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For a film, it's history in the faking

Tampa and Cuba scenes are shot at the nature park.

Published May 6, 2007


FORT DE SOTO - A new film on the History Channel, First Intervention, is a re-enactment of the Spanish-American War, featuring scenes in Cuba and Tampa.

Only here's a little secret: Most of it was shot at Fort De Soto Park.

The history film is one of a growing number being shot locally. It's a business that pumps about $9-million into the area's economy each year, said Jennifer Parramore, director of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission.

Shooting in the bay area might seem like an obvious choice, considering the Port of Tampa's involvement in the war, but it was the versatility of the landscape at Fort De Soto that sold producers.

That's not surprising, said Parramore, who says that Fort De Soto is the area's "No. 1 most frequently used spot for production."

Alan Brown, who works for NFL Films and was the supervising producer for First Intervention, said the budget limited the number of locations they could travel to.

"From my standpoint, we were able to get so many different looks that it was essential to shoot there, " he said of the park, which portrayed both Tampa and Cuba and served as a backdrop in campground and battle scenes.

Fort De Soto's size allows film crews to access large areas that are remote but still close to airports, restaurants and hotels.

"People know that we're film-friendly. We're not trying to chase them off because we understand the big picture, " said Jim Wilson, park supervisor of Fort De Soto Park. "It's good for the community, and if it's good for the community, it's good for the park."

Nick Johnson can be reached at or 893-8361.

Fast Facts:


Film to air Tuesday

The Spanish-American War: First Intervention will air at 9 p.m. Tuesday on the History Channel.

[Last modified May 5, 2007, 18:38:50]

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