BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB)
Written by: Kelsey Davis
Louisiana's film industry might have some big competition coming from Texas. The Lone Star state has allotted $95 million to their movie tax incentive program. Film industry leaders in Louisiana say they have plans to stay ahead in the movie production race.
Heading into the legislative session movie makers had some concerns about several bills, including parts of Gov. Bobby Jindal's revamped tax proposal. When the final gavel fell, most of the concerns had evaporated.
"I guess to quote the guys from Duck Dynasty, we're 'happy, happy, happy' that no changes were made during the session, just simply because we need to stay competitive," said Patrick Mulhearn with the Celtic Media Centre.
Mulhearn says the Louisiana could have lost dozens of big projects if some of the more controversial changes had gone through.
"I think that moving forward, they actually passed a bill that's going to study it over the next two years so that we could probably make some meaningful change in 2015 if they want to, that really doesn't hurt the industry and keeps the production going here," said Mulhearn.
The state is already making other moves to stay competitive with growing movie markets like Texas, a state that recently allotted $95 million to its film tax incentive program.
Entertainment director for the Louisiana Economic Development Authority, Chris Stelly, says the best way to meet and beat the competition is for this state to keep encouraging investments in movie making necessities like buildings and equipment.
"The Celtic Media Centre is a testament to that...Hollywood Trucks is another good example of what we've been able to do that provide those goods and services to the motion picture industry, so they can come in and find everything they need," said Stelly.
Stelly says over the next few years, LED will focus on how this program benefits the state overall and how to make it flourish well into the future.
"We can talk about this in 15, 20 years from now where it's an industry that's self-sustaining and we can become a desirable area because of things outside of our incentive program," said Stelly.
We're told several big projects should start filming in the state later this year and many have finished production over the past few months - including the movie "The Butler" starring Oprah Winfrey. We're told it's already getting some Oscar buzz.