Monthly Archives: February 2015

SB2: What We Learned About Regional Filmmaking

Panelists of SB2: Behind the Lens. From left to right: Dr. Larry Thopmson, Jeanne Corcoran, Tony Stopperan, Joe Restaino, Debbie Meihls.

Panelists of SB2: Behind the Lens. From left to right: Dr. Larry Thopmson, Jeanne Corcoran, Tony Stopperan, Joe Restaino, Debbie Meihls. Photo credit: Evan Sigmund.

SRQ | The Magazine hosted SB2: Behind the Lens this Wednesday at the Powel Crosley Estate to discuss the importance of regional film development and what we are doing as a community to attract large scale productions and foster local talent and creativity through film.

As the program opened, the evening’s sponsors drew our collective attention to the importance of film. Not only by the ability to connect each of us to art, but to connect us to a place. Representing Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Elliott Falcione reminded us of the profound impact of film on tourism. People travel to see where their favorite movies and television shows are filmed. It generates interest in a region and aldo spurs travel to the places seen in movies – which translates to economic support of a destination.

Joe Grano, president and founder of Next-Mark, a full-service marketing and communications firm in Sarasota, is a very proud supporter of film in our community. Next-Mark sponsors the Sarasota Film Festival every year and recognizes the ability of film and the arts the strengthen or region.

Our panel represented some of Sarasota and Bradenton’s most steadfast supporters of the industry: creators of independent films and advocates for programs and infrastructure that create opportunities for filmmaking in our region.

Meet the Panelists:

  • Jeanne Corcoran: Sarasota County Film Commission
  • Debbie Meihls: Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Joe Restaino: Skyway Film Festival
  • Tony Stopperan: Independent Film Producer
  • Larry Thompson: Ringling College of Art and Design

Here’s what we learned:

The Ringling College of Art and Design Soundstage: what will large-scale film productions be on the lookout for and how does the college plan to attractive to them?

The answer is simple. In an industry that is based upon acting, the Ringling approach is authenticity. Being a good partner and being trustworthy are paramount to attracting sustainable business. It also doesn’t hurt that the facility will be state-of-the-art, in a desirable destination and surrounded by people that are inspired, creative and eager for opportunity. Larry Thopmson addressed a question from the audience on how the college plans to maintain their commitment to student work when the prospects of multi-million dollar projects are scheduled for the soundstage. Even the structural planning of the soundstage addressed this very question. The soundstage will house multiple recording areas to accommodate the smaller-scale film productions initiated by students when large projects are underway. When the larger studio is not accommodating an outside production company, that facility will be dedicated to the use of students. And when there are major projects, it is his mission to be sure that Ringling students are in the studios – working alongside and learning from large-scale film productions.

Panelists participate in the discussion at SB2: Behind the Lens. Photo Credit: Evan Sigmund

Panelists participate in the discussion at SB2: Behind the Lens. Photo Credit: Evan Sigmund

What is the state of funding and incentives for filmmakers and television in our local and state budget?

Jeanne Corcoran and Debbie Meihls shared the state of affairs for current governmental funding and tax incentives for production companies within the state of Florida. Comparatively, Florida doesn’t offer significant incentives to attract large-scale and television crews as other states. Though the recent past budgeting has brought on projects like Burn Notice, without forward-thinking parameters on how to best budget to prolong the funds available, we are left with little to offer production companies throughout the fiscal year. One of the most thought provoking questions to Debbie and Jeanne came from a member of the audience (himself a filmmaker) who asked why the regional film commissions don’t pool their resources together and join forces in order to compete with the likes of Miami and other regional hotspots for film and production. The answer boils down to red tape. With the budgeting of such programs coming from county and city taxes, the jurisdiction does not allow for “pooling” of resources. However, that doesn’t mean that such organizations should not work together to maximize their impact. According to Jeanne Corcoran, the film commissioners from around the region to discuss how to best utilize the tools and funds available within each jurisdiction for the greater good of the area. After all, attracting film to our region is good for all of us.

Jeanne Corcoran expounds on the mission of the Sarasota County Film Commission. Photo Credit: Evan Sigmund

Jeanne Corcoran expounds on the mission of the Sarasota County Film Commission. Photo Credit: Evan Sigmund

Advice to Filmmakers

No panel on regional film development would be complete without hearing from the creative minds developing the films that we love. Tony Stopperan and Joe Restaino provided their insights on the importance of the film festivals. Not only are they a celebration of film and an chance for collaboration – a proverbial “meeting of the minds,” but they also draw attention and awareness to independent films. While creativity is always king in the arts, Tony Stopperan offered advice to a member of the audience who asked for guidance on how to best access governmental and private financial support. As the force behind the film, it is just as much the filmmaker’s responsibility to know the business side in order to garner the financial support and backing from investors. Committing and sticking to budgets, deadlines and schedules is just as critical as the creative passion that it takes to make a film. In the end, like almost all passion projects, filmmaking boils down to work ethic.

We learned a great deal and look forward to the coming season of film festivals in the area. If you love independent and local films sign up to follow SRQ Backlot, our blog that is dedicated to news and projects in the regional film industry.

Joseph Grano, second from left, represented sponsor Next-Mark as opening presenter.

Joseph Grano, second from left, represented sponsor Next-Mark as opening presenter. Photo credit: Evan Sigmund.

Special thanks to our sponsors of SB2: Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, CS&L CPAs and Next-Mark.

To view photos from SB2: Behind the Lens, click here.

Don’t miss out on the March SB2: Creating A Vibrant Bayfront on March 19, 2015 at 7:30 AM at the Francis featuring renowned landscape architect  and keynote speaker Thomas Balsley, FASLA. To learn about the event and purchase tickets, visit


Saks Fifth Avenue Club Shares SRQ ACCESS With Members

The 2015 Edition of SRQ ACCESS greets members of The Fifth Avenue Club at Saks Fifth Avenue.

The 2015 Edition of SRQ ACCESS greets members of The Fifth Avenue Club at Saks Fifth Avenue.

At SRQ we like to think of SRQ ACCESS as the essential welcome guide to our great region. And thanks to Saks Fifth Avenue at the Mall at University Town Center, we aren’t the only ones!

The newly opened store is home to The Fifth Avenue Club, which is one of the finest examples of customer service we have ever seen. Designed as a customized shopping experience, The Fifth Avenue Club is open to men and women looking for a premier shopping event (complete with their very own consultants). Donna Tallon oversees the club’s management and mission, “The Fifth Avenue Club is a personal shopping experience with you and a specialized stylist in a beautiful, private setting. We set up the room prior to your appointment with everything from shoes to clothing based upon your style needs.”

When members of The Fifth Avenue Club relocate to the Sarasota area and visit the local Saks store, they’re greeted with the high level of customer service to be expected of the retail company. And, as an added detail and personal touch, Tallon ensures they’re appropriately welcomed with a copy of SRQ ACCESS. “Providing SRQ ACCESS is another way to service our new clients to the area, it helps them know more about their new home!”

While we can’t promise that picking up a copy of SRQ ACCESS will make you as fashionable as a member of The Fifth Avenue Club, we can ensure that with your very own copy you’ll be equipped to live local.

SRQ ACCESS is available on newsstands now.

Why You Should Be at SB2 On February 18th


We are so excited about the upcoming SB2: Behind the Lens on February 18th at 5 PM. This is going to be one for the history books. So right now, stop what you are doing and go to and purchase your tickets. Once you’ve done that, continue reading.

Here’s why we are counting down the days until the 18th:

1. Our panelists have the inside scoop on the local film scene.
And that’s the point, right? Each SB2 we bring in the best and brightest to help understand key issues facing our region and also to enlighten us on the most current happenings that affect us. This month we’ll hear from Larry Thompson of Ringling College of Art and Design, Debbie Meihls of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (and she’s also the Bradenton Area Film Commissioner), Joseph Restaino – the Artistic Director of Skyway Film Festival, Jeanne Corcoran of the Sarasota County Film Commission and Tony Stopperan, owner and operator of House of John Productions. The amount of talent, experience and vision in this group of panelists is incredible.

2. Soundstage anyone?
We’ve been hearing lots of a buzz about Sarasota needing to have a soundstage. Ringling College of Art and Design is building one that will open in 2016. President Larry Thompson will have all the details about this 30,000 square-foot-building and its impact on film development in the region.

3. The Powel Crosley.
Need we say more? The iconic estate is draped in beauty. It is intrenched in history. It is a local landmark. And, it’s the venue for February’s SB2. This is a gorgeous setting that you don’t want to miss. After the panel draws to a close, guests may take self guided tours to explore the property. If you need a little afternoon inspiration, take a look at the Powel Crosley’s site and imagine yourself there on February 18th.

To find out more about the event, our incredible panelists and to purchase tickets, visit our website.

Special thanks to our sponsors, Next-Mark and Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for bringing this symposium to life.

See you on the 18th!

Foodies Rejoice! February Is Hot off the Press

February 2015 SRQHere comes February! Hard to believe that the first month of the New Year has already come to a close, but never fear – we have the perfect remedy for a new month, the brand new edition of SRQ! And make no mistake, this edition is (dare we say) tasty.

Our February cover greets you with a tall drink to usher in happy hour – and the accompanying story is the tippler’s guide to the most intriguing libations in town. The second course is a heaping portion of the most delicious and daring flavors in our fair city. Trust us, you’ll be back for seconds! Don’t miss the globetrotting feature, “Around the World: One Bite at a Time” featuring flavors from around the world on the menu right here in our own backyard.

As always, we are proud to present to you all of the timely local issues, ideas and of-the-moment-trends we can fit into one issue. Pick up a copy on newsstands or subscribe to receive your very own copy each month!

Cheers & happy reading!

SRQ Studios Hosts Poetry Out Loud with NewGate School

Poetry Out Loud judges and NewGate faculty with Dylan Caruso (Center Left) and Ben Bogard (Center Right).

Poetry Out Loud judges and NewGate faculty with Dylan Caruso (Center Left) and Ben Bogard (Center Right). Photo credit: Evan Sigmund

Today, SRQ Studios were filled with poetry and applause. Students from NewGate School participated in Poetry Out Loud, a nation-wide poetry recitation competition supported by The National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation. NewGate students in grades 9-12 participated in this year’s program.

The goal is to teach students about poetry by fostering a relationship with poems. Amy Kremer, English Teacher at NewGate shared the classroom preparation that takes place prior to the competition. “Each student selects two poems from thousands on their website. We love that the students make 100% of the choice in their selection. Rather than going through each one, we encourage the students to really understand the meanings of the poems when making their choice. This is a great program because the students begin to encourage each other. That’s a cool thing to see with teenagers.”

NewGate student recites "The Conqueror Worm" by Edgar Allen Poe.

NewGate student Jaime Rishi recites “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allen Poe.

When asking a few students why they chose their selection, they each responded with great though. “I chose ‘The End of Science Fiction’ by Lisel Mueller because I disagree with it. I love sci-fi and reciting it created a mental controversy for me,” said Evelyn BaldwinPaige Mantone walked us through her preparation for today’s competition, “I spent my winter break with my poems. After winter break, I read them every night for half an hour.”

NewGate teacher Amy Kremer congratulates Dylan Caruso for winning the Poetry Out Loud competition.

NewGate teacher Amy Kremer congratulates Dylan Caruso for winning the Poetry Out Loud competition.

The competition was judged by two SRQ staff members, Phil Lederer and Shane Donglasan and Ringling College of Art and Design student Anna Babayeva. Phil Lederer elaborated on the judging process, “Judging was both more difficult and more rewarding than I anticipated. And while I was impressed by the student’s poise and preparation, perhaps the most memorable aspect was the air of excited cooperation in the room. They were in competition, but still all in it together.”

Dylan Caruso won first place in today’s competition for his recitation of “Bereavement” by William Lisle Bowles and “Broken Promises” by David Kirby. He will represent NewGate as he advances to Tallahassee for the state competition on February 28th. There he will be prepared to recite three poems. “It is nerve wracking, but I’m feeling excited. I’ve been working on this for three years. My first  year, I didn’t know my second poem. Last year I was the runner-up, but I’m glad that I finally did it.” Congratulations to Ben Bogard for being selected as this year’s runner-up.

On behalf of the SRQ Team, congratulations to all contestants! You have inspired us to take a few moments to enjoy a poem today.

For more information about NewGate School and their initiatives, click here. If you, too, are inspired to read a poem today, check out the Poetry Out Loud website and enjoy a few stanzas. To view a photo gallery from Poetry Out Loud at SRQ Studios, click here.

If you would like to book the SRQ Studios for a performance, corporate summit or event, contact Mary Darby Guidroz at 941-365-7702 x221.