The Louisiana Economic Development has awarded the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) $920,000 to develop a new visual arts and film production program through its Entertainment Development Fund. This initiative will not only renew filmmakers’ interest in using the region for upcoming films and movies but the program’s state-of-the-art technology will also attract aspiring visual fx students to the area. In addition, this development will offer the university opportunities to showcase the new talent that will emerge from its efforts through online events.
What Does it Mean to Residents?
While Louisiana is known for its role in the entertainment industry, it’s often confined to New Orleans. However, Cajun Country is now emerging onto the scene. The visual fx industry has long been known for being an economic driver, and given the competitive edge this program will bring to the market, South Louisiana is on track to become a highly-sought after destination for motion picture films. With this boost to the local economy comes new sustainable revenue streams, the creation of hundreds of new jobs, and the national recognition our unique backdrop deserves.
Once complete, we can expect to see increased interest in recruitment and location utilization of the area. State and regional incentives such as tax credits and funding resources have drawn producers and celebrities to the Boot State for decades, but the addition of UL Lafayette’s emerging talent pool will seal the film deal for those in the market for an affordable, one-of-a-kind place to bring their story to life.
Advantages of Bringing the Silver Screen to Hollywood South
The character, culture, and charm of South Louisiana are things that can’t be replicated—making it the perfect setting for film artists and visionaries to work, live, and play. There’s so much more to our nine-parish region than meets the eye, though. As a pro-business climate, South Louisiana puts red-hot opportunities and solutions at your fingertips, so entertainment producers have several resources to take advantage of.
Here are some of the many incentives our region has to offer creatives in the visual effects and filmmaking industry:
- The development of a virtual reality location scouting platform, which cost-effectively finds the perfect site to match your scheduling, budget, and project needs
- An advanced, technology-driven visual effects and film production education curriculum
- A visual effects job market with a sophisticated workforce pipeline for top emerging talent
- Economic resources for filmmakers and content creators to apply for up to 40% in tax credits on qualifying in-state expenditures through the state’s Motion Picture Production Tax Credit
- Eligibility for production funding loans through The Lafayette Trust Financing Authority, a self-supporting organization dedicated to funding projects that benefit the city of Lafayette, LA
- Endless landscape possibilities ranging from swampy terrain to Acadian French-style architecture and trendy downtown strips
- A relatively affordable cost of living to help keep production expenses down
- Unbeatable, authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine that feeds the soul and southern hospitality that makes you feel at home
A Fertile Future for Film
Anytime you can bring more art into a city or location, it enriches the community as a whole. Entertainment is universally loved, and installing a new fully digital art program like the one being planned at UL Lafayette will increase enrollment—bringing more resources to filmmakers and more contributions to the city of Lafayette and surrounding areas.
The course of this project is slated to be completed over the next five years in a series of phases. Dr. Arun Kulshreshth, the university’s project lead stated, “We are very excited to partner with Louisiana Economic Development to bring a visual effects certification program in the state of Louisiana. This certification program is a pathway for the state citizens to prepare for and secure a high-wage, high-technology employment in the film and television industries.”
For updates on how this visual fx program will bring culture, art, and opportunity to the South Louisiana region, follow our Facebook page.