COMPASS advocates on behalf of the Florida men and women who work in and provide services to feature film and episodic television production, providing them with representation to Florida’s elected officials on a regional and state-wide basis.
A little history
Since May of 2012, the Congress of Motion Picture Associations of Florida (COMPASS) has maintained an unwavering legislative presence in Tallahassee and around the state, building credibility as the primary advocacy group for Florida motion picture production.
We have steadfastly maintained that, of the various entertainment industry sectors, the greatest economic impact comes from feature film and episodic television production – through their singular ability to create good long-term jobs for Floridians and inject maximum production spending into Florida communities.
In 2017, COMPASS responded to opposition to corporate subsidies by introducing legislation to create a new business model based on sound financing principles. Our legislation was heard and passed by one Senate committee.
We returned to Tallahassee for the 2018 legislative session with an updated and refined bill, a broader legislative and business support base, and a fire in our belly. Again, we passed one committee in the Senate and hit a stone wall in the House, where conservative opposition blocked our every attempt to get a fair hearing for our program.
In 2019, we put into motion our strategic shift away from the state-level approach. Over the past half-decade, reluctance to help our industry had become so ingrained in the legislative process that, time and time again, any and all efforts to gain state-level support were dead on arrival. Simply put, for COMPASS in 2019 it wasn’t all about Tallahassee anymore: everything became regional.
Our strategy takes us to the places in Florida that want movie and television production, that recognize the potential for good jobs and the kind of local economic impact that only true motion picture production can generate, and that are willing to act on the innovative ideas that COMPASS is bringing forward.
Our activity in Tallahassee during the 2019 legislative session was limited to one powerful effort – passing the COMPASS-drafted legislative resolution carried by Senate Bill 1808 that lays a foundation for future regional efforts such as ours to reinvigorate motion picture production in the Sunshine State. On April 30th, this resolution was approved by unanimous vote on the floor of the Senate, making it the only film legislation of significance to be approved by the State of Florida in the last eight years.
We actively supported SB 530 and HB 497, the two primary film incentives bills that were under consideration during the 2020 session. Once again, although there was modest support in the Senate, House leadership refused to agenda any legislation relating to film production, effectively postponing state-level assistance for our industry at least one more year.
We also joined with other industry groups to amend SB 1636, which would have eliminated the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Board (FFEAC). Ultimately, the threat to that important agency was removed from the bill.
Looking ahead to the spring of 2020 and beyond, a Tallahassee focus was no longer our priority; our principal area of activity remained advancing the evergreen financing concept that is the basis of Feature Florida Partnerships. We had anticipated continuing to ramp up our advocacy on a county-by-county basis through the first half of 2020; then everything changed in March.
It’s undeniable that in the early part of the year the COVID-19 crisis decelerated our efforts on all fronts. As of September 2020, however, we had resumed our contacts with county and city officials, particularly in South Florida, with the expectation of significantly boosting COMPASS participation on this level by the end of the calendar year.
We are aware of the introduction of Senate Bill 704 and will support its advance by any means possible. Our priority remains to advocate for and support the FFP effort to create regional financing funds, however, and at the beginning of the year we are actively exploring the potential of engaging on that level in Tallahassee during the 2021 session.
COMPASS maintains that Florida’s film community – its actors, working crew, production teams, supplementary personnel, support businesses – ranks among the best in the United States.
To this point, our legislative leadership in Tallahassee has consistently stood in opposition to state film incentives of any kind; it’s obvious that we cannot anticipate an incentives package of substance finding favor at the Capitol in the near term – if ever – in Florida.
“What is needed is a new, outside-the-box approach that can demonstrate to Florida business associations, community and educational leaders, the tourism industry, the public in general, and open-minded legislators that, by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us and supporting our effort on a regional basis, we will be able to bring high-level motion picture production back to the Sunshine State.”
Please note that there are no management, operational, or ownership relationships between Feature Florida Partnerships, Inc. (FFP) and The Congress of Motion Picture Associations of Florida (COMPASS).