LOUISIANA COMES TO HOLLYWOOD STATE GETTING FILMING PLANS BACK IN PLACE.
Members of a Louisiana delegation, on a three-day swing through Los Angeles this week, announced Friday that they have already landed more than $200 million in post-Katrina film and television projects for their state in 2006.
The trip coincided with the American Film Market in Santa Monica and gave the delegation a chance to meet this week with executives at Warner Bros., Sony, Disney, NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Showtime cable channel, Lifetime television and Black Entertainment Television. Delegation members also had meetings with independent producers and film financiers.
The Louisiana group included Sen. Jay Dardenne, R-Baton Rouge; Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, D-Baton Rouge; and Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President/CEO Paul Arrigo.
``We had productive discussions with studio executives and producers who are extremely interested in the greater Baton Rouge area,'' Dardenne said. ``Recognizing the post-hurricane growth of our area, the film and television industry expressed a continuing commitment to projects in South Louisiana. Our aggressive tax incentives program is a magnet for those who invest in these projects.''
Among the projects to be shot in Louisiana next year are a slate of films from Spice Factory/Cameo FJ Entertainment including ``Winter Heat,'' ``Miamiland'' and ``My Funny Valentine.'' Also on tap is ``Banner Days'' from V Entertainment Group, which also plans to shoot a television pilot and a murder mystery feature film in greater Baton Rouge.
``We are very excited about the substantial new productions coming to the area as a result of the delegation's trip and are pleased to support the efforts of the city and state,'' said Chris Stelly, economic development manager of the Governor's Office of Film and Television Development in Louisiana.
Louisiana has become serious competition to the Southern California movie industry with a growing number of projects being lured south by generous tax incentives and a rapidly growing production infrastructure.
The biopic ``Ray,'' the comedy ``Dukes of Hazzard'' and the mystery ``Skeleton Key'' were among the 2005 releases shot in the state, and next year's ``All the King's Men'' starring Sean Penn was also filmed there.
The hurricane initially appeared to have jeopardized the state's ambitious plans to become something of a Hollywood South since several major studio films had to be halted in midproduction after Katrina.
But The Walt Disney Co, for example, has agreed to delay the start of production on the films ``Deja Vu'' and ``The Guardian'' in order to stick with their Louisiana locations.
Greg Hernandez, (818) 713-3758