'Bama: keep your hands off our movies!
BATON ROUGE - Alabama is trying to dethrone Louisiana as "Hollywood of the South." But people in the Louisiana film industry say not so fast.
Patrick Mulhearn with Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge says there's no question that Louisiana controls the south when it comes to film production.
"Alabama might beat us in football every now and then, but there's no way they're going to beat us in film production. Louisiana has definitely stepped up its game, and we're not letting go anytime soon," he said.
Alabama passed film incentives in 2009. Alabama hosted 31 productions last year, according to the Alabama Film Office. Recently stars like Nicholas Cage, Danny Glover and Bruce Willis filmed movies in Mobile.
Mulhearn says the Bayou State has a 10-year head start.
"At best Alabama would be 'Louisiana 2002.' I feel like Louisiana has got quite a bit of a head start on them. It's going to take a while for them to catch up. We certainly built up the infrastructure, the crew base," he said. "I mean we have the body of work and all the equipment, everything you need to make a movie is here."
Mulhearn says people in the industry were nervous when tax incentives were threatened, but the incentives were not touched.
"The fact that legislature did nothing made it just that much more attractive and we've seen a whole new wave of production headed this way," he said.
The Louisiana tax incentive program was created in 2002. Louisiana Economic Development says Louisiana hosted more than 300 productions since 2006. Only Caliornia and New York produce more.