Louisiana dominating feature film industry - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Louisiana dominating feature film industry

When it comes to major feature films, Louisiana dominates the industry.

"It's just a great acknowledgment of what we've built here in Louisiana and specifically in New Orleans," says Katie Williams.

According to a recent report by the Film Office in Los Angeles, 15 feature films were made in California last year, compared to 18 films made in Louisiana.

"Tax credits were passed in 99. ‘Ray', which I worked on, was the first movie to use the tax credits and since then, it's been like an upside-down pyramid," says George Bott.

George Bott is an assistant director and has been in the business since 1996. He says the industry has exploded over the past two years.

"In the beginning, we would work with friends and they would pack up and move to Los Angeles. Now, they are all moving here," says Bott.

Bott says tax incentives certainly boosted the industry, but once here, New Orleans sells itself over and over again.

"It has so much to offer culturally, socially, technically and location-wise. It's all available here now," says Bott.

Film companies aren't just using New Orleans. They're branching out to other areas.

In St. Bernard, the old Lowe's building sat empty for months but film production crews put the building back into commerce shooting "Terminator 5."

A major film production company also recently moved into the New Orleans Regional Business Park on Old Gentilly Boulevard to do post-production work.

"They saw the space and they actually sought us out. We had not even advertised it, so it shows there's an interest in people having proximity to what they're doing," says Lavon Burbank.

According to the city, there are six major motion pictures set for production in New Orleans this summer.

With rising concerns over the California film industry's ability to hold onto jobs, the Los Angeles Film Office is now calling on lawmakers to expand the state's tax credits.

 

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