was the Winter Capital of the World and then we had a string of movies that were going on back in the 90s and 2000s,” said Adam Madrid, a local filmmaker and founder of the LOL Jax Film Festival.

Madrid noted some big productions have come through Jacksonville even in the modern era, like Basic starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, GI Jane with Demi Moore and Recount starring Kevin Spacey.

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But he explained a lack of local and state investment has resulted in a lot of that work drying up.

“All of sudden it was kind of going away. We were still having productions going on, but again, it wasn’t as it once was,” said Madrid.

Now, Mayor Deegan is asking city council to invest half a million to bolster the city’s Film and Television Job and Business Creation Program, which provides incentives to attract film production opportunities here in the Bold City.

The program currently is only funded to the tune of about $40,000, but Madrid hopes if council signs off on the half million, it will be a great step towards making Jacksonville a contender in the film industry once again.

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“It’s also a state thing with incentives. Obviously, Georgia is thriving with the 30 percent tax incentive,” said Madrid. “Here in Jacksonville like I said, you know, we were always waiting on Florida to do something and, you know, why don’t we just start focusing on the city itself and I think this is what it is.”

For local movie makers curious to learn more about the city’s film and television incentive program you can find additional resources here.

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