HB 798 could give movie industry extra boost outside New Orleans
BATON ROUGE - Monday, lawmakers will talk about a possible new law that encourages film-makers and television producers to shoot in Louisiana, outside of New Orleans.
House Bill 798, authored by State Rep. Erich Ponti, would give producers an extra five percent in tax credits if they base its main production office 40 miles from New Orleans City Hall and films more than 50 percent of its production days in Louisiana beyond that distance. It could create a movie boom in Baton Rouge.
"Criticism of the film industry in Louisiana is that not enough of Louisiana is seeing enough action," said Executive Producer of Celtic Studios Patrick Mulhearn.
Mulhearn said the movie and TV production doesn't have a level playing field from location to location around the state. About 70 percent of the TV and movie production centers around New Orleans, mainly because of union rules. Mulhearn says it's cheaper to shoot in New Orleans and gets more expensive outside the city. According to the Louisiana Budget Project, from 2009-2014, about 12 percent of the state's productions were in Baton Rouge while 11 percent was in Shreveport.
"We get our fair share of production here in Baton Rouge, but it could certainly be better and more consistent," said Mulhearn.
Executive Producer Douglas Blake moved to Baton Rouge because of the state's incentives. He said every dollar counts.
"It all counts toward where you want to shoot and how you want to shoot," said Blake.
Other state, including New York already have a similar incentive. New York gives an extra 10 percent credit if crews shoot upstate.
Already during this legislative session, lawmakers signed off on a bill that would cap tax credits at $200 million.