Playing catch up today after a week out of the office for business meetings and a little R&R in the islands. (If I owe you an email, it's coming...I promise!) I spent the greater part of last week attending the annual Film Florida meetings in Miami Beach. A very special thanks to our host - Miami Beach Office of Film and Event Production Management.

A large part of our annual meeting is the election of a new Board of Directors as well as new chairs for various councils. I'm proud to have been named the Chair of the Film Commissioner's Council. I will serve this post for one year and can only hope to achieve half the success of our former chair and St Pete/Clearwater Film Commissioner, Jennifer Parramore.

Along with meetings focused on legislative strategies and marketing opportunities, Film Florida hosted the 2009 Film Florida Legend Awards. The Legend Award – launched in 2006 – honors Sunshine State pioneers in the film, television and production industry. The Film Florida Legends Award is to honor those who have made a significant impact on film in Florida – whether behind the scenes or in front of the camera.

This year's honorees are William Grefe (some of you might remember meeting Bill at last year's Gasparilla International Film Festival right here in Tampa), Michelle Marx, Errol Falcon and Mike McGowan Sr (posthumously). No photos available just yet but I will get them up soon.

A quick shout out to our friends at Tigerlily Media, who were the first recipients of  the Don Davis Film Finishing Fund for their documentary film, Thespians. A portion of Thespians was filled here in Tampa during the 2008 Florida State Thespian Festival at the Tampa Convention Center. TigerLily’s  principals Warren Skeels and Brenda Egedy Kolb were on hand to accept the  $1,500 grant to help complete the film. The award presentation was a part of the Legend Award ceremony in Miami Beach last week.

Today, we mourn the loss of Billy Mays, pitchman extroidonaire and a wonderful member of the Tampa Bay production community. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

One final note - The Tampa Bay Film Commission will be closed Friday July, 3rd in observation of the 4th of July and will re-open for normal business hours on Monday July 6th. 

Stay tuned for more film related Tampa Florida news!