Tampa Bay rolls out the red carpet
July 14, 2016 by Kevin Wiatrowski
TAMPA (July 7, 2016) – Movie stars Bryan Cranston and Benjamin Bratt walked the red carpet outside the historic Tampa Theatre on July 6 during an invitation-only private screening of “The Infiltrator,” a major motion picture set in and filmed in Tampa.
Visit Tampa Bay co-hosted the screening of the film based on Tampa resident Robert Mazur’s 2009 memoir about going deep undercover in the money laundering operations by then-Colombia drug lord Pablo Escobar. Mazur’s investigation, which was based in Tampa, ultimately brought down the London-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International, at the time among the largest private banks in the world.
The historic Tampa Theatre, an ornate 1926 movie palace located in downtown Tampa, hosted the screening – the first official public viewing of the thriller.
Stars Bryan Cranston and Benjamin Bratt and director Brad Furman attended the event and praised Tampa a great place for making the film. Many Tampa landmarks appear in the film, including the Tampa Theatre and the former federal courthouse (now a Le Méridien hotel) where members of the Medillín Cartel and BCCI were convicted of money laundering and other crimes.
On July 7, Visit Tampa Bay hosted a media tour of Tampa locations that played a prominent role in the story of Mazur’s investigation and BCCI’s fall. That list includes downtown’s former federal courthouse, the former BCCI offices (now the Aloft Tampa Downtown hotel), and The Columbia restaurant in Ybor City. Reporters also meet both prosecutors and defense attorneys who played key roles in the trials set in motion by Mazur’s investigation.
The film, produced by Broad Green Pictures, has its world premiere in New York July 11. It hits U.S. theaters on July 13. It is scheduled for release in Canada in August, the U.K. and Brazil in September. Filming took place in London, Tampa and Miami.
“We are proud to see our great city featured in this major motion picture,” said Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “Tampa Bay’s unique mix of history and locations is making it a magnet for film and television shoots like ‘The Infiltrator’ and Ben Affleck’s upcoming ‘Live by Night’ that help us tell our story to the world.”
“The Infiltrator” is based on the true story of Tampa resident Robert Mazur, a U.S. Customs investigator, who infiltrated the Escobar’s Medellín drug cartel in 1986 posing as money-laundering businessman Bob Musella. Ultimately, Mazur’s work led to the indictment of more than 100 drug lords and the collapse of BCCI, the global banking enterprise that laundered their money.
“The Infiltrator” in 2015 was filmed at more than 20 locations around Tampa, including the Franklin Exchange building and the Tampa Theatre in downtown, Cephas’ Hot Shot in Ybor City, Port Tampa Bay, and the Derby Lane greyhound track in St. Petersburg. Parts of the movie were also shot in South Tampa’s Parkland Estates neighborhood, home to notorious mobster Santo Trafficante. Filming included five night shoots and three large stunt sequences.
Mazur’s memoir, “The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel,” published by Little, Brown. The book has been released in paperback.