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New Orleans film industry sees record breaking year

New Orleans film industry sees record breaking year
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POSTED: Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 11:30am

UPDATED: Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 11:34am

Today, Film New Orleans within the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy announced that 2012 was a record-breaking year for New Orleans-based filming, with a 23 percent increase in spending for tax credit film projects (TV, films and commercials with budgets over $300,000). Year-end projections for 2012 show $669.8 million in direct spending for 61 tax credit projects in New Orleans, which compares to $544 million in direct spending for 46 tax credit projects in 2011.

“The film industry in New Orleans has becoming a major economic engine that puts hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy, creating jobs and supporting local businesses,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Notable projects filmed in New Orleans in 2012 included Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Quentin Tarantino; Now You See Me, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Ruffalo; the third and fourth seasons of HBO’s Treme, starring New Orleans native Wendell Pierce; and Empire State, starring Dwayne Johnson, Liam Hemsworth and Emma Roberts.

New Orleans boasts the most diverse portfolio of film and television work in the state of Louisiana, catering to large studio features, small independent projects and a wide range of television and commercial productions. And despite its distinctive look, New Orleans is earning a reputation as a convincing stand-in for other locations. For example, the New Orleans-filmed Empire State is set in New York, and the anything-but-generic Crescent City played the role of anywhere USA in the movie 21 Jump Street, released in 2012.

Louisiana’s unique tax incentive package was created in 2002 to attract production companies to shoot on location and ultimately create a new industry in the state. Due to the success of the incentives, New Orleans now boasts production-friendly infrastructure and a skilled crew base that has grown by more than 400 percent since 2002. The City also has played host to locally produced films, such as Beasts of the Southern Wild, one of the year’s most acclaimed films, The Lookalike, and On The 7th Day.

The development and maturation of the film industry has resulted in both an increase in local employment and business opportunities. Productions increasingly look to New Orleans’ expanding crew base and talent when filming in the city as well as working with new industry-related businesses. Some of the city’s new or expanded businesses include Fletcher Camera, Quixote Studio Store and Equipment Rental, NoNo1 Prop House and Big Easy Studios. The City is working to provide workforce training opportunities and recently hosted a Production Assistant Training Program training 30 individuals for entry level jobs in the film industry.

Film New Orleans assists productions with the City’s permitting process, connects productions with local crew and resources, and facilitates communication between productions and the local community.

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