Louisiana Film Industry Ready to Fire Back up After Strike
The film industry in Louisiana goes back way longer than you probably thought. In fact, according to Wikipedia, (and who doesn't trust Wikipedia?), Film-making in Louisiana began in 1898 with the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. It has been the site of several notable productions over the years, the first of which was Tarzan of the Apes, completed in 1918.
But let's fast forward just a bit. In 2002, the Louisiana Legislature initiated the Louisiana Motion Picture Tax Incentive Act. Since then, hundreds of films have been shot in the Pelican State featuring A-list "Hollywood" actors like Keving Costner, Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, and Denzel Washington. It might be easier to name actors who haven't filmed here.
But COVID caused a major hitch in the giddy-up in 2020, then the recent writer's and actor's strikes caused projects to grind to a halt. But now there's good news as a deal was reached between actors union and studios. Director of Louisiana Entertainment Chris Stelly says it’s good news for the businesses and citizens who depend on film production in Louisiana.
“It’s equally exciting that all parties could come to an agreement thats fair and equitable for all sides involved. And I think it means more importantly for the state of Louisiana that our crew and our vendors can get back to work doing what they do best and that’s making motion pictures.”
The new three-year contract was valued at more than one billion dollars and included increases in minimum salaries, and benefits, as well as a new residual for streaming programs. Stelly expects production to resume within a few weeks.
“Those productions that were actually filming here will likely be the first to come back. It may take weeks. A couple of weeks. It’s hard to really gauge on that but I know one thing – we’re ready.”
Stelly says the camera was rolling on four to five productions before being halted by the longest strike ever for actors. He says the true impact of the strike is unknown.
“That’s going to be something we’re definitely interested in measuring as we start getting data and as things start getting back to normal. It’s really hard to tell at this point and time with everything happening so recently.”
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