It’s been a while, but I’m back and ready to blog! I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend. Over Memorial Day weekend I visited Chicago with my grandparents and brother for the annual International Convention for the Loyal Order of Moose. For those of you who haven’t heard of this self-proclaimed “family fraternity” (which I’m almost positive is most of you), it is simply a group of men and women (a very large group, in fact, that spans the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.) who gather and give back to the community. That being said, the convention was HUGE. Thousands of people came out, and I suddenly realized how much work the Convention Sales Department here at Tampa Bay & Company puts in to make events such as this happen in Tampa. It must require an enormous about of cooperation on the part of Tampa Bay & Company, hotels in the area, as well as the convening group.

On the film front, I’m happy to report that new applications and guidelines for the 2009-2010 Florida Film and Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive program will be available online starting Monday June 1st.  They will start accepting applications on Monday, June 15th and begin certifying productions no earlier than July 1, 2009.  For additional information and application information, click here.

We’d like to welcome our friends over at Shooting Stars Post to the wonderful world of social networking! They are now represented on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Don’t forget to check out the Tampa Bay Film Commission on Facebook and Twitter too!

Great news! The 48-Hour Film Project, one of my favorite film festivals (although I may be biased as a past participant), will be returning to the Bay area this summer! The Project comes to Tampa-St. Petersburg on the weekend of July 17th. Filmmakers from all over the Bay area will compete to see who can make the best short film in only 48 hours. The winning film will go up against films from around the world. This year, teams will be accepted on a first come, first served basis, so hurry and sign up now! For more info, go to the 48-Hour Film Project website.

Don’t forget Lindsey Guthrie, our Film Commission Manager, is addressing the Tampa Film Network this Friday evening at The Art Institute of Tampa at 7:30pm. If you’ve ever had questions about permitting, insurance, road-closures or locations, you don’t want to miss this presentation. See you there!