TAMPA—Yesterday, on April 25th, the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway was converted into an executive office for a local film project complete with a vintage desk and chair, massive area rug, wingchair, and a vintage television set.
The film project was conceived by Ad Partners, a local ad agency wanting to demonstrate Tampa Bay’s potential to out-of-market clients that world-class ideas can be conceived, shot and fully produced within the Tampa Bay market.
“The purpose of the Selmon Expressway in particular was to stage a master scene with massive production values,” says Jonni Watts, the film’s producer who is also a former veteran with the St. Pete Clearwater Film Commission. “The scene in the film shows a man working at a desk in the middle of the Selmon Expressway, and it is the vastness of the Selmon behind him that adds a sense of desolation and cinema grandeur to the idea.”
Joe Waggoner, CEO of Tampa – Hillsborough County Expressway Authority comments, “The film was a unique opportunity to showcase our city’s state-of-the-art infrastructure while helping a local ad agency promote its creative and production capabilities. It’s not often both opportunities present themselves in such a unique way.”
In addition to special permitting and approval, the film also required the safety of extra-duty police officers to block both entrances of the Selmon, while a third served as chaperone during the film shoot, which lasted 4 hours.
“Tampa is a unique area with so many interesting set opportunities for film makers,” says Skeek Allen, the film’s director. “Even local commercial production work is often produced out-of-market – and in so many cases that is completely unnecessary. Tampa Bay has many location opportunities – from Ybor City to the beaches, to downtown, and in our case, the upper deck of the Selmon.”
The film will likely be submitted to Tampa Bay’s next Gasparilla International Film Festival in 2018. In the meantime, the film will be used as a digital promotional tool.