It’s been a while since filmmakers have seen Flagler and St. Johns counties as a place to create silver screen magic, but Marineland Dolphin Adventure is helping to put the first coast back on the map with a little help from some of the attraction’s biggest stars. Filming for Bernie the Dolphin took place in early 2018 with a wonderful story about family, saving the dolphins, and conservation, opening with a Hollywood style premiere just in time for the holidays at the Epic Theatres in Palm Coast.

Rolling out the red carpet, the star-studded cast of Bernie the Dolphin spent the evening talking with families and fans before screening the movie.

Filming for Bernie the Dolphin 2 began after the December 2018 premiere of the first film, and guests of the Marineland Dolphin Adventure attraction received a behind-the-scenes look at how the second movie was being created, while here on location.

Producer Marty Poole, who also co-wrote the scripts with Florida teacher Terri Emerson, was excited to talk about the inspiration behind the films that have worldwide distribution through Lionsgate Home Entertainment and Grindstone Entertainment.

“It’s loosely based on things that happen with dolphins being beached and that’s what we really wanted to do,” he said of the first Bernie the Dolphin movie.

“Partnering up with Marineland was so cool because of the protection and how careful they are with taking care of the animals. It’s really about trying to do something that’s giving back to society, so if we can add something (while) teaching, especially the kids, and bring families and kids together, it’s all blessings in my book,” said Poole.

“It’s been such a joy to be back,” he said, watching takes for Bernie the Dolphin 2 on the deck at Marineland. “I’ve been trying to get to Florida to make films for years because it’s so beautiful.”

Actor Patrick Muldoon’s character Bob Ryan, is the father of Holly and Kevin Ryan, and says the film’s positive message brings families together while helping us realize the impact of our decisions on future generations.

“It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a heartwarming movie that also has an environmental message that gets relayed through the eyes of our kids,” said Muldoon of filming with child stars Lola Sultan and Logan Allen.

“Kids are getting a lot of information about seeing what’s wrong with the world, being able to share between countries on social media, so the kids are more aware globally than their parents,” he said.

Through the story of the Ryan family’s adventures, audiences cheer them on their journey, filled with triumphs, challenges and plenty of humor.

“You get on board because the Ryan family is trying to do the right thing, but they’re human, they make mistakes,” he said.

The filming of Bernie the Dolphin and Bernie the Dolphin 2 are part of the initiative to raise awareness among the next generation about Marineland Dolphin Adventure according to vice president and general manager Gary Inks, as the attraction celebrates its 80th anniversary.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to see a world-class movie in production – Kevin Sorbo, Patrick Muldoon and the children stars, it’s part of history here,” said Inks.

“Once again at Marineland, we’re filmmaking. Obviously films are part of tourism and tourism is critical to the life and the future of Marineland Dolphin Adventure, as we are a major tourist attraction in the state of Florida and the southeastern United States. People see the beautiful environment here in Flagler County and St. Johns County, they will see lots of reasons why they should come and visit us,” he said.

Danielle Anderson

Danielle Anderson, a resident of Palm Coast, Florida
has worked in the public relations and media industry for
a decade. Writing for high profile publications across the
state, Danielle started her career as a news reporter for
Flagler Broadcasting, where she discovered her passion
for telling the stories of communities in Florida.