Celtic Media Centre’s continued success pushes to capacity

BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Baton Rouge’s state of the art movie studio has played an important role in bringing big productions to the area. Now, the Celtic Media Centre is running at full capacity.

When producer Garry Brown was looking for places to film the second season of A&E series, “Breakout Kings,” he was pleased by what he found in Baton Rouge.

“I was very surprised to find that there was a studio of this size and magnitude here,” Brown told NBC33 News.

Celtic Media Centre was a big selling point for filming the show right here.

“The fact that there's a studio of this size with this much manpower, a foundation of experienced personnel - it goes a long way in getting production off the ground and keep it running throughout the course of the production period,” Brown explained.

And “Breakout Kings” producers aren't the only ones taking advantage of the 150-thousand square feet of stage space.

“We're finding ourselves going into 2012 with one extremely large feature and two or three other ones that are still a good size,” Patrick Mulhearn, a representative for the Celtic Media Center, explained.

Mulhearn says the more projects the movie studio brings in, the more film companies want to set up shop on the site.

“Businesses want to be close to the production and right now we have to turn them away and get them to the closest office space off site,” he continued.

Mulhearn says Celtic has more than doubled the number of their permanent tenants in the last year with businesses specializing in everything from film transportation all the way up to post-production work.

“Three weeks ago this was a lobby, but we had to turn it into an office because we were out of space,” he adds.

Back in February, Mulhearn turned a small sound stage into two levels of office space.

“We're at 100 percent capacity in there within a month,” he includes.

Aaron Williams is just one of the many who have taken advantage of that space. The finances for his production company, Digital Media Production House, have almost doubled since moving to Celtic.

“Just when you walk in the gates of Celtic, It’s a great selling point for you business a lot of times,” Williams explained. “So this year has been the largest boost in business.”

And it's not just the folks specializing in the silver screen who benefit from the movie studio. The Capitol City economy continues to cash in on Celtic's success.

“This was a really bad area before they built the studio here. There were lots of shootings and murders and things that happened around here. This was not a nice neighborhood, but now property value around here has gone through the roof,” Mulhearn says. “What it does for the economy as far as hotels, restaurants, building materials - a third generation Baton Rouge business supplied most these building materials so it has a ripple effect - a riding tide floats all boats.”

And with lots of action promised for 2012, Celtic can expect to stay on the map.

“Big projects are going to come to Baton Rouge, and they're going to keep coming to Baton Rouge.”

Mulhearn says that depending on the demand in the future, there could be talk of expansion for the Celtic Media Centre.