Martin Kove from ‘Cobra Kai’ is making a movie in Pinellas

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TAMPA ― Neither pain nor fear are allowed to exist in his dojo, but he seems to be okay with love existing in restaurants.

Martin Kove, who plays bully sensei John Kreese in three Karate Kid movies and the ongoing Cobra Kai series, is in Pinellas County to film A Taste of Love. The movie and tourism commercial hybrid is funded by a $500,000 incentive approved by the Pinellas County Commission.

The production shoots through July 30.

According to a press release, A Taste of Love “tells the story of a struggling out of work culinary network TV chef who returns to her hometown to visit her parents and sort out her future. She arrives home to find her family’s multi-generational restaurant is up for sale because it can’t compete with contemporary cuisine.

“Along the way of trying to save the restaurant, she rekindles her father’s love of cooking, bumps into her childhood sweetheart, surprises the Culinary Network, and makes us laugh and cry.”

Kove stars as the childhood sweetheart’s father.

The childhood sweetheart is played by his real-life son Jesse Kove, who was Kreese’s childhood bully in season three of Cobra Kai.

And Erin Cahill stars as the network chef. Cahill has appeared in several Hallmark films, including Sleigh Bells Ring and The Secret Ingredient.

Cahill is not the only Hallmark connection.

Producer Elayne Schmidt is responsible for bringing three Hallmark movies to the area, including one that starts shooting next month.

Lincoln Lageson, who executive produced Hallmark’s True Love Blooms with Schmidt, is also producing A Taste of Love.

A Taste of Love was developed by Tampa-based production company Digital Caviar.

Digital Caviar initially met with the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission to discuss receiving a production incentive that offers up to 10 percent back on local expenditures.

But film commissioner Tony Armer presented them with another option: He would seek approval of a $500,000 “enhanced incentive” for the film if they worked with him to tweak the script so that it doubles as a commercial for Pinellas tourism.

It now features tourism spots such as the Fenway in Dunedin and the Dalí museum as locations and includes dialogue that sells viewers on visiting each.

Digital Caviar must fund and complete the movie to receive the incentive.

The movie is scheduled to be released in early 2022.

This is the second production promoting Pinellas tourism and funded with tax dollars.

Visit Florida kicked in $275,000 and the Pinellas County Commission approved of another $275,000 to make Life’s Rewards, which is now streaming on Prime.

The eight 10-15 minute episodes follow the exploits of a high-profile wealth manager’s privileged son living off hotel points that allow him to stay for six months at the Don CeSar on St. Pete Beach.

It also showcases downtown St. Petersburg, Safety Harbor and Tarpon Springs and features dialogue promoting each.

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