It’s no secret that Louisiana was home to productions like 1989’s “Steel Magnolias” or 2019’s “Christmas in Louisiana,” but the state’s film industry is much broader than what meets the eye. South Louisiana has been the site of an increasing number of star-studded films, including “The Secretariat” in 2010 and the upcoming time-bending story “57 Seconds” featuring Academy Award-winning actor, Morgan Freeman.
Generous film incentives have helped Louisiana earn the nickname of “Hollywood South.” These incentives aren’t just designed to draw major movie productions, but smaller and independent projects as well.
Bringing “57 Seconds” to Life in South Louisiana
Starring Morgan Freeman and Josh Hutcherson, of Hunger Games, “57 Seconds” has generated a great deal of excitement in South Louisiana. Combining A-list star power with a compelling plot based on E.C. Tubbs’ book “Fallen Angel” makes it an even more powerful production. Though filming in Lafayette is expected to extend from April to July 2022, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to the finished work when it eventually hits the big screen in 2023.
According to the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, the time-travel thriller is expected to bring $8.5 million to the city’s economy and create 500 jobs.
While some of these positions are temporary, the film-friendly environment has created careers in South Louisiana. Griff Furst of Curmudgeon Films, producer for “57 Seconds,” is a familiar face in Lafayette. He has been personally involved in over a dozen movie productions in the area throughout his career. Four of these movies were recent productions filmed between 2019 and 2021 and accounted for substantial contributions to the local economy.
Production History of Hollywood South
South Louisiana has been growing into a hot-spot for a long time, boasting a healthy variety of screenplay productions since the 1980s. In fact, it can trace its roots all the way back to the 1918 release of “Tarzan of the Apes.” The movie was filmed in Morgan City, Louisiana and used local, swampy terrain as jungle scenery throughout the story.
More recent notable productions include “Casey’s Shadow” in 1978, “The Apostle” in 1997, and “All the King’s Men” in 2006. Productions range from family-friendly and wholesome to gripping action and thriller titles. Films like “The Christmas Contract” and “Hometown Christmas” in 2018 round out the selection with lighthearted holiday fun.
Boons of the Bayou
Local government legislation in South Louisiana has created several tangible benefits for film production, which are credited with fostering the area’s blossoming creative industry. One of the major incentives is the Motion Picture Production Tax Credit, which provides up to 40 percent tax credit on in-state expenditures related to motion picture production for qualified projects. Film producers can also benefit from loans from The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority (LPTFA) as a financing option.
These tax credits and loan opportunities provide direct and immediate benefits to producers, while securing the long-term financial future of the local economy. LPTFA loans are paid back on interest, which provides extra funding to government authorities. Analysts also estimate that every $1 of tax credits certified returns over $6 in economic impact throughout the state’s economy.
Creative Commerce in Cajun and Creole Country
Cajun and Creole Country can be just as creative with film production as it is with famous cuisine, heavy industry, and outdoor activity. Drawing producers to the area isn’t just about recognition in creative circles, it offers stronger career options for skilled professionals and lays a foundation for the growth of the local artistic community.
From student films to the silver screen, learn more about all of the film incentives available for those looking to shoot their stories in South Louisiana.