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Tampa Bay rides a dolphin's tail

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  • | 12:35 p.m. September 29, 2010
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Think back to the days when “Cocoon” was filmed in Pinellas County a quarter-century ago and you can recall what a great setting the Tampa Bay area was for big-budget movies. It could happen again this fall, thanks to a special dolphin.

Principal photography is set to begin this week on “Dolphin Tale,” a feature film by Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment based on the story of Winter, who received a prosthetic tail at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The dolphin's story received worldwide attention, spawning a children's book and documentary.

Film crews will spend several weeks working on the new movie, which Alcon expects to be as big a hit as its last two productions, “The Book of Eli” and “The Blind Side.” Besides Winter's local presence, a new $242 million tax credit package for film production approved this year by the Florida Legislature helped land the project.

Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson will produce “Dolphin Tale,” which is being written and directed by Charles Martin Smith. As a bit of movie trivia, Smith and “Cocoon” director Ron Howard were actors in the 1973 film classic “American Graffiti.”

While the new state tax credits are expected to create a boon for film and television production on the Gulf Coast and statewide, they may have come too late for one local industry position. Lindsey Guthrie, manager of the Tampa Bay Film Commission for the last three years, resigned from her post earlier this month. No explanation was offered and no immediate plans are in place to fill her position.


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