On location in Florida with Noelle Stevenson
Noelle Stevenson has been Vice President of the Film, Music, Fashion & Create division of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/ Broward County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) since 2010. The division’s initiatives add over USD173 million a year to the county’s economy – over USD42 million of which comes from film.
Tell us about yourself Noelle.
I have always had a passion for photography and have had a lens in my hand since I was very young (I built my first camera when I was 12!). My love for photography developed to include all facets of the industry, primarily creating brands, advertising, working closely with music, fashion and the creative culture. It didn’t take me long to realise that I wanted to be part of this universe.
I started off in the hospitality industry and, after returning to the US from Greece, I attended Emerson College in Boston. The college, renowned for its film, advertising and marketing degrees, felt like home. When I graduated I moved to New York and then finally to Miami. I was asked to join the fashion company Diesel Jeans where I headed the Sales, Marketing, PR and Advertising division for nine years.
I was then recruited by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to head up their lifestyle/design hotels, film, music and fashion initiatives. In 2010, the CVB asked me to join their team to create a new division focusing on film. Shortly after we added new initiatives and programmes to the division such as music, shopping, fashion and finally, create. Create is our newest addition which covers cultural tourism.
What does your role as Vice President involve?
It includes encouraging projects to film in our region, expanding and attracting film and music festivals, promoting our nightlife and concert venues and developing shopping, fashion and cultural tourism programmes. This includes the CVB’s overall sponsorship agreements. I also continue to promote our film and music incentives and oversee the CVB’s partnership programmes. The division continues to grow under the CVB’s umbrella and we are now referred to as the Underground brand. So to sum it up, we have Underground Film, Underground Music, Underground Fashion and Underground Create.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love knowing each day will be different from the last and that we are creating an innovative environment. The best part for me is constantly looking for creative ways to add products and attractions to spark curiosity and attract new visitors. Greater Fort Lauderdale has become a key, all-year-round, destination for work and play.
Why is Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County a good filming destination?
It consists of 31 municipalities which are an amazing playground for film. Our locations are diverse, with some truly unique natural landscapes, and can pretty much double for anywhere. You can be filming in Rockport, Maine in the morning and be filming in Tombstone, Arizona in the afternoon without leaving Greater Fort Lauderdale. This has been a huge plus for various film projects. Look at our sizzle reel (www.sunny.org/film) to get a taste of what I mean.
Our crews are primarily based in the city of Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County and have many years of experience in the industry. There is a solid infrastructure here too plus the one stop permitting system and dynamic cash rebates for projects that qualify. We have numerous facilities from production offices to studios and large sound stages. We are extremely film friendly and productions have been very appreciative of the overall benefits received when filming here.
What locations are most commonly used?
The list is endless: our parks, the city’s downtown, our beaches, horse country, the everglades, waterway canals and yes, our mountain in Vista park! Our range of locations provide projects with the opportunity to stay in one place while filming the world. That is a huge plus and reduces moving costs drastically.
What locations can the area double for?
We have doubled for Maine, Louisiana’s Bayou, the Amazon, Chicago, Argentina, Arizona, Canada, Jamaica, Venice in Italy to name a few.
What are the advantages of filming in the region?
Apart from our stunning locations, the one stop permitting system is a quick and friendly process and no fees are charged for permitting. We provide assistance with scouting locations, finding film friendly accommodation and offer crew and cast all sorts of perks. The famous Production Preferred Pass provides various discounts when you are filming in town. We also liaise with local police across all our municipalities to ensure everything is handled correctly. We are available 24/7.
In terms of incentives, we have both producer deals available with the P3 Partner Card as well as a cash rebate. The P3 is our preferred production pass which offers various discounts when filming in our destination. You can contact us at any time to ask for the P3. The cash rebate film incentive for qualified projects is availbale once the project is fully funded. It is based on the overall economic impact of the project on the county. There are other elements factored in but this is the overall criteria. We encourage filmmakers to contact us to discuss projects that might apply.
What has been your most difficult location assignment?
A production performing stunts across half open bridges. It was an adrenaline rush but, as always, we got it done!
Thank you Noelle. It has been great talking to you and finding out what makes Florida such a great location filming destination.
Click here to contact Noelle.
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