Feature Florida Partnerships strategizes how to keep, attract filmmakers hereCreate It Here! Program lifts up local filmmakers

How do we keep creative local talent local? A Florida filmmakers group is working to that end.

Feature Florida Partnerships, a Florida-based motion picture production non-profit, started its Create It Here! program at the end of last year in an effort to support and assist Florida filmmakers to provide a foundation and infrastructure as part of their “Keep It Here” campaign to make sure Florida artists stay in Florida.
“With this program, we want to put Florida in a competitive position in the marketplace for film. We’re looking for the newcomers who have those incredible creative impulses and great storytelling abilities,” says Chris Ranung, Executive Director of Feature Florida Partnerships. 
Two finalists were selected out of 22 submissions for the first round in this program: C.J. Christensen for his piece “American Band” and James McNulty for “Tiger in the Woods.” Instead of just receiving a cash prize, these fledgling screenwriters have the opportunity to work alongside professionals in the business.
“The finalists are assigned a script coach. They will read the script and make notes before they come together for a collaboration. We want to provide them with a typed script put together so they can move forward with a marketable package,” Ranung says. “Florida has suffered so much with loss of opportunities. I speak at film schools all the time and they come out and there’s nothing for them. I want local people to have opportunities at home, not in Georgia or California.”
Feature Florida plans on hosting another round of open calls for screenplays in late April, with hopes of garnering sponsorships and grants to offset the cost of the script coaches’ evaluations. Eventually, their goal is to attract $3 million in funds to provide partial financing for projects they feel strongly about from the Create it Here! Program.
“Too many films are made on a shoestring budget. They have validity and I don’t want to knock those efforts, but if you come up with a great story, it deserves the money to do it the right way. I think production value is so important, using the money at hand to create a palette,” explains Ranung. “Our focus is on production value, to provide aspiring screenwriters, to find ways to collaborate and move forward to make something that has the sight, sound, and taste of something more.”
To learn more about the Create It Here! program, visit the Feature Florida Partnerships website or follow FFP on Facebook.

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Read more articles by Caitlin Albritton.

Caitlin Albritton is a freelance writer based in Tampa with a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and a MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. When she's not looking at art throughout town, she can be found making it. You can keep up with her visual art on Instagram @caitlinalbritton or on her website. Visit her recent line of inlay “wearable paintings.”
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