Hallmark movie films in St. Pete, features local talent

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The sights and sounds of Hollywood were in St. Petersburg this week.

Film crews wrapped up 15 days of shooting a new Hallmark movie starring Sara Rue and Jordon Bridges, son of actor Beau Bridges. Rue plays a character who inherits a community garden that becomes threatened by development.

Producer Elayne Schneiderman Schmidt said St. Pete was the perfect location.

“People in general are friendlier here than other parts of the state. You have beautiful locations, and it just seems you have enough different looks that I could get basically everything I need in the Tampa Bay area,” Schmidt said.

That included crew and actors. Dozens of people who worked on this set are from Pinellas and surrounding counties.

“We usually bring the two stars that have worked on Hallmark before,” Schmidt said. “The rest of our cast -- in our case, 21 characters -- were cast locally, supporting roles and all. All of our extras are local; most of our crew is local.”

Michael Watkins, who lives next door to where crews were filming Friday, said the presence has been a boost for the community.

“We have a great artist community here locally,” Watkins said. “There’s a lot of people in our area that are energetic when it comes to the arts. So anything we can do to help promote the arts is an awesome thing.”

And though this movie, titled "True Love Blooms," wrapped Friday, you can expect Hallmark film crews to be back soon. 

“We actually start filming four weeks from Monday, which is really fast,” Schmidt said. “That one was written for Hawaii, so right now the title is still 'Aloha,' which will change. Yesterday I had a call with creatives, and they agreed to change it to St. Pete. So it’s not just Florida, it’s going to show St. Pete.”

Scouts for that film have been checking out Pinellas County beaches to look for movie-worthy shots.

"True Love Blooms" is set to air on Hallmark on April 6.