Filmmakers opt to build fake Ybor City -- in Georgia

- The sight of an Ybor City mockup being built in Brunswick, Georgia, is enough to make public officials use the strongest PC, but PG, language out there.

"We are sending jobs to Georgia," said Dale Gordon of the Tampa-Hillsborough Film Commission.  "High-wage jobs."

Gordon says she tried for two and a half years to woo Ben Affleck's production team to shoot 'Live by Night' in the place where the story of a mobster in Tampa's Latin quarter is actually set: Ybor City.

"He toured Ybor with a lot of the city officials," said Gordon. "This was our opportunity, our Miami Vice. Our Dolphin Tale. This was going to expose the world to Ybor City and to Tampa Bay."

Why did Ybor City lose out?

The state of Georgia gives a 30-percent tax credit for the cost of on-location shoots.

The state of Florida gives none.

Affleck's team could save $6 million for their three months of production.  In other words, they would have to be stupid to shoot their movie about Tampa in Tampa.

"I am pretty disappointed," said State Rep. Ed Narain (D-Tampa). "I am thinking about the money that could be coming into the district right now."

Ybor's representative to the state House says incentives passed in 2010 dried up long ago, and that an effort to re-establish them this year didn't happen partly because the session ended early.

He expects a new effort next year.

"This is the second film in the last three years that should have been filmed in Florida but went somewhere else because we didn't have the incentives to match," said Narain.

Brunswick estimates the movie's 300 workers will spend up to $45,000 per day on food, hotels and entertainment as they create what may be the city's largest economic impact ever.

Their Ybor City will only consist of a few blocks, but they're happy to make a buck on our area's good name.

"The state of Florida is not even in the game," lamented Gordon.

Actual shooting will take place for four days in November.

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