Louisiana film industry hopes for more growth over next 5 years

By Kelsey Davis

Louisiana has been dubbed the leading state in the nation for film production, so what more could come for the industry this year and in the next five years?

On top of getting recognition for the dozens of film productions taking place, the state also earned bragging rights during this year's award season. 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyer's Club, which were both filmed in Louisiana, took home Oscars.

Patrick Mulhearn with Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge said those accolades just add to the growing popularity of Louisiana as a movie hub.

"The quantity is actually causing us to have quality production as well because our crews are getting really seasoned and experienced," Mulhearn said. "All the equipment and infrastructure is here now because we have so much volume that now quality is actually something that we can all be proud of."

He added the one area Louisiana needs to work on in the next five years is getting more scripted series to film in the state. Los Angeles still leads the nation in the number of scripted series. According Mulhearn, getting television series to the Bayou State means having cast and crews plant permanent roots for the duration of the show's run.

As far as what's on tap for 2014 for Louisiana productions, Mulhearn said the state can boast being the location for the year's three biggest and most anticipated productions. He added casts and crews are expected to roam around the state this summer as filming starts on Terminator 5, Jurassic Park and The Fantastic Four.

Mulhearn said 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyer's Club were filmed in the New Orleans and River Parishes areas. However, Celtic Media Centre is now locally owned and operated, which could mean even more big productions in the Baton Rouge area. Mulhearn said the studios are nearly 100 percent booked and/or occupied right now.

"We're not just confined to the lot. We want to make sure that any production that wants to get into Baton Rouge, even if our stages are full, that they don't get turned away, that we find them the best alternative. Whether that's a warehouse or an old box store, we want to make sure that production stays here and that we keep our crews busy and working," he explained.

He said he hopes to see a growth in the local industry over the next five years, with films being funded locally, developed locally and starring local talent.

Mulhearn said there isn't anything specific the industry is watching as far as this year's legislative session is concerned and the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association is making sure whatever discussions are taking place at the Louisiana State Capitol won't have a negative effect on the $15,000 jobs the industry has created in the state.

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