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Sunday, Apr 21, 2019
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A Steinbrenner movie with Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick Jr. will be filmed in Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay area's resurgence as a movie-making destination continues next week. And the next film to be made here boasts some big time names.

Pinstripe Productions, helmed by the late-George Steinbrenner's grandson and Tampa native Robert Molloy, begins the first of three productions slated to be filmed here.

I Saw a Man With Yellow Eyes stars Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick, Jr., who starred in both Dolphin Tale movies made in Clearwater.

According to paperwork filed with the Hillsborough County Commission while seeking pre-approval for a production incentive, the film is about a teenage girl with schizophrenia struggling "with vivid and terrifying hallucinations as she begins to suspect her neighbor has kidnapped a child, while her parents try desperately to hide their own tragic secrets."

The first day of filming will occur in St. Petersburg on Monday, according to St.Petersburg-Clearwater film commissioner Tony Armer.

"They will be in Pinellas for a couple of weeks," he said.

Locales are private homes and businesses, Armer added, and until the production files for his county's incentive that gives back 10 percent of what it spent in Pinellas, capped at $500,000, he will not know the local spend.

Still, 80 percent of the movie will be made in Hillsborough County, its film commissioner Tyler Martinolich said, with production beginning there on April 21 and running through May 13.

While most locations are private, there will be filming on some public properties throughout downtown Tampa.

In Hillsborough, the production pre-applied for an incentive for up to $200,000. Similarly, to across the bridge, the incentive program gives 10 percent back with a $500,000 cap. That means Pinstripe will spend up to $2 million in Hillsborough.

According to Pinstripe's incentive application, the money will be spent in Hillsborough on over 107 crew hires, 535 hotel room nights, and food and equipment.

The Tampa Bay area has been busy with film productions.

True Love Blooms shot in St. Petersburg in February premiered on the Hallmark Channel this month. A second Hallmark movie, Love in the Sun, is currently being made on both side of the bridges. And another six Hallmark movies might still come to the area.

Films made here last year include Skyman, directed by The Blair Witch Project's Dan Myrick and the semi-biographical Zola about a stripper's crazy and nearly deadly weekend in Tampa. Zola is produced by A24, which was behind the Academy Award-winning movie Moonlight

Pinstripe has another two productions planed for Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in the coming year - the web series Southern Gothic and the movie Riff Raff.

"Tampa has long been a sleeping giant," Martinolich said. "We have the resources, crew, local political support, and a welcoming community.

"This past fiscal year we have seen a 50 percent uptick in production activity and economic spending. And this is only just the beginning. Several other high-profile projects are on the horizon, some of which will be filming later this summer."

Added Armer, "I'm getting calls from people in Miami and other parts of the country asking, 'What is going on over there?' They want to know why everyone is coming here to film. St. Petersburg and Clearwater have developed a reputation as a place to make films."

Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] or follow @PGuzzoTimes.

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