|Russ House & Visitor Center|
The prehistoric sharks are coming to Jackson County!
Marianna and Jackson County have been named as the film location for the new action/horror movie, "Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre."
Directed by Jim Wynorski - best known for such horror and science fiction films as "Not of this Earth" and "Dynocroc vs. Supergator" - the movie is the latest in shark-related projects to enter production since the unexpected and phenomenal success of the low budget horror flick, "Sharknado."
|Merritt's Mill Pond|
The film is not likely to win any Academy Awards, but it does represent solid progress in the Jackson County Tourist Development Council's efforts to promote the area as a location for the movie industry. According to TDC Director Pam Swift Fuqua, representatives from two different film companies have visited the county since early December and her office has received email questions from numerous other movie and television production firms.
|Florida Caverns State Park|
Tens of thousands of dollars are being spent locally for hotel rooms, supplies, food and services. According to Fuqua, Madison's Warehouse Restaurant on Madison Street in Marianna has landed catering services for the film and will be supplying its award-winning local cuisine to the various film locations throughout this month. She also indicated that the filmmakers are renting boats and other services from Cave Adventurers, the diving and boat company that operates on Merritt's Mill Pond. "They even needed local banking services," she noted.
"Sharkansas" is the second full-length movie to be filmed in Marianna and Jackson County. The 1989 film "The Spring" was filmed in part at Florida Caverns State Park. It tells the story of two archaeologists searching for Ponce de Leon's lost Fountain of Youth.
TDC Director Fuqua hints that further projects may be in the works. "The efforts are coming to fruition from all angles," she said, noting that the TDC has been engaged in an effort to promote Jackson County, its people, scenery, resources and businesses across the state and nation.
|Crystal Clear Spring in Jackson County|
"The response from the producers has been absolutely phenomenal," Fuqua said. "Everyone thinks Florida is just palm trees, but up here we have a great variety of resources.” It was those resources - caves, crystal clear water for filming underwater scenes, friendly people and availability of affordable hotels and services - that brought the movie and its hundreds of thousands of dollars in economic impact to Jackson County.
Chris Hawthorne, Park Manager at Florida Caverns State Park, has been heavily involved in arranging filming locations for "Sharkansas." Edd Sorenson of Cave Adventurers took film crews to survey locations around Merritt's Mill Pond and is providing additional help as well. Chuck Hatcher, Jackson County Parks Director, is assisting with locations at Blue Springs.
The actors and production crews are expected to be in the area through the 28th of this month.