An exterior shot of the Don CeSar Hotel

Opened in 1928, The Don CeSar has been welcoming travelers for nearly a century. 

Local Incentives

Local incentive - the business development marketing program


Film St. Pete/Clearwater's (Film SPC) mission, via its Business Development Marketing Program (i.e., Cash Rebate Program), is ultimately to promote our destination to the entertainment industry.

Local Incentive - The Business Development Marketing Program

See Local Incentive Graph here

See SAMPLE Expenditures Report here

Film St. Pete/Clearwater's (Film SPC) mission, via its Business Development Marketing Program (i.e., Cash Rebate Program), is ultimately to promote our destination to the entertainment industry.

Film SPC's Cash Rebate Program pays 10-30% on qualified expenditures, above- and below-the-line, occurring within Pinellas County's 24 municipalities, there is no spending minimum.

To apply for funding, click here to request an application. Based upon the information provided, the Film Commission will determine the cash rebate amount, providing an initial dollar amount. This initial amount is contingent upon the monies spent locally and the production's traditional and social media marketing value.

Requirements: PRIOR to the start of principal photography, file a Business Development Program application with the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission; enter into an agreement with Pinellas County Government; agree upon marketing deliverable items such as the date and location of screening, wording for credits, etc.; and, submit an expenditure report or other industry standard accounting summary along with all invoices and receipts. Film SPC will provide a complete list of all contractually mandated deliverables.

Qualified Spend: Qualified spend includes local expenditures, such as above-the-line and below-the-line wages, location fees, hotels, food, construction materials, props, travel, etc. purchased or rented from a business with a local address. Nonresident wages can qualify through the use of a local production company.       

Summary: This program is administered on a combination of a first-come, first-served basis and a review/approval of the production project by the film commission. Productions are evaluated based on size of the budget, local spend, and marketing value to the county. Pinellas County, St. Petersburg/Clearwater area, offers a Business Development Marketing Program that offers a rebate of up to 30% on qualified expenditures, above-the-line and below-the-line, occurring within Pinellas County's 24 municipalities. The initial 10% is based on local expenditures. An additional 10-20% is based upon tourism deliverables such as saying the name of the area in the project, on screen beauty shots of beaches, landmarks, etc. Based upon the information provided, the Film Commission will determine the cash rebate amount, providing an initial dollar amount. This initial amount is contingent upon the monies spent locally and the production's traditional and social media marketing value. This program does not have a sunset date.

A third party evaluates and estimates a production's value by how Pinellas County is portrayed to boost tourism. For example:

  • References to particular cities/townships, local attractions, landmarks, and other key locations
  • A "thanks to" mention and Film SPC's brand included in the credits (as agreed to between parties)
  • Special appearances and testimonial videos by principal cast or above-the-line crew, endorsing Pinellas County as a place for production (also used in Film SPC marketing)
  • Joint public relations campaigns, promoting the production and Pinellas County, including social media, and
  • A film premiere, promoting the production and Pinellas County for local residents.

All cash rebate funding disbursements are contingent upon a signed contract. An expense report or other industry standard accounting summary must accompany all invoices and receipts. Film SPC will provide a complete list of all contractually mandated deliverables.

Upon the production's completion (i.e., the film/project has been completed), cash rebate payments (i.e., payment timeline) solely depends upon the production's delivery of all required contractual agreements, paperwork, forms, receipts, and invoices. Once those are received, reviewed, and approved, the production may receive payment in as little as 90-days from acknowledgement of all completed items.

Click here to request a Film SPC Cash Rebate Program application.