Apr 25, 2013 12:46 PM by MELISSA CANONE (PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)
Lafayette, LA - The Louisiana film and entertainment industry has "reeled" in more
than just top-notch films and honors; this industry has contributed to major economic and job growth throughout the state. Lafayette is an attractive location for television and film productions, greatly contributing to the economic development of the area. Since Louisiana's tax credit program was instituted in 2002, the state's profile has risen dramatically, and Louisiana currently ranks third in film and television production in the United States behind California and New York.
These tax incentives continue to fuel a strong, growing entertainment sector in Louisiana, in terms of jobs, infrastructure, investment, and total economic impact, making the state a welcoming location for the film industry.
"In just over a decade, Louisiana has asserted itself as a major player in the national film and television industry, and the economic impact of the current tax credits on the Louisiana film industry cannot be underestimated," says Will French, president of the Louisiana Film & Entertainment Association. "We have created thousands of permanent jobs state-wide, and stimulated countless other jobs in related industries, including catering, hospitality, transportation, and many more."
Since the tax credits were first implemented, the combined annual budgets of all productions that filmed in Louisiana has grown from $20 million in 2002, to over $2 billion in 2011, with 151 productions filing for tax credits in the state. An estimated 14,000 jobs are supported by Louisiana's film industry, and that number is constantly growing as the film business goes about decentralizing from its traditional hubs of Hollywood and New York City.
The employment growth rate of the state's film industry has greatly outpaced the national average as well, hitting an annual growth rate of nearly 22% from 2001-2007, compared with the national average of about 2%. Film industry jobs have an average salary 26% higher than the national average. In Louisiana, major infrastructure has been developed to keep up with the growing demand, with worldclass state-of-the art facilities, including stages and production houses, with more in the works.
The impact of the state's film industry on tourism is significant. For example, the movie and
entertainment industry occupied 21,500 rooms in Baton Rouge in 2011; and in Shreveport, one
production used an average of 760 hotel room nights, and the 18 total productions in 2011 booked more than 13,000 rooms in the city's hotels. Additionally, when the state is featured in successful films and television, this creates positive awareness of the state as a tourist destination.
"Restaurants, caterers and craft service providers are beneficiaries of the film industry and those dollars are spent with our members," says Stan Harris, President/CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. "In addition to the sound stages, offices and other infrastructure, the use of restaurants, hotels and attractions as locations for shooting, provide an increased benefit to these businesses."
A growing number of productions have filmed in Lafayette in recent years, bringing an economic boost to the area and stimulating countless jobs in tourism and related industries.
"The film industry provides an excellent opportunity not only for us to showcase Lafayette Parish and Acadiana to a worldwide audience, but it provides an economic benefit to our hotels, restaurants, and many other partners," says Ben Berthelot, Executive Director of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. "Through the years, the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission has also partnered with many documentaries that help us tell the story of our area. The reason we continue to partner with Lafayette Consolidated Government and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority on funding the Lafayette Entertainment Initiative is because we see the benefit to the entire community. These films and documentaries help to create a buzz, and we create ambassadors for our area for a lifetime because people fall in love with our area while they are here filming."
The Louisiana film industry has received impressive industry accolades recently, including:
· Moonbot Studios of Shreveport won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Animated Short for the
"Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in 2012.
· New Orleans based filmmakers Court 13's film "Beasts of the Southern Wild" won the 2012
Sundance Film Festival's World Cinema Jury Prize, Dramatic and Cinematography award; the
2012 Cannes Film Festival FIPRESCI prize; the Golden Camera; Prix Regards Jeune; and a special
mention prize of the Ecumenical Jury. The film was also nominated for four Oscars: Best Picture,
Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 85th Annual Academy Awards in
· Quentin Tarentino's "Django Unchained," filmed partly in New Orleans, was nominated for five
Oscars for the 2013 Academy Awards, winning the awards for Best Screenplay and Best Original
· Taylor Hackford's "Ray," which also filmed in Louisiana, received a nomination for Best Picture at
the 77th Annual Academy Awards in 2005.
· Hollywood-based film trade publication P3 Update has named Louisiana the top state for
· Louisiana was selected as one of the top 10 places in the world that has the best Production
incentives by P3 Production Update Magazine.
· The New Orleans Film Festival recently received MovieMaker magazine's "Top 25 Film Festivals
Worth the Entry Fee" - only one of three festivals to receive the honor two years in a row in
2012 and 2013.