Louisiana Film Industry Optimistic About The Future
"Hollywood South" was getting a reputation across the nation as the place to shoot movies, television shows, documentaries, and infomercials. "Hollywood South" is the film industries nickname for Louisiana. In fact, the state was beginning to rival even California for the number of feature films and other productions that were being shot and produced here.
Then came Louisiana's budget crisis and the film tax credit cap. Many in the industry figured this change in tax laws would seriously cripple the young but growing film industry in the state. Halfway through the 36 months $180 million cap, the industry is still doing better than just surviving.
The film tax credit cap has certainly changed the way production companies do business in the state. Patrick Mulhearn is Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association president. He told the Louisiana Radio Network,
To think the legislature will let the cap go away completely would be naive. The film industry is actually on the same page as the Louisiana Budget Project. We need to switch the program from a back-end cap to a front-end cap.
Mulhearn suggested in his comments that the state did lose potential revenue when the film tax credit cap was imposed.
Louisiana must have the most air-tight, fraud and abuse-proof program in the world, and those people who know that are gone, and a lot of them are in Atlanta.
What will happen in the long term for the state's film industry? A lot of that will depend on how legislators handle the budget during next year's legislative session. In the present, Lousiana's studios, film houses, sound stages, and production facilities are finding other uses for their spaces and holding their breath that the next few months won't be the end of the "Hollywood South".