Produced by Chel Tassey, Rob Tassey, Kim Stryker, Christy Lee Taylor and Barbara S. Lee
Burt Reynolds' students to star in local turtle-poaching movie

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 19, 2009

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JUPITER A movie about turtle-poaching starring local actors trained by Burt Reynolds will be filmed in north county in the next few months.

Turkles, with a budget of about $500,000, will be about a group of 12-year-olds who discover a looted turtle nest on the beach. The movie trails the children as they track down the poachers, said Frank Eberling, director of the 100-minute film.

Frank Eberling, director of Turkles, announces the production schedule at Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum Friday.

"Palm Beach County has all the things the movie business needs. Jungles, beaches, sunshine, mansions. We will show what Palm Beach County has from the grass-roots level," Eberling said. Filming starts July 13 and will take 30 days, he said.

About 60 adult and child actors will be hired from the Burt Reynolds' Institute for Film and Theatre. Palm Beach Community College students will work as interns and earn college credits.

The film will feature the Loggerhead Marinelife Center and other north county locations, Eberling said.

Statewide, the film industry generates about 208,000 jobs and about $18 billion annually, according to a University of West Florida study. In Palm Beach County, the industry generates about $100 million annually.

But the economic slump has brought cutbacks statewide to tax incentives to attract movies. The county's $548,000 film budget is being cut by 15 percent this year, said Film Commissioner Chuck Elderd.

"We're hoping this will attract more movie business here," Elderd said.

Filming locally is a good idea, said Dreyfoos School of the Arts film and creative writing student Charlotte Gorant, attending the announcement Friday at the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum.

"I would rather film in my own back yard than go to New York City or Los Angeles," Gorant said.