South Florida is giving Hollywood a run for its money. A state-of-the art film and television production facility opened in Overtown on Monday, hoping to attract more filmmakers and producers.
Entertainment giant Viacom is vaulting Miami more into the international entertainment business, opening the giant sound stage in the heart of the city's Overtown neighborhood.
"On a project-by-project basis, or production-by-production basis, we estimate that we will be hiring in the hundreds every time we do a show in this studio and we estimate that 80 percent of the year it is going to be occupied," said Pierluigi Gazzolo with Viacom.
They'll be big time productions from MTV to BET. The Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, a branch of city government, built and owns the studio.
"Now when you go to the Miami blue sky and the Miami blue water, there is no reason to pack up and go home and go to LA and go to North Carolina or go to Atlanta or go to New Orleans. This is a state-of-the-art facility," said Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
The facility is 80,000 square feet in all, including office space, editing suites and other accessory rooms, making it one of the largest production facilities in South Florida.
All kinds of productions happen in Miami. "Miami Vice" may be the most famous show taped in the area. "Burn Notice," a hit on cable for seven seasons, was shot in Miami as well.
But incentive dollars from the state have dried up, slowing the pace of productions.
Former "Burn Notice" producer EK Keratsis is hoping this facility bumps business up, "It shows that level of the sort of Hollywood. We have a real studio, a real working facility. Many times, we work out of warehouses before having a place to actually shoot, so it is a great thing."