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.