Coast film industry has big plans for 2015

Coast film industry has big plans for 2015

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - If the South Mississippi film industry seems to be slowing down after a blitz of movie shoots in 2014, don't worry. There's plenty more action about to happen.

More than 40 actors, directors and producers came to the monthly meeting of the Mississippi Coast Film Office to get the scoop on new projects for 2015, and they are about the crank up.

Starting next week, "Shark Lake," starring Dolph Lundgren, will begin filming. The primary location will be at Flint Creek in Wiggins with other shots including Ocean Springs.

The action film will be released in about six months.

Daniel Zirilli, producer, has directed 21 movies including "Black Beauty" and "Blunt Force," both filmed on the Coast.

"I came down here a few years ago and was really impressed by the locations," Zirilli said. "There was a small crew base, but they were very willing and helpful."

That's just the start. State officials are depending on the Coast for help.

"We need the professionalism of the folks on the Coast to prepare crews, cast position that those folks need to fill the positions when they get here," said Bill Webb of the Mississippi Development Authority's Tourism Division. "We're looking at three or four movies back-to-back-to-back between now and May."

Francisco Gonzalez, President of the Mississippi Coast Film Office, has a positive attitude tempered with realism.

"We're a virgin industry in South Mississippi," Gonzalez said. "So therefore, we need to train and train as fast as we can, because once you get three or four movies at a time, it's going to be hard to fill up all the positions."

The potential is enough to inspire some, like Southern Miss Gulf Coast film student Colton Comans, to make it a career.

"It's really exciting. That feeling that you might be the first one in to something that's going to get really big someday," Comans said.

Film professionals say the reason producers are coming to the Coast is the variety of natural and cultural resources, and an incentive program adopted by the state has them coming back for more.

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