Thursday, December 17, 2009

Shreveport's Millennium Studio back on track

Posted: Dec 16, 2009 10:06 AM CST

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – A Nicholas Cage film project set to begin in January starts off what Shreveport hopes is a prosperous year for the city's movie industry.
On Wednesday, Mayor Cedric Glover announced the $8M Millennium Studios project is back on track, with construction work on the studio to begin on December 21.
The 18-month delay in the construction was blamed on difficulty in obtaining the needed financial backing, which was related to the economic downturn seen across the nation.
Shreveport is one of three lenders involved in the Millennium Studios project. One of their requirements was that the studio ensure a certain number of jobs. The new studio should have about 60 jobs, which more than meets the requirements of the city.
Another advantage for the studio is the 30% tax credit available from the state, which now does not have an expiration date.
The Cage project, set to begin work on January 4, is called 'Drive Angry'. It will be the biggest Millennium project to date and will be filmed in 3D.
2009 was a slow year for movie productions in Shreveport. The city said there were 18 total projects with a total budget of just under $100M. The city expects many more projects in 2010, and hopes this is the beginning of an ongoing and more permanent movie presence.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rules set for claiming film credits

By Mike Hasten • • December 8, 2009

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana's rules dealing with film industry tax credits are now in writing but the office that handles it is still free to negotiate with applicants.
A joint House and Senate committee Monday gave conditional approval to the rules that members said need "a little tweaking" but no serious alterations.
Sherri McConnell, director of the Office of Entertainment Industry Development within Louisiana Economic Development, said the rules are simply putting into writing what her office has been doing for the past several years.
She said it has been working on the rules for the past three years but "the law kept changing, so we had to start over with new rules to fit the new law." McConnell said her office conducted eight public hearings in 2008 and 2009 on proposed rules but when the Legislature came into session in March, "it changed the law again."
Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, said the department needs to "be careful with the language because it could allow two claims on the same expansion."
The rules primarily deal with tax credits for infrastructure improvements — everything from buying trucks to transport movie equipment to building studios.
One of the sticking points was a requirement for "cash or cash equivalents" for infrastructure. Industry representatives said they would have to borrow money and finance some projects, so that language might limit projects to cash-only.
After a discussion, Phyllis Simms of Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge said "the goal is to exclude IOUs and promises," which she agreed was appropriate.
Nick Thurlow, owner of Louisiana Media Production Services, told the panel that the film industry nationwide is looking to Louisiana to adopt the rules so it will know what needs to be done to claim the credits.
"Publish the rules and move on," he said. "These are actually pretty good rules. You don't get $600 million in in-state production with bad rules."
Thurlow, who said he has worked on filming 50 movies and post-production work on 30 filmed outside of Louisiana, said he got frustrated by the committee taking more than an hour "arguing about one sentence in one paragraph."
Panel members ended up changing "shall" to "may" to give the film office flexibility in negotiating with studios and individual business that work with the film industry.
Andre Champagne, owner of Hollywood Trucks of Baton Rouge, said his business started with two people. He now employs 10 full-time and 40 part-time workers with a fleet of 250 trucks, but "we don't have enough vehicles to serve the industry right here."
Hollywood Trucks have been seen all over Baton Rouge in recent weeks as two movies were being filmed at the same time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Filming Louisiana Magazine and Website

This year has been a good year for Films in Louisiana. Though the long drawn out process of changing the tax incentives from the dreaded sunset of 2010 to no scale downs and no sunset, set into motion the most impressive incentives in the country. Now Louisiana is the most competitve in the United States and it shows. For the last half of the year movies scrambled to get into the state to take advantage of the new 30% incentive. Two Areas went a bit further with additional incentives locally. Jefferson Parish has an additional incentive on top of the state as well as Shreveport and Caddo Parish which offers the most generous in the State of Louisiana.

With all the incentives and the fact that our crew base and film industry services have grown this year again offers crew, talent, services and locations to list themselves for free for industry professionals. With over 3000 services and crew listed it has become a great resource for the State of Louisiana. If you are working in the industry you should be listed. If you have not listed yourself please feel free to do so. Just go to and click register, it is that simple.

We do have a deadline coming up for the listing in our FilmingLouisiana Magazine and resource database. If you are not listed by December 20, 2009 you will not be in our first issue. Everyone who has signed up for the site will be listed for free and we do offer additional advertising for those who would like to stand out. Our rates are affordable and we want to keep it that way.

Please check out our website and also check out our advertising rates if you wish to advertise in our magazine. We are a Louisiana based company and we will keep it here. Our magazine will be printed in Louisiana and I personally work in Louisiana film myself. I am a prop maker and set builder so I understand what is going on in the industry and I personally want to keep films in Louisiana. This is a passion of mine and I want keep the Louisiana film industry thriving in our great state.

Please check out our site and watch out for our FilmingLouisiana Magazine coming out in early 2010.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Director gives Nicolas Cage space to improvise in 'Port of Call New Orleans'

This is a great story about The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans which opens Friday November 20,2009 and filmed in New Orleans. Nicolas Cage will be back in Louisiana filming The Hungry Rabbit Jumps in New Orleans and then in Shreveport for Drive Angry.


The Los Angeles Independent
Story Published: Nov 19, 2009 at 4:38 PM PST

Werner Herzog creates an unpredictable universe in “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” where he puts audiences on a trip at least as intense as the one taken by its drug-addled protagonist.
Opening Nov. 20, the film is set in the mean streets of The Big Easy and follows the story of Terrence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage), a local police lieutenant who always, secretly skims a little bit of the evidence off the top.
Terrence is literally high on a smorgasbord of drugs throughout the movie as he pursues the killer of a family of five.
He gets by with the support of his girlfriend, Frankie (Eva Mendes), a hooker and fellow addict who freeloads off of whatever he brings home for the night in his goody bag.
But the drugs eventually catch up as Terrence begins to notice things that aren’t there and lands in trouble with just about everyone he meets thanks to his erratic behavior.
Some critics are already hailing Cage’s performance as his best in years, mainly because he nailed the portrayal of an addict.
His gradual decline depicts him as an occasional user in the beginning and by the end, his voice is shaky and cracks and his posture becomes noticeably deformed.
Cage said he got drunk for his role in 1995’s “Leaving Las Vegas,” where he played an alcoholic who plans to drink himself to death, a role for which he earned an Academy Award.
This time around he says was completely sober and credits Herzog for giving him the leeway to play Terrence the way he wanted to.
“I just felt I was in the zone,” Cage told a group of reporters at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. “I came in prepared knowing I had to do what I to do and I thank Werner for letting me go. I didn’t need to be pushed or pulled.”
Outside of Cage’s performance, the whole film is filled with surreal moments that seemingly blend what Terrence is experiencing in his head with his day to day encounters.
You’ll know when you see the lizards.
The end result is a movie that hearkens back to the style of 1998’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
“It is a demented fantasy which I liked to create,” Herzog said.
The German director said much of that motif came from allowing for improvised dialogue from his cast.
“We always kept things open for the unexpected,” Herzog said. “Nic Cage had complete liberty to have his own voice to improvise. Those are the really convincing and strong moments of the film.”
When asked about his experience about shooting in New Orleans, he said the city that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was filled with a “strong sense of recovery.”
“I remember very often when we were filming outdoors, people would come by and were like ‘Are you making a movie? Welcome!’” he said. “It’s wonderful, the music is coming back and movies are coming back. … There was a void in New Orleans, it was culture, vibrant culture, that will be the guiding light for New Orleans’ recovery.”
The past few months for Cage have been the toughest in a while for the 45-year-old actor.
Amid a personal financial crisis, his father, August Coppola, died on Oct. 29 at the age of 75.
Many of his other demons are caged in Louisiana, according to Cage, and shooting an entire movie there last year let him “face his fears.”
“I wanted to go back there and confront it,” he said. “I knew I would channel that and it would either be a disaster or something beautiful, so I was up for the challenge.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Louisiana seeing busy fall filming season

Good news for the South Louisiana filming. North Louisiana has a slower last quarter but there are a few good productions working before the end of the year. Next year is looking very promising for all of Louisiana.

Source: Greater Baton Rouge Business Report Daily Report

With hurricane season ending, film and TV production in south Louisiana is picking up, and New Orleans is on track to break last year's filming record. David Simon, creator of The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street, started shooting the first season of his HBO series Treme in New Orleans this month, and actor Jason Statham had a downtown office building bustling with production of a scene for the action thriller, The Mechanic. They are among at least eight film and TV projects in the New Orleans area this fall—and more than a dozen statewide—providing an end-of-the-year boost after a sluggish summer, says Sherri McConnell, head of the state film office. "Summer is usually a slow time for us," McConnell says, citing higher production costs during hurricane season, which runs June 1 to Nov. 30, as a factor. But this year film industry strikes, the economy and uncertainty over the future of Louisiana's entertainment tax credit program were also to blame, she says. Before the state Legislature approved a 5% boost in incentives for movie and TV makers this spring, the 25% tax credit was set to drop to 20% in 2010 and 15% in 2012. McConnell says her office received 25 applications for projects in the first half of 2009, but since July 1 more than 60 have come in. If all the projects get under way before the end of the year, the state might reach its filming record of 84 projects, set last year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Filming: 2009 Early 2010 in Louisiana. Updated Novmber 19, 2009

This is what is in Pre Production or Filming in Louisiana during the last months of the year. More to come for the New Year.

Mirrors 2 Filming Baton Rouge more to come
Green Lantern Pre Production New Orleans
Delta Blues Pre Production New Orleans, more to come
Fight or Flight Pre Production Lafayette
Shotgun Wedding Pre Production
Earthbound Pre Production New Orleans 504-734-3793
The Americans Pre Production Shreveport
Treme Filming in New Orleans
Mortician Filming in New Orleans
Falling in love Filming in New Orleans
Swamp Shark aka Jaws of the Mississippi filming in Lafayette
The Hungry Rabbit Jumps Filming in New Orleans
Medusa Pre Production in Lafayette
Brothers keeper Filming in New Orleans
Battle Los Angeles Filming Baton Rouge
Secretariat Filming Lafayette
Monster Wolf Filming
The Big Show Project/Knucklehead Filming New Orleans
Ticking Clock Filming
Unearthed Shreveport (Wrapped)
The Mechanic Pre Production New Orleans
Video Girl Filming in Baton Rouge
Ultimate MMA Fitness Filming in Baton Rouge
Underground Comedy Champs Filming in Baton Rouge
Clunkers Filming in Baton Rouge
Pregnancy Pack Filming in New Orleans
Beat the Course Filming Baton Rouge
Chesterfield Pre Production New Orleans
Flag of my Father Pre Production Monroe
Julia X Filming Shreveport
Keep It Together more to come
Super is in Pre Production Shreveport more to come
Drive Angry Pre Production in Shreveport more to come

Nicolas Cage to film Drive Angry in Shreveport.

Nicolas Cage is getting the 3D treatment.
The actor has signed to star in "Drive Angry," a revenge action movie that Patrick Lussier will direct for Nu Image/Millenium Films. Michael De Luca is producing with Adam Fields.
Written by Lussier and Todd Farmer, the story centers on a man (Cage) driven by rage who is chasing the people who killed his daughter and kidnapped her baby. The vendetta/rescue spins out of control as the chase gets bloodier by the mile, leaving bodies strewn along the highway.
Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short, Avi Lerner and Boaz Davidson are executive producing for Nu Image/Millennium, which is planning to begin production in April in Louisiana; the company has a new $10 million studio in Shreveport, La.
"Angry" will be the first foray into 3D for Nu Image/Millenium and marks a return to the format for Lussier. The director, who got his feature start editing horror movies for Wes Craven, last directed "My Bloody Valentine 3D," which grossed $51 million domestically this year.
For the CAA-repped Cage, "Angry" is the third collaboration with Nu Image/Millenium. The latest, "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans," hits the festival circuit beginning with Telluride before going on to Venice and Toronto.

The Green Lantern Going to New Orleans?

Production had been rumored for Canada
By Phil Guie Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Probable destinations for the Green Lantern movie are bouncing around as fast as the Emerald ring-wearing heroes themselves: first we hear Mexico, then Canada.
But according to The Times-Picayune, at least part, and maybe all of the production is going to take place in Louisiana. An official at New Orleans’ Second Line Stages told the paper he has been contacted by the film’s producers, and Green Lantern production offices could be set up there as early as next week."The rumors are correct," said Kevin Murphy, the manager of studio operations at the Lower Garden District facility, who added production would occupy sound stages in December. Sets would be built that month, with principal photography to begin in March 2010.
"We are working out the details, and we have a nonrefundable contract" to rent stage space, Murphy said. "It would be, paint dries on one day, they're moving in the next. It's an awesome opportunity."Warner Bros. officials were not prepared to comment. If Green Lantern does move to Louisiana, it would mark the second time a Warners/DC Comics project came rolling into town. Over the summer, Jonah Hex filmed in the state; no word if the experience helped the studio settle on it for Green Lantern, but on the closing days of the shoot, producers Andrew Lazar and Ravi D. Mehta reportedly had nothing but positive things to say about their time there.Green Lantern had been scheduled to film in Australia, but the falling dollar caused Warners to explore other locations. Still, given the movie’s big budget, its arrival would be a boon for Louisiana, which has been offering incentives to movie productions.

Vampire Film Fest finally rests in N.O.

Special to
Published: Oct 22, 2009

Vampire folklore has captured the imagination of fans of the supernatural for centuries. From the classic literature of Bram Stoker to HBO’s television series, “True Blood,” to the “Twilight” phenomenon, these tales of myth and mystery have intrigued the fantasy lover in all of us.
But for all the cultural significance and international fervor, there hasn’t been a tribute to the creatures of the dark in the very city that has become the backdrop for all things gothic, historic and unexplainable – until now.
For the first time, the Vampire Film Festival is making its home in New Orleans during which four days of film, art and entertainment will take over the city.
Festival director Asif Ahmed has been a part of the festival since its beginning six years ago and hasn’t let the dream of a Vampire Fest in New Orleans die.
“The goal was to launch a new film festival with the international appreciation of the vampire genre,” Ahmed said. “It started back in 2003 in Los Angeles, and it was in L.A. with the goal to always travel with it and bring it to New Orleans. Obviously we know what happened with the hurricane in 2005, so it actually fell apart in between those years and we’ve finally brought it back from the dead.”
Oct. 23–26 has been designated to bring to life all things vampire.
Ahmed describes his love for the Big Easy and why it is the perfect stage for the Vampire Film Festival this year.
“I love the city and spent many Halloweens there over the years. There is no other place to be during that time of year. New Orleans, partially due to Anne Rice, has a vampire quality and culture, as well as the whole gothic culture with the above ground cemeteries and gothic architecture. It just seems like it’s the perfect match.”
With more than 50 films from 11 countries, Vampire Fest will include screenings of several feature films and multiple shorts each day that were selected by panels of filmmakers, film critics and even a couple of vampire aficionados who made sure that each film gave an original spin to the well-known myths.
“What’s great about vampire films is there really is some classy, high-quality work that has A-list stars, and it’s not just what I call sloppy horror movies,” Ahmed said.
Not only are the films coming from around the world, but many of the filmmakers themselves will appear with their films at the festival.
“We have filmmakers coming from Spain and Austria and all around Canada to the festival. All the filmmakers are invited to speak and do a Q & A after their films and sort of discuss the filmmaking process,” Ahmed said.
Sunday, Oct. 25, will feature a panel of vampire novelists with authors such as Erin McCarthy, Sue Dent, Van Jenson and local debut novelist Nicole Peeler. A “Shoot Louisiana” panel will be held afterward in partnership with the film commission to discuss filming in Louisiana.

“We want to bring upcoming and established writers together to discuss their inspiration, the genre, where it’s headed and what they’ve added to it. We’re also inviting new filmmakers, as well as filmmakers in Louisiana, to come out to our filmmaking panel to talk about shooting in Louisiana,” Ahmed said.
“Our goal is to bring that group of filmmakers and that group of writers together with a reception after the panels to facilitate further storytelling so hopefully they’ll make the next vampire film for next year’s festival,” he said. Not only will panels and discussions take place on Sunday, but a full vampire ballet is scheduled with three different show times.
“Even though we are first and foremost a film festival, we are moving toward becoming a whole vampire arts festival,” Ahmed said. “We’re bringing a 14-person ballet troop from Phoenix, Lisa Starry’s ‘A Vampire’s Tale,’ and it’s what they call the nutcracker of Halloween. It’s the story of a girl who is getting seduced into the whole vampire culture through ballet, modern dance and a couple of Cirque de Soleil style aerial feats that they do.”
If you want to tease your pallet with a clip of the ballet, you can check out Vampire Fest’s Web site at and find the video under the living artist section.
Along with the ballet, another part of the living artist section is the New Orleans jazz funeral with the Tornado Brass Band that will be held in the French Quarter as well as a scavenger hunt and midnight showing parties.
“We are trying to create a party like atmosphere for the midnight film series. We’re going to have live musicians and a costume contest for each show,” Ahmed said.
While it has taken a long time and hard work for the festival to make its way to the Big Easy, the future of the festival could establish New Orleans and Vampire Fest as an international phenomenon.
“Getting anything off the ground in L.A. is a challenge and it’s hard to get media splash and excitement unless the top celebrities are there. The fact that we have all this excitement in New Orleans from the film commission and the tourism bureau and the city council people reinforces that this is home for the festival,” Ahmed said. “Our goal is to become the Sundance of New Orleans; to create a four- to seven-day film arts festival that promotes and highlights this genre that leads into Halloween.”
Before Halloween hits be sure to check out all the feature films and shorts on Friday, Oct. 23, and head to the opening night party at 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, kicks off with the Vampire Jazz Funeral at 11 a.m., the scavenger hunt at 12 p.m., and a slew of feature films and shorts as well as the costume ball party.
Sunday, Oct. 25, kicks off with the literary panel at 2 p.m. and then the “Shoot Louisiana” panel at 3:30 p.m. with a party mixer of writer and filmmakers afterwards.
More shorts on Sunday leads to the vampire ballet with the first show starting at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, is the last day to hit the festival and get your fill of vampire and gothic shorts and your last chance to catch the vampire ballet before the closing party at 10:30 p.m. For more details on the schedule of events or to pre-order tickets be sure to check out their Web site at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Criminal charges possible regarding film tax-credit abuses, Iowa official says

By LEE ROOD • • September 21, 2009 Des Moines Register

A state official said Monday criminal charges could be forthcoming in the wake of widespread mismanagement and abuse reported in Iowa’s tax-credit program for filmmaking.“I would not rule that out,” said Chief Deputy Auditor Warren Jenkins. “It appears there was a failure to do what is required by law."Gov. Chet Culver on Monday asked Auditor David Vaudt’s office, the Department of Revenue and Attorney General Tom Miller to assist in a review of a state tax-credit program run out of the Iowa Department of Economic Development’s film office.

“I am very troubled by reports of the lack of oversight and accounting procedures of tax credits under this program,” Culver said. “My first priority on this issue is to the taxpayers of Iowa, and I know that Attorney General Miller and Auditor Vaudt will help us to quickly identify changes that need to be made and how we can best move forward.”Failure to perform duties required by law is a crime in Iowa. Those who exceed the authority of their office, make contracts “that contemplate expenditures ... known by the person to be in excess of that authorized by law” or who fail to report receipt or expenditures of public money are, at the very least, committing serious misdemeanors under existing statutes. Knowingly making false records of any sort (documents, certificates or receipts) amounts to a felony.Neither the auditor’s office nor Iowa’s Department of Revenue was consulted by economic development officials about problems in the mushrooming film program until problems surfaced last week, according to both revenue Director Mark Schuling and Jenkins. (Auditor David Vaudt was tending to a medical emergency in his family.)“I think it’s very unusual to not be informed or at least involved,” Jenkins said. “And to me, it’s unusual to hire an auditor without even talking to us.”Culver on Friday froze the tax-credit program, officially known as the Film, Television and Video Promotion Program, administered by the Iowa Department of Economic Development. The state’s DED director, Mike Tramontina, resigned his post after a still ongoing audit uncovered poor management and record-keeping and apparent abuses by film producers.Tom Wheeler, manager of the Iowa Film Office, was placed on paid administrative leave. Wheeler was juggling a reported 50 to 60 current projects and proposals for projects.Culver said new tax-credit certificates would not be issued until questions about the administration of the program were answered.“This is not about harming the growing film and television industry in Iowa, but about protecting public funds and the best interests of Iowans,” Culver said.A memo from auditors investigating irregularities in the program suggested producers and film executives took personal advantage of the program as state administrators paid little attention.

Tramontina resigned after he informed the governor and other state officials of sloppy record-keeping and abuse of the program, including allegations that filmmakers had purchased luxury vehicles for themselves.According to a memo about the audit's initial findings obtained by The Des Moines Register, auditors found a long list of bookkeeping lapses in the program, which has authorized $32 million in tax credits for at least 20 film projects since its inception in 2007.The program was aimed at promoting filmmaking in Iowa as a way to contribute to the local and state economy.The program could cost the state up to $300 million, an Iowa lawmaker said over the weekend. That’s because movie producers rushed in May and June to get $208 million in tax credits committed before a new spending cap began July 1.Schuling said he could not answer a question on the minds of many movie makers and their workers: Which tax-credit projects will the state ultimately honor?“That’s a tough legal question. It’s something that we have to take a look at,” he said. To what extent will we be disallowing tax credits? I don’t have answers to that. It’s just real premature.”Jenkins said he believes the state will be obligated to live up to any legal contract that it signed.Iowa Fiscal Partnership, an arm of the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that analyzes budget and tax issues, issued a statement Monday saying it supported the suspension and investigation of the film credit program.“The initial investigation has exposed the film credits, as currently in place, as a boondoggle that is draining our state treasury,” a statement from the partnership said. “This is coming at a time when our state leaders are anticipating budget cuts. All spending — including spending through the tax code — needs to be on the table when considering cuts to the budget.”Mike Owen, communications director of the Des Moines-based partnership, said the film-credit program is one of many tax-credit programs in the state that should raise questions with taxpayers. “One of the problems with this program ... is that these tax credits spend money but aren’t subject to regular review or scrutiny like other programs within state government,” he said.Aside from lax management, there were some fundamental policy questions thatneeded to be answered even before abuses were discovered, Owen said. State leaders, can’t tell the public whether the program is achieving what it was intended to do, he said. “Without better transparency and scrutiny even by legislators, how are we going to get the information?”The Iowa Department of Economic Development’s last state audit was for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008. The audit identified no problems within the film program, but that was before the film office was deluged with more than 100 applications for tax-credit projects.Jenkins said the audit for the 2009 year is not complete. Especially when programs undergo big increases in activity, he said, state departments have a responsibility to tell auditors where a closer look is needed.
The tax credit program – officially known as the Film, Television and Video Promotion Program – had been administered by the Iowa Department of Economic Development. The state’s DED director, Mike Tramontina, resigned his post on Friday.Culver said he has asked the state’s Economic Deveopment Board not to approved further tax credit certificates until questions about the administration of the program are answered.“This is not about harming the growing film and television industry in Iowa, but about protecting public funds and the best interests of Iowans,” Culver said.

Econ. director resigns; Governor of Iowa suspends film tax breaks

BY JASON CLAYWORTH • • September 18, 2009

Gov. Chet Culver’s staff announced the resignation of Mike Tramontina in an e-mail at 4:56 p.m., simply saying that the governor had accepted the resignation.In addition, the press release included a copy of a letter dated today in which Culver tells Robert Boeken, chair of the board, that he is “very troubled” by accounting methods used to track the state’s controversial tax credit for movies.

Culver then requests that all future expenditures for the movie tax credit be suspended until questions can be answered.The tax credits have been promoted by the Iowa Film Office as "Half-Price Filmmaking." A qualified $1 million project, for example, can obtain as much as $500,000 in transferable Iowa income-tax credit certificates. Movie makers can sell those credits to any Iowa taxpayer for market prices or use the credits to reduce their own tax obligations.The credit, which has been in place since 2007, was enhanced by lawmakers this year to extend breaks to more movie employees. However, lawmakers also added a cap of $185 million a year for five tax-credit programs that largely deal with job creation, film production and business research.The Iowa Department of Economic Development Board is in charge of dividing the $185 million among the programs and has set a $50 million cap for the film tax credit.Film advocates at the public hearing in Des Moines last month said the $50 million cap could be gobbled by one large film and leave dozens of others without tax breaks.Prior to working as Iowa’s economic development director, Tramontina worked as the Director of the Iowa Department of Management for two years during the Tom Vilsack administration. He moved into that position after working four and a half years as Executive Director of the Iowa Finance Authority where he coordinated the State’s housing policy. Tramontina has spent his career in the areas of government and finance. He has worked in the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as Secretary’s Representative for the Great Plains region, as Deputy State Treasurer, as a Research analyst in the Iowa Senate and as a Congressional District Aide. He also worked in the private sector as an investment banker in public finance. Tramontina is a native of Sioux City and a graduate of University of Iowa.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Louisiana raises stakes with bigger tax credits for film

By GARY PERILLOUX Advocate business writer Published: Sep 6, 2009

Louisiana incentives aimed at wooing everything from Hollywood movies to video game developers to Broadway production companies got turbocharged in the Legislature this year.
That means the state will forgo more revenue, allowing investors to get bigger income tax breaks with credits they buy from movie makers and software developers.
Laws enabling that expansion come during a year in which the state faced an estimated $1.3 billion shortfall in the financial year that began in July.
How did that happen?
In part, because of people like Susie Labry. A former state clerical worker and former cashier at Calandro’s Supermarket on Government Street in Baton Rouge, Labry found herself in 2004 — amid a career of 15 movie speaking parts and 206 roles as a movie extra — able to make more money in movies than elsewhere.
Through e-mail blasts this year, Labry mobilized more than 1,200 members of a grass-roots trade group, the Baton Rouge Film Meetup, to contact legislators. That network led to several thousand movie industry supporters statewide doing the same.
“Every time we did a blast for committee meetings, we stacked that room,” Labry said, referring to legislative committees that considered film incentive bills this year. The result is a film incentive once scheduled to drop from 25 percent to 15 percent by 2012 ended up rising to a 30 percent tax credit, with no date for ending the program.
“We explained it in simple, baby terms,” Labry said of her frequent e-mails calling for tax credits with no sunsets and no scale-downs. Still, she confesses, “With the 30 percent — we really were shocked that it did pass. In this economy, we won. We got through (the financial obstacles) and we were at the Capitol every day.”
Independent audits from a Chicago consulting firm, Economic Research Associates, helped Labry’s cause. Commissioned by the state’s economic development department, an ERA study released in March showed:
--Louisiana added 2,200 film industry jobs in six years.
--The state gained an annual economic impact from the industry of $763 million, $429 million of it from direct production in 2007, the latest year for which full figures were available.
--Louisiana saw an estimated $6.64 in economic activity for each $1 spent on film tax incentives.
Secretary of State Jay Dardenne authored legislation setting up the incentive programs in 2002, when he served in the state Senate and when former state Rep. Steve Scalise shepherded passage of the incentives in the House of Representative.
In the years since then, many states copied the incentives, with Michigan offering a tax credit potentially worth more than 40 percent and Georgia offering a package worth up to 30 percent. It was the aggressive entry by another Southern state, one with more economic activity, people and infrastructure than Louisiana, that quickened the resolve for more lucrative Louisiana incentives.
Louisiana really could not afford to stand pat, Dardenne said.
“I think it’s going to be an ever-shifting sand in this marketplace,” he said. “The very nature of the business is that the producers and directors are going to be looking for the most economical place to be able to make movies.”
To protect its investment in entertainment, the state couldn’t afford for the tax credits to sunset, much less to scale down, Dardenne said.
“I think the reality of what other states are doing and the general competitive nature of this business probably dictates that for Louisiana to remain competitive, the incentives are going to have to stay in place,” he said.
Although more than $1 billion in Louisiana movie production work has taken place on about 200 projects since 2002, film industry insiders sensed a hesitancy on the part of some studios to bring projects to the state.
After a Baton Rouge Film Commission trip to attend an industry conference this year, businessman Michael Trufant — who has brokered some of the movie tax credits to investors — said the group learned that major studios were loathe to bring work to Louisiana as long as a scale-down of incentives remained in the law.
“That production tax credit is what drives the business into our state,” said Amy Mitchell-Smith, executive director of the Baton Rouge Film Commission, and the 30 percent tax credit with no end in sight makes a discernible difference. “Maybe (a movie) won’t shoot until 2011 or 2012, but a producer knows that they can count on Louisiana being at 30 percent down the road. You can count on a state that has a credit without a sunset.”
In August, Labry and her Baton Rouge Film Meetup counterparts staged a red-carpet gala at The Echelon Center on Florida Boulevard to celebrate the expansion of film incentives. On hand were producers and directors, but there also were acting coaches and security company owners — people whose livelihoods increasingly depend on the presence of the movie industry in the state.
Among them was Paul Lockett, whose JPS Security and Consulting LLC firm has completed work on 10 Baton Rouge-area movie productions. JPS employs 75 but the payroll can exceed 100 when a major film project contracts with the firm, Lockett said.
“Location is everything,” he said, “because if there’s filming going on in a higher-crime area, they want to be sure that the actors are not going to be accosted.”
Because equipment also is valuable, Lockett said JPS has convinced film companies to examine a security company’s experience and not value a contract on cost alone. Often, it’s cheaper for companies to keep equipment on location overnight and pay for security, rather than move cargo back and forth, he said.
Hotels, restaurants and car dealers benefit from local filming, Lockett said, and the Baton Rouge Film Commission lists nearly 50 vendors offering 15 percent discounts to movie productions on sushi, laundry, hair styling, fitness, flowers and more.
“This is just the beginning of what you’re going to see here,” Lockett said. “It’s not going to go away. It’s probably going to be bigger than anyone can imagine.”
New Orleans and Shreveport (particularly, after Hurricane Katrina) have grabbed the majority of filmmaking in the state, but Baton Rouge film officials were heartened by the recent announcement that Columbia Pictures’ “Battle: Los Angeles” would film in the fall at the Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge.
Mayor-President Kip Holden said the city-parish would continue offering local incentives for major motion pictures, like the $175,000 cash incentive that sweetened the deal for “Battle: Los Angeles,” a picture that could climb to a $60 million budget, Metro Councilwoman Alison Cascio said. The Baton Rouge portion would be about $25 million, city-parish officials said.
In 2007, Baton Rouge saw $36 million in direct film and TV spending by 19 projects in the Baton Rouge area, Mitchell-Smith said, with $25 million spent on 40 regional projects in 2008, when bigger-budget films tended to make short stays in Baton Rouge while being based in New Orleans or other sites.
Veleka Gray, a Mandeville-based acting coach with Baton Rouge and New Orleans clients, said the emergence of a Louisiana entertainment industry enabled her to move back to her home state. Amid Broadway productions and 15 years on mostly New York-based soap operas, she starred in “Love of Life,” “The Young and the Restless” and “Somerset,” in which she appeared opposite Sigourney Weaver and Ted Danson.
“Thank God for the tax credits, because we need it,” said Gray, a New Orleans native who does bemoan Louisiana’s right-to-work status when it comes to the movie industry. Non-union actors and crew members don’t get the same pay, food and work conditions that their union counterparts receive, she said.
“The possibilities are just endless to me,” Gray said. “It is unbelievably exciting to be in Louisiana right now for all of us — and that we don’t have to go to Los Angeles. I get to stay home and eat more po-boys: This could not be more wonderful.”

The Advocate

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Depeche Mode Video for True Blood and a Romance?

One of my favorite bands, Depeche Mode with a new video for True Blood the HBO hit series.

A new story about the filming of True Blood is below about a possible on set romance.

The Vampire Queen and Eric Northman...together?

Today MTV UK posted a specualtion that Evan Rachel Wood and Alexander Skarsgard of the hit HBO vampire series True Blood are "reportedly dating". This account comes based on a mention by Perez Hilton that the stars, who play the Vampire Queen Sophie-Ann and now legendarily sexy Eric Northman, have been spotted together in Louisiana on/near the area where Skarsgard is filming the remake of Straw Dogs. Supposedly, Evan, who has only been in one episode of True Blood, thus far, but will make another appearance in Sunday's Season Finale, flew out to Louisiana specifically to be with Alexander. However, again, this is currently only speculation.
Prior to this new romantic development, Evan was involved with the gender-envelope-pushing goth rocker Marilyn Manson. I think it's safe to say, that if this rumor is true, her tastes have definitely improved. Wood and Skarsgard would make quite the beautiful couple wouldn't they? Let's keep our fingers crossed that they confirm their budding relationship to the media.

September 9, 1:47 PMTrue Blood Examiner Gabrielle Faust

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Movies Are Slow to return to Louisiana, but they are Back!

The movie industry is a very mobile industry, so when Georgia in Early 2008 came up with a better incentive than Louisiana, productions and crew left Louisiana in droves. Where Louisiana excelled in 2008, Georgia ran with it in 2009. Louisiana, with the typical politics, wasted valuable time trying to come up with a better incentives to match or out do other states loosing millions in productions in the process. Finally in July, the Governor signed a better incentive putting Louisiana back in the game. Wasting no time, productions instantly were back in force, with 3 in Shreveport, 4 or so in New Orleans 3 in Baton Rouge and a couple in other parts of the state. Now we can see if the productions will pay off and the crew that has waited it out will get back to work.

One major production, Battle Los Angeles, will film most of their exterior shots in Shreveport while most studio work will be done in Baton Rouge which is a major boost to both markets who have lacked in productions this year. Louisiana had over 80 productions last year will be lucky to break 40 this year which is a huge decrease in movies and money.

Louisiana may have a few other films coming in before the end of the year but of course some are rumors and others may run into money problems, you never know until they are set up and have opened an office. Nicolas Cage is supposed to film one more film before the end of the year under contract with Millennium studios. Secretariat is rumored to film in the fall in Lafayette. First Wedding, Then Marriage is in pre-production in New Orleans and a few other productions are still looking at shooting in Louisiana to take advantage of our new Tax Incentives.

This year may not be record breaking though it has been bank breaking and 2010 is looking better and better. Thank you to all who have stuck it out in Louisiana and did not make the move to better and greener pastures and let's hope 2010 is a steller year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Story Behind: BATTLE: LOS ANGELES in 2011

The story behind Battle Los Angeles has it's origins based on a true event in Los Angeles in the early 1940's. Here is some background about the real story and the movie that will be shot on location in Shreveport and Baton Rouge.

Wikipedia Story:

The Battle of Los Angeles is the name given by contemporary news agencies to a sighting of one or more unidentified flying objects which took place from late February 24 to early February 25, 1942 in which eyewitness reports of an unknown object or objects over Los Angeles, California, triggered a massive anti-aircraft artillery barrage. The Los Angeles incident occurred less than three months after America's entry into World War II as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Initially the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but it was later suggested to be imaginary and a case of "war nerves", a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon or psychological warfare technique, staged for the benefit of coastal industrial sites, or even an extraterrestrial craft. The true nature of the object or objects allegedly remains "unknown".

Sci-fi Alien Battles in LA in February 2011.

By Jarrod Sarafin August 18, 2009Source: Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures has a date in mind as to when Aaron Eckhart will fight off an alien invasion in the streets of Los Angeles. The studio has set their sci-fi action piece, Battle: Los Angeles, to premiere in theaters on February 18, 2011. At the moment, that's the only wide release set for that weekend but as time moves forward we're sure some other studio will line up one of their releases for the dame date.
The film will star Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Pena and Bridget Moynahan. Jonathan Liebesman is directing from a screenplay by Chris Bertolini and Scott Silver.
Plot Concept: "Battle: Los Angeles" revolves around a Marine staff sergeant (Eckhart) and his new platoon's battle against an alien invasion on the streets of Los Angeles. Rodriguez will play Crpl. Adriana Santos, a member of a radio battalion. Pena plays the father of a boy the Marines find along the way, and Moynahan plays a veterinarian.

Official unfazed by other states’ film incentives

City Business New Orleans,

California has joined the film and television incentive game, giving Louisiana’s tax break program more competition. But the state program’s leaders don’t see Louisiana leaving the limelight anytime soon.
A $500 million incentive program signed into law by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in February began taking applications July 1, adding California to a list of more than 40 states with active incentive programs, Louisiana Office of Entertainment Development director Chris Stelly said.
When Louisiana began its program in 2002, only a handful of other states had similar programs, but the added competition hasn’t hurt, Stelly said.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect Louisiana,” he said. “You have to take the sum total of everything we’re doing into account. We have a deep crew base; it’s a lot more cost-efficient to shoot here with lower crew rates and lower hotel rates.”
Four feature-length movies are filming in Louisiana and nine more are in preproduction, Stelly said.
“We’re consistently in the top five states,” he said. “When folks are setting up their budgets for movies, Louisiana is always in the top five for locations. They look at the incentive and they measure the numbers to see what they’re going to get back by shooting here, but then they see the other factors like artistic value and crew base. Creatively we have become a great fit for a number of pictures.”
An upcoming film, “Battle of Los Angeles,” will film throughout Louisiana despite being set in Hollywood, Stelly said.

Story by:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Filming for August 2009 in Louisiana

Battle: Los Angeles is in pre-production in Baton Rouge, Shreveport fax resume
to (225) 330-6961

Secretariat is in pre-production in South Louisiana. Email resumes to

Straw Dogs is in pre-production in Shreveport. Email resumes to

The Somnambulist is in pre-production in New Orleans. Email resumes to

The Mechanic is in pre production in New Orleans. More info coming soon

Wrong Side of Town Part II is in pre-production in Baton Rouge. Email resumes to

Monster Wolf is in pre production in Lafayette. Email resumes to

Swamp Shark is in pre-production in Lafayette. Email resumes to

Keep It Together is in pre-production in New Orleans. More info coming soon

Father of Invention is filming in New Orleans. Email resumes to

The Exterminators is filming in Shreveport. Email resumes to

The Imagination Movers is filming in New Orleans. Email resumes to

Death House is filming in Baton Rouge. Email resumes to

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sci-Fi movie "Battle Los Angeles" to be shot in Baton Rouge

This is a great film for the State of Louisiana so move over Los Angeles. You can see how the tax incentives work when a film production and story based in and on Los Angeles is willing to film in Louisiana instead of on location in Los Angeles to capture some of the State available funds.

This film is a big production and it will have all eyes in Hollywood looking to the production to see if Louisiana is a better place to film than California. Below is the story from Baton Rouge.

This is the link the the story of Battle Los Angeles coming to Baton Rouge.

Principle filming will be based at Raleigh Studios in Baton Rouge and at the Celtic Media Center. In addition it is rumored that they will film a few scenes in Shreveport Louisiana where they will close some of the interstate overpasses to film.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Governor Jindal Signs Tax Incentives into Law

Jul 09, 2009

Governor Jindal Signs Tax Incentives Into Law

BATON ROUGE - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he signed nine tax incentive bills into law. Notably, he signed six tax incentives that will continue to make Louisiana more economically competitive, including HB 898 by Rep. Cameron Henry which increases the film production tax credit, HB 458 by

Rep. Kirk Talbot which extends the sound recording production and infrastructure tax credit program, SB 277 by Sen. Ann Duplessis which extends and expands the Digital Interactive Media Tax Credit, HB 790 by Rep. Hunter Greene which extends the research and development tax credit, HB 110 by Rep. Jane Smith that provides a tax credit for clean burning motors, and HB 215 by Representatives Hutter, Leger, and Richmond that will create a cargo and infrastructure tax credit for Louisiana ports.
Governor Jindal said, “These tax incentives are critical tools to give Louisiana a bright economic future. By signing these bills, we’re ensuring that we not only have the ability to remain economically competitive, but that we can continue to move our state forward by making Louisiana the greatest place in the world to find a great paying job and raise a family.”

HB 898 by Rep. Cameron Henry is a Governor’s package bill that increases the film production tax credit from 25 percent to 30 percent and eliminates the phase-down of the tax credit program. Current phase out schedule for the film production credit (currently at 25 percent) is 20 percent on July 1, 2010, and then 15 percent on July 1, 2012.

HB 458 by Rep. Kirk Talbot is a Governor’s package bill that extends the sound recording production and infrastructure tax credit program by moving the program’s sunset provision to from 2010 to 2015 in order to stimulate long-term investment by the industry.

The Sound Recording Tax Credits provides credits for two purposes: production and infrastructure. For production there is a 25 percent refundable tax credit based on total in-state expenditures related to the production of a sound recording, and for infrastructure there is a 25 percent refundable tax credit based on total in-state expenditures for the development of sound recording studios.

SB 277 by Sen. Ann Duplessis is similar to Governor’s package bill HB 457, which extends and expands the Digital Interactive Media Tax Credit by permanently extending and increasing the credit by 5 percent creating a single rate of 25 percent of expenditures plus an additional 10 percent for Louisiana resident payroll expenditures (35 percent total credit for resident payroll). The bill also expands the definition of digital media to include technology companies.

HB 790 by Rep. Hunter Greene is similar to Governor’s package bill SB 108, which extends the research and development tax credit until December 31, 2013, and doubles the credit for small and emerging businesses with less than 50 employees. HB 790 also authorizes a taxpayer who receives a federal Small Business Innovation Research Grant to qualify for a tax credit equal to 40 percent of the award received during the taxable year. This is an increase in the current 20 percent credit.

Message from the Govenors office.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A message from Glorioso Casting.

Work in film in the Louisiana film industry as a extra or even a featured extra and get paid doing it. Louisiana filming is picking up again and if you would like to work in the Shreveport area here is your chance.

Message from Ryan Glorioso.

Check out the My Home town Show interview

Sony/Screen Gems (Obsessed, Quarantine, Underworld, Rise of the Lycons) announces the movie “Straw Dogs,” written and directed by Rod Lurie, is slated to begin filming in Shreveport, LA on August 17, 2009.Glorioso Casting, LLC (Harold & Kumar 2, The Mist, The Expendables) is conducting the local casting for the film with open auditions scheduled in July.

People of all ages and ethnicities are encouraged to attend as there is a need for more than 1,000 extras in several of the scenes as well as featured extras. (See Special Needs Below). Those unable to attend the open casting call can register by visiting .When: Saturday July 11, 2009Time: Registration 11:00am – 5:00pmWhere: Louisiana Boardwalk540 Boardwalk Blvd.Bossier City, LA 71111Suite 310 (across from RUE 21 and The Nike Store)

What to bring: Bring a recent non-returnable photo (4 x 6 preferred). If you do not have a picture, one will be taken for you.Applicants may also bring a photo of their car to be considered for the film.

Special Needs: Everyone should register!

However we do have a strong need for:

• FOOTBALL PLAYERS: 18 - 23 years to look high school age. Real football players are encouraged to attend.

• CHEERLEADERS: 18 - 23 years to look high school age. Real cheerleaders are encouraged to attend. • REFEREE’S: REAL football referees are encouraged to attend.

• TOWNSPEOPLE: Adults, 18 and over, are strongly encouraged to attend. Children may sign up as well but parents/guardians must be present.

NOTE: We will have 4 days of NIGHT SHOOTING the week of August 17th, 2009 and we will need a large amount of extras.

NOTE: These are PAID positions. All who attend will be considered for the film!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

When Sylvester Stallone brings an explosive movie called 'The Expendables' to New Orleans, there's nothing small about it by Mike Scott

by Mike Scott, Movie writer, The Times-Picayune
Monday July 06, 2009, 5:00 AM
Picture Courtesy of Lionsgate.

The bullet casings littering the New Orleans-area set of the Sylvester Stallone action flick "The Expendables" didn't seem quite right.
They were strewn across the deck of a faux cargo freighter dominating a significant chunk of the 500,000-square-foot Louisiana Film Studios facility in Elmwood. To the untrained eye, they appeared to be .22-caliber shells or something similarly small, littler than the tip of a man's pinkie finger.
And in this movie -- built around an oversized cast, shot upon oversized sets and utilizing oversized weapons -- .22 caliber is unacceptably puny. Because the $80 million "Expendables" is not small. It's really big.
"It is very, very, very hard," writer-director-actor Stallone said, describing the shoot during a recent break, still wearing the black fatigues his character wears in the movie. "This is the hardest film -- and I know everybody says that -- (but) this is unbelievably difficult. It's just tough. There's just so much action."
Coming from a pedigreed action-film veteran with such titles as "Rocky" and "Rambo" under his belt -- not to mention their combined eight sequels (so far) -- those words mean something.
On this particular hard day's night -- which started about 8 p.m. and was still going strong at 3 a.m. -- Stallone already had overseen the near-hanging of one bad guy, a scripted fist fight between martial artists Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren, a bit of comedic improvisation with Lundgren, and a handful of increasingly jarring explosions that echoed through the studio complex while most of the cast was grabbing a 2 a.m. "lunch."
So the action star, who turns 63 today, can be excused for propping himself on the front of a golf cart to chat with pasty reporter-types.
"This started out as a dark comedy; it started out as a satire," Stallone said. "Then we thought, 'Let's make a really hard R' -- then I go back. It constantly was being just brutally changed. It wasn't until a week before filming that I said, 'Let's just make it this kind of movie.'"
And what is "this kind of movie"?
It's a high-adrenaline, well-muscled buddy picture in which Stallone, Jason Statham, Li and their team of mercenaries -- which includes Lundgren, mixed-martial-arts champ Randy Couture and NFL-player-turned-actor Terry Crews -- tackle the types of missions normally reserved for people whose combat boots and MREs come compliments of Uncle Sam.
Their missions come to them through a grease-monkey intermediary named Tool (played by Mickey Rourke).
"Let's say we dug up 'The Wild Bunch' and gave them one more shot," Stallone said. "These guys don't fit in this kind of world. They are 'The Expendables.' That's why they're called that."
Before the production wrapped late last week after two months in the New Orleans area, the sets for "The Expendables" sprawled all over the Louisiana Film Studios complex, a former Winn-Dixie grocery warehouse that saw its conversion into a film studio rushed along to accommodate Stallone and company.
In one section of the warehouse was the aforementioned cargo freighter deck, perched atop a 10-foot wooden platform. In another area was a set constructed to resemble the ship's cavernous cargo hold. There's also a wingless military plane somewhere, painted in the logo of the ornithology outfit that serves as the cover for the movie's mercenary characters. And, looming in the darkness outside, there's an expansive palace complex that had taken a pyrotechnic beating on previous nights.
Impressive stuff, to be sure -- but nowhere near as impressive as the film's alpha-male cast. In addition to Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Crews, Couture and Rourke, it also includes former pro wrestler Steve Austin and Oscar nominee Eric Roberts. There are plans for a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as a double-secret cameo from another action star whom the producers are playing coy about naming (*cough*cough*Bruce Willis*).
"We've got some tough men in this movie," Stallone said. "I mean some bad-asses, trust me. The extras -- you think I'm joking? -- we've got extras in this movie that could conquer countries. I went to Brazil and got the baddest, toughest mercenary group. It's staggering. Every one of them would just take all of us and snap us like spaghetti -- and they're extras."
Earlier in the night, and for much of the previous one, Stallone spent time choreographing the film's action-packed opening sequence, in which his titular team of mercenaries settles a hostage crisis with Somali pirates in the only way their know how: loudly.
("Don't be scared of the pirates," unit publicist Sheryl Main whispered unconvincingly to a group of set visitors.)
A motley band of mahogany hulks wearing tattered shirts and permanent scowls, the pirates are presumably among the bad-asses to whom Stallone was referring. When the cast and crew sat down for lunch, these guys had a table to themselves.
Even Crews -- who spent seven seasons as an NFL defensive end and linebacker -- found himself wide-eyed at the sheer scope of the action in "The Expendables."
"Everything is intimidating, dude," Crews said. "This is crazy."
Courtesy of Lionsgate"This started out as a dark comedy; it started out as a satire," Stallone said of "The Expendables." "Then we thought, 'Let's make a really hard R' -- then I go back. It constantly was being just brutally changed. It wasn't until a week before filming that I said, 'Let's just make it this kind of movie.'"
In a neck-and-neck race with Li for the title of most congenial member of the "Expendables" cast, Crews might also be the biggest. On one biceps is the skull-and-raven tattoo worn by all the members of Stallone's fictional mercenary team. Statham jokes that the version on Crews' supersized arm is the one that usually goes on others' backs.
Those biceps weren't of much use, however, when the movie's pyrotechnics experts placed explosive charges throughout the palace courtyard, a duplicate of a real complex in Brazil at which the production filmed.
"When they blew this whole set up, I swear it looked like 9/11. It was scary," Crews said. "I was really concerned about everybody on the ground. You start to worry, when the dust settles, 'Is everybody going to be OK?' I mean, that was a major, major thing. That was so huge. It was bigger than anybody thought it was going to be. It was like, 'Oh, wow. OK, I think we overdid it this time.'"
Overkill -- that seems to be a common theme on "The Expendables" set. It's the word Crews uses to describe his character's trademark weapon, an AA-12 semi-automatic shotgun. ("When I tell you it's the most insane thing you've ever seen -- each bullet, it arms itself with its own grenade," he said. "It's the king of overkill.")
It's also the word used by Lundgren, who's working with Stallone for the first time since playing rival boxer Ivan Drago in 1985's "Rocky IV," to describe his character. ("His special skill is overkill," Lundgren said. "He's got the biggest knife -- here's the sheath -- the biggest gun, which fires tank grenades that sort of vaporizes the person, liquefies them. When you hit him, it's game over.")
Stallone's character carries a pair of .45-caliber handguns. Statham's is a knife man. Li arms himself with steel-toed boots, which become lethal weapons when attached to his lightning-fast feet. And Couture's weapons are his hands.
Beneath it all, however, Stallone knows there has to be more than bloodied baddies to keep audiences engaged.
"Like 'Rocky, he said, referring to the career-defining 1976 movie that earned him Oscar nominations for acting and writing. "The whole thing about 'Rocky' wasn't about him boxing. It was about aging -- that was what made the movie. It wasn't him. It was about her -- him finding love, him making someone's life better -- and, before you know it, the audience identified with it."
In "The Expendables," he said he has created a group of characters who are hardened, heartless and invulnerable in combat. Off the battlefield, however, each is deeply flawed. "Every one of them has feet of clay," he said.
Strapping Statham's character , for example, has trouble relating to women; Stallone's has trouble relating to everybody; and Lundgren's is a homicidal maniac.
Although the movie, with its big action, big cast and sense of humor, is meant to be fun, Stallone hopes the undercurrent of vulnerability he's written into the major characters makes audiences connect with them. "If it's just about muscles and bullets, then it's a pretty limited thing," he said.
If such a connection is made, you can expect to see "The Expendables" back for more adventures.
"Definitely. We already have got some ideas about 'Expendables No. 2,' 'No. 3," said Millennium Films' Avi Lerner, a producer on the film. "Definitely, it's a franchise movie."
The cast's principals would jump at the chance to crack more skulls in a sequel -- assuming their characters are still around when the final credits roll on this first installment. The movie is called "The Expendables," after all.
Some even divulged that their characters survive the action.
And just like that, these "Expendables" don't seem very expendable after all.
"That's what I'm saying!" Crews said. "'The Renegotiatables' -- let's make that happen."

Movie critic Mike Scott be reached at or 504.826.3444. Read him online at or follow his Twitter feed at

Thursday, June 25, 2009

HB898 passes, now to the Governors desk.

HB898 has just passed the with 30% production incentive, 5% LA labor incentive and a buyback from the State at $.85 for the tax incentives. There is also no sunset provision that will keep our productions from decreasing. It now only has to be signed by the Governor or if he does not sign it, it will still go into effect two weeks afterwords anyway. There is no reason the Governor will not sign this bill. In turn the Louisiana movie industry could dramatically increase productions throughout the state. Four movies are looking to film in Shreveport in the coming months. New Orleans has quite a few productions coming South. This will certainly help out all of the crew base that stayed in Louisiana during hard times. Thanks to all who went to Baton Rouge to show support and to all who emailed and called the Legislators and Senators. Your hard work is why we are where we are now. Let's make Louisiana the number 1 state for productions outside of Hollywood.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's true. 'Year One' built Sodom in Sibley. by Alexandr Kent

You thought Sodom was destroyed by fire and brimstone? Perhaps, until Sony Pictures got their hands on new building plans. The studio built a replica of the ancient city of sin near Sibley for "Year One," a biblical comedy opening Friday.

The set, without question, is the maddest to have been built in northwest Louisiana. At peak, the construction crew hit 300. The six-acre set, replete with a giant bull head idol, massive palace doors and 90,000 square feet of foam walls and equal footage of paver stones, sits atop a sand pit surrounded by swamp land.

Sounds crazy? Maybe just a little, even to the movie's production designer.
"I know there have been big sets, but that is certainly the biggest one I have ever worked on," Jefferson Sage said. "I think that is one of those rare few that come along every once in awhile. It was kind of exhilarating, fun and terrifying at the same time."
It took about three winter months to build, and was used (onscreen) to sacrifice virgins, stone cavemen and generally represent a chaotic, free-spirited city of the ancient world. At times, it played host to 700 extras and many, many critters, not to mention the film's stars, Jack Black and Michael Cera.
Sage said director Harold Ramis wanted every detail — from the faux stone walls to the slave collars, to look real.
"We had a very large building crew," Sage said. "Carpenters, plasters, painters ... it was a vast operation. There were guys there to just fill the gas tanks."

Jason White, who owns the construction material company Foam-It, got an opportunity to apply his trade to the big screen. He and a team made and carved the high-stone walls — which are really foam attached to timber frames — surrounding Sodom. His tool of choice? He opted for the gas-powered chain saw, while others went electric.
"For somebody like me who enjoys a really good challenge, that is all you want right there," White said. "It took us just a little over two months."
How will it look?
"I'm extremely confident that it's going to look great," said White, who credited foreman Anthony Henderson and others for coordinating a huge build.

Christopher Moore, an experienced metal artist and prop maker, was tasked with making all sorts of nutty stuff. Need an ax? He'll design nine. Slave chains in steel and leather? OK. Carve a bull's head into a copper water pitcher handle? Coming right up. Fire pits? All right.

"For me, the most amazing part was they didn't skimp on anything," Moore said. "When you look at the palace doors, those are real wooden doors with steel hinges."
He too credits a crew that put in long hours and invested in the movie's meticulous vision.
"If they pay attention to the movie, they will be amazing by the sets, because everything is fake," Moore said.

Phillip Jordan Brooks, who worked as an assistant location manager, sums it up best.
"It was really amazing," Brooks said. "The construction crew was just phenomenal. They were brilliant. They were efficient. There were just tons of people working on there down at the end."
And once it got done and filming commenced? Brooks remembers extras sneaking in fishing poles to fish in the swamps, and watching camels get wrangled every day.
"Period oxen. Horses. Goats. Chickens. Primates," Brooks said. "It was like a Fellini movie."

By Alexandyr Kent • • June 18, 2009 Shreveport Times

SB245 and HB898 are moving around.

I have not heard to much information but Diego Martinez from Millenium Studios said that HB898 by Senator Henry passed the Senate with the 30% incentive and now moves on. Also SB245 passed committee and now goes on to the house floor. So many people have been working so hard to get these bills heard and now we are seeing the fruits of their labor paying off. I would like to thank everyone who sent letters and made phone calls to their Senators. There is still a ways to go but things are looking up. Please keep supporting the bills by contacting your Senators and the Governor and tell them you want to support these two bills.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SAG approves feature-primetime deal

Posted: Tue., Jun. 9, 2009, 8:20 pm CT
SAG approves feature-primetime deal
Members vote 'Yes' on two-year contract
Screen Actors Guild members have ratified a two-year feature-primetime contract with a 78% yes vote, ending a yearlong drama that has left the guild mired in in-fighting and acrimony.
SAG announced the results Tuesday evening, three weeks after sending out ballots to 110,000 eligible members.
The two-year pact has been the source of bitter disagreement for more than a year between moderate leaders -- who approved the tentative deal on April 19 -- and hardliners led by president Alan Rosenberg and his allies on the SAG national board, who denounced the contract shortly after it was announced.
SAG's deal includes a 3.5% annual hike in minimums -- a 3% salary hike in the first year plus a 0.5% gain in pension and health contributions in the first year and a 3.5% salary increase in the second; it also spells out the pay structure for shows streamed on and made for the Internet. That''s essentially the same deal the companies offered a year ago but which was spurned by hardliners who advocated holding out for richer terms for new-media compensation.
Approval of the deal extinguishes a nagging uncertainty for the business for more than a year. Production on film and TV was thrown off-kilter, first by the WGA strike and then by studios' and nets' fears that SAG might walk out.
SAG's "Yes for Your Future" campaign featured more than a dozen members-only town hall meetings and emphasized the gains in minimums and new-media jurisdiction and argued that the lack of a deal has deprived working actors of an estimated $85 million in pay raises for the past year. Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Sally Field and former president Melissa Gilbert endorsed the deal along with more than 1,200 other members.
The "No for Your Future" campaign contended that the explosive growth of new-media precludes accepting the same template as the WGA, DGA and AFTRA. They've asserted that voting the deal down would force the congloms to offer SAG better terms -- though the congloms had insisted for the past year that they would not sweeten the deal.
Martin Sheen, Ed Harris, Melissa Leo, and former SAG president Ed Asner were among the high-profile thesps who opposed the deal.
Read the full article at:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Caddo passes film tax incentives by Drew Pierson

Just as Shreveport did recently, Caddo passed tax incentives Thursday for film and media companies who do work in the parish.

"I think it's a great idea. ... It's something for young people to be excited about," said District 5 Commissioner Sam Jenkins Jr., of Shreveport.
First-time movie and media companies in the area can receive up to $20,000 in tax incentives for doing work in Caddo and up to $22,000 each time that company comes back. Each company must spend at least $75,000 per production.
"The reason why we want to do tax incentives for the movie industry is that nothing ventured is nothing gained," said District 4 Commissioner Matthew Linn, of Shreveport.
Caddo's tax incentives are the latest salvo in a bid for local governments to lure and maintain movie and media companies enticed by the state's tax incentives to spend their money in northwest Louisiana. Shreveport just approved incentives that offer $150,000 to $175,000 per project for movies, TV shows and commercials with budgets of at least $300,000.

By Drew Pierson • • June 5, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Senate panel OKs expanding movie tax credits by Mike Hasten

BATON ROUGE — A Senate committee has approved increasing the amount of tax credits available for filming movies in Louisiana despite a warning from an administration official.

The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee with a 7-3 vote approved SB245 by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton. The bill increases the percentage of Louisiana expenditures that qualify for transferable tax credits from 25 percent to 30 percent.
The increase is estimated to cost the state another $20 million, which Cynthia Bridges, secretary of the state Department of Revenue and Taxation, cautioned "would require a corresponding reduction in expenditures." Bridges said there is money in the budget to renew the tax break at the current level.
Shreveport producer Lampton Enochs told the committee the increase is needed so the state can stay competitive. Georgia and Michigan have better credit offerings than Louisiana and are taking movies away from Louisiana.
He said he knows of "a film that was written for Shreveport, based in Shreveport and is being filmed in Atlanta" because Georgia offers 30 percent credits.
Last year, Louisiana had 20 films in production by this time but this year, there are only nine. By contract, Georgia, which had nine last year, now has 20.
Enochs said if the shift continues, the necessary staffing that has been building up in Louisiana could shift to Georgia and it would be "harder and harder for us to maintain the industry here."
Although the film industry is big business for Louisiana, the tax credits are actually a drain on state revenues, said Greg Albrecht, of the Legislative Fiscal Office. Last year, $100 million in credits were claimed and the state saw only $15 million in tax revenues.
Sherri McConnell, director of the state's entertainment office, acknowledged "the tax revenue break to the state is a negative" but it created about 6,000 jobs and brought large developments.
Adley summarized the conversation: "Other states have bumped it up. If we don't match it, they don't come here."
He said he was "a little surprised" because he was told that the state was getting $6 back for every $1 it invested.
"I never told the Legislature you'd get $6 back," Albrecht said. He said he participated in a study that found "there's $6 spending for every $1 you invested."
Few of the movie production companies cash in the credits because they don't spend that much in the state, Albrecht said. About $330 million was spent here and companies reported 6,000 "employment episodes" that he said can be short spurts of employment and one person could have several "episodes."
Instead, the movie companies sell the credits for a percentage of their worth to people or companies that owe taxes to the state and the purchasers get a break on taxes.
"The buyers of the paper are generally unrelated to the film industry," he said.
The bill is to be debated in the Senate.

By Mike Hasten • • May 27, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shreveport Mayor Signs Local Film Tax Rebate

Mayor Cedric Glover of Shreveport signed a new local law today that will hopefully bring new productions into the Shreveport area. The tax rebate is for movies and television productions that can be worth between $150,000 and $175,000 per project.

With the signing of the new rebate Millennium Films announced the filming of Straw Dogs which should start in July. Also Millennium announced the filming of The Mechanic staring Jason Statham which will start production around June. Also, two other films are looking at the area with a strong chance of filling up Shreveport with productions throughout the summer months.

Shreveport has had a very slow start this year with only a little over 4 milllion dollars worth of productions for the first quarter of the year. That should change real soon with new productions lining up for the new tax rebate that Shreveport is offering.

Caddo Parish is looking into passing a parish wide incentive to keep more productions in the area for the future. If the Governor passes a increased statewide incentive Shreveport will have one of the most competitive incentives in the country which will even outdo Georgia's aggressive incentive that has caused many productions to pass Louisiana by for more savings. My hats off to Councilman Calvin Lestor who proposed the rebate, Mayor Cedric Glover and the City Council for backing the idea and signing it into law and Arlena Acree of the Shreveport Film Office.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shreveport Passes Local Rebate for Film

The Shreveport City Council passed a sales tax incentives that covers Caddo Parish Louisiana. It will still have a few more channels to go through to put it in effect but it is a great step towards Shreveport showing true dedication to the future of the film industry.

The City of Shreveport offers economic incentives to the film industry in the form of rebates of sales taxes paid on lodging, lease, rental and other production expenditures made in City of Shreveport, including but not limited to sound stage or location leases and post production costs. I will have more to tell you as soon as the city finalizes the incentive.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Proposed tax rebate for City of Shreveport Set for Tuesday

Shreveport is working on adding additional tax incentives to the state incentive to entice movie productions to film more in Shreveport. Below is what is all about.

Councilman Calvin Lester of Shreveport will ask for a vote on this resolution on Tuesday, May 12. It would establish a local tax rebate. Let me know what you think. Our City Hall reporter Adam Kealoha Causey will be following up, so if you have any direct questions about City Council, email him at The full text of the resolution is below:
RESOLUTION NO. ___ of 2009
By: Councilman Lester
WHEREAS, the film industry represents a tremendous opportunity for economic development in the City of Shreveport, but is in a highly competitive field, and therefore to encourage growth, industry incentives are important.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Shreveport, in due, regular and legal session convened:
SECTION 1. That the following film industry incentive policy is hereby adopted, to read as follows:
1. Incentives
a. The City of Shreveport offers economic incentives to the film industry in the form of rebates of sales taxes paid on lodging, lease, rental and other production expenditures made in City of Shreveport, including but not limited to sound stage or location leases and post production costs.
b. For the purposes of this resolution, the term “film industry” shall include film and television productions, television commercials, and music videos.
c. Incentives are subject to the production company entering into a contract with the City of Shreveport relative to the incentive payments.
2. Incentive Funding Caps:
a. Basic Cap- $150,000.00 total to any individual project or production for new productions by a production company which has not previously received any City of Shreveport incentives.
b. Subsequent Productions- $165,000.00 for a production company which brings a subsequent production to the City of Shreveport within twelve months of completion of the prior project.
c. The funding cap shall be increased by $10,000 for productions which both have a production office in Caddo Parish and lease premises to be used as a soundstage in Caddo Parish.
3. Requirements for Rebate:
a. Production must either:
1. Have its production office located within Caddo Parish, or
2. Utilize a soundstage located within Caddo Parish, and;
b. Have acceptable expenditures of the type listed in paragraph 4, paid within Caddo Parish, amounting to at least $300,000.00.
c. In order to qualify for the enhanced subsequent production cap, both the original and the subsequent production must meet the criteria listed in 3.a. and 3.b.
4. a. Productions meeting the above requirements will be eligible for incentive payments equal to the City of Shreveport sales taxes paid on the following expenditures:
1. LODGING for cast and crew incurred in the City of Shreveport.
2. LEASE OR RENTAL EXPENSES, including all lease or rental expenses for equipment, automobiles, sound stage, location or production offices paid for a site in the City of Shreveport.
3. OTHER PRODUCTION AND POST PRODUCTION EXPENSES, including purchases of materials and supplies, related to the production of the project and post production.
b. For the purposes of this section, the term “City of Shreveport sales taxes” means sales taxes levied by the City of Shreveport, excluding the portion of the sales taxes dedicated by law or debt obligations to another purpose.
c. Payment and eligibility for incentives shall be subject to such reasonable rules and regulations as determined by the City of Shreveport Film Office.
5. Application process
a. Upon executing a lease or rental agreement, applicant should contact the City of Shreveport Film Office to begin the prequalification process. Film industry incentives are administered by, and all determinations of eligibility will be made by, the City of Shreveport Film Office.
b. The application shall include all information required by the City of Shreveport Film Office, including but not limited to:
1. Total projected budget,
2. Estimated total of expenditures eligible for the sales tax rebate,
3. Estimated room nights,
4. List of vendors and services likely to be utilized.
c. If the application is approved by the City of Shreveport Film Office, the production company shall enter into an agreement with the City of Shreveport for the incentive payments.
d. When the production efforts in the City of Shreveport are completed, applicant may apply for payment. Payment must be requested no later than 180 days from the completion of production. Payment will be made after the city has reviewed and, if necessary, audited the expenses in the application.
e. Payment of incentives is subject to funding as follows. The City of Shreveport will appropriate funds for incentive payments in an amount determined by the City Council and adopted in a budget ordinance. The Mayor will be authorized to execute agreements for incentive payments up to the amount of the incentives authorized herein, until all appropriated funds have been expended or encumbered by the exeution of agreements. Once funds appropriated in a fiscal year have been expended or encumbered, no further incentive agreements will be executed for that fiscal year, unless additional funds are appropriated for that purpose. In the event an agreement is entered into for a production extending into a future fiscal year, the agreement will include a non-appropriation clause, making incentive payments in future years for that production subject to the appropriation of funds for that purpose.
f. This incentive program applies to expenditures in the City of Shreveport for productions begun after the effective date of these provisions. For the purposes of the enhanced, subsequent cap, the original production may have already begun, but must still be on-going, at the time of the adoption of these provisions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution shall become effective after a budget ordinance has been adopted appropriating the funds for the incentive payments, and a resolution has been adopted authorizing the Mayor to execute agreements for the incentive payments.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if any provision of this resolution or the application thereof is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions, items or applications of this resolution which can be given effect without the invalid provisions, items or applications and to this end the provisions of this resolution are hereby declared severable.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all resolutions or parts thereof in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.
Approved as to legal form:
City Attorney’s Office

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A message from Susie Labry about Louisiana Tax Incentives

UPDATE as of May 5 Some bills were filed and I added to this site.
There is widespread consensus and support of HB862 by Rep. Gallot and SB245 by Sen. Adley to increase tax credits to 30% for Production, 10% for Louisiana Workers, NO SUNSETS, NO SCALEDOWNS.

We are asking all to contact their State Representative and State Senator and Governor to support HB862 and SB245 and to tell them in a short paragraph how the movie industry effected you, your family and friends and community. I have set up below to make it easy to track legislation, etc. Any questions, please email me at or call me at 225-235-7879 or find me on Facebook.
To All in Louisiana Film Industry, Theater Live Performance Industry, Video/Digital Industry, Music Industry
The Legislature 2009 Tracking Legislation Regarding Louisiana Film, Video, Music, Entertainment IndustryTAX INCENTIVES
Legislative Website
House of Representatives
House of Representatives Live Video on Day of Live Video.
House Ways & Means Committee
House Ways & Means Committee Contact Info.
House of Representatives Ways & Means Agenda
Louisiana Senate
Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee
Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee Members and Contact Info
Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Live Video
Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Agenda
Senate Committee Schedules
For Live VideosFor Live Video RealPlayer Real1 Required.Download RealPlayer RealOne for Free
The GovernorBobby Jindal the Governor
Acrobat Reader Required to Read the BillsDownlaod Acrobat Reader for Free
House Bills
HB31 by Rep. LopintoHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB142 by Rep. HenryHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB213 by Rep. TalbotHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB272 by Rep. RichmondHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB450 by Rep. KatzHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB458 by Rep. TalbotHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB475 by Rep. GreeneHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB614 by Rep. MonicaHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB693 by Rep. GreeneHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB735 by Rep. MonicaHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB789 by Rep. GreeneHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB798 by Rep. CarterHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB811 by Rep. TalbotHouse Ways & Means Committee
HB862 by Rep. GallotHouse Ways & Means Committee
Senate Bills
SB 123 by Sen. MichotSenate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee
SB159 by Sen. MarionneauxSenate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee
SB160 by Sen. MarionneauxSenate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee
SB245 by Sen. AdleySenate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee
SB277 by Sen. DuplessisSenate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee
SB287 by Sen. MartinySenate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee