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La. film industry still on halt, expecting busy return in August

2 months 2 days 12 hours ago Tuesday, June 09 2020 Jun 9, 2020 June 09, 2020 6:29 PM June 09, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – Hundreds of businesses in Louisiana have shifted their way of doing things amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The film industry though is still waiting for its chance to bounce back.

“The last few weeks, we've seen an uptick in inquiries for stage space for the rest of the year basically and even into 2021,” said Aaron Bayham, the director of studio operations at Celtic Studios.

TV and movie filming throughout the state has come to a halt. But Bayham says production is expected to pick back up again in August.

“I think you're going to have a pent up demand over the next few months where there is going to be a little bit of scrambling for stage space, which plays in our favor because we have some,” Bayham said.

When returning to lighting and directing, Bayham says there will be some COVID-19 adjustments.

“There will be temperature checks and PPE used,” Bayham said. “What’s unique on the production side is you'll have one employee, or multiple, that are dedicated to COVID safety. So it will be a COVID safety and compliance officer."

Bayham says there will also be fewer crew members and actors working in big groups. But change to the film industry has been in the works long before the pandemic.

“COVID maybe accelerated that process of projects, and high-profile projects, not going straight to theaters or not going to theaters at all,” Bayham said.

More movies are being released on streaming sites, like ‘Greyhound’. The Tom Hanks movie filmed on the USS Kidd was originally supposed to hit the box office, but is now being released on Apple TV Plus.

AMC even announced some theaters might not come back after having to shut down.

“I hope that theaters survive and people want that theatrical experience. I don't think that will go away. It's just what projects choose to go to theaters versus streaming or one of the other outlets,” Bayham said.

With more release options though, Bayham expects even more demand for content and therefore more TV and movie production to take place in Louisiana.

“With all these streamers coming online, you have this need for episodic television. Louisiana and Celtic are built for that, so it’s really a good fit that the industry is moving in that direction,” Bayham said.

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