SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. — It’s lights, camera, action in the Tampa Bay area!
Safety Harbor and Treasure Island are two of the back drops in an upcoming Hallmark movie. City officials announced the news Tuesday.
"I think it’s going to be great for safety Harbor. It’s going to shine a spotlight on what a great city we have here,” said Joe Ayoub, the Mayor of Safety Harbor.
Ayoub says there is already a buzz among residents and talk on Main street about where filming will take place.
"There are several locations in the downtown area that they’re looking at where they will be filming,” he said. “The marina, the pier, the Sandwich Shop on Main, Southern Fresh and maybe a couple other spots in the downtown area.”
He’s hoping the film will show off all that Safety Harbor has to offer, and create a little tourism. Locals already know how beautiful the small town is.
"I think it’s a fantastic setting. You can’t get any better than us,” said Erin Toler, a Clearwater resident.
Right now, Florida is the only state in the south that doesn’t offer film incentives. The Film Commissioner in Pinellas County, Tony Armer, says they have a program that pays 10 percent of what the production company spends locally. He says Tampa has a similar program that is structured slightly different.
"I think it’s good for the economy, I think it’s good for this area, especially Safety Harbor because I think you’re right it is kind of a little secret that a lot of people don’t know about,” said Toler. "Tucked back here, as opposed to Clearwater Beach or one of those areas.”
Armer says there are a few bills in the legislator right now being looked at that would bring back a state program. But, it would be different from the one the state had in the past.
He says it would no longer be first come first serve. Instead, the funding would be given out in a more focused way and to productions that could really benefit local economies.
"I know Georgia has got a lot of incentives up there and I don’t think we have as many down here, but we’ve got to work on that,” said Ayoub.
Officials haven’t said what the title of the movie is yet, just that its a beach themed love story.
"They’re all love stories!” Ayoub said laughing.
Filming is set to begin in March.
Armer says folks can expect to see even more Hallmark movies being filmed in the Pinellas area thanks to their local incentives.