Massive New Film Studio Officially Opens In N.O. East

NEW ORLEANS – Councilmember James Gray, Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans, Inc., Bryan Batt, native New Orleanian actor and Will French of the the Louisiana Film & Entertainment Association all gathered today for a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating the opening of FilmWorks New Orleans – one of the region’s newest and largest film production studios.

         FilmWorks New Orleans, located just minutes from the French Quarter, offers 37 acres of flexible indoor and outdoor space, including a 20,000 square-foot stage, a 406,000 square-foot backlot, two floors of 92,000 square feet of mill/ work space each, extra storage and warehousing space, as well as acres of usable green space.

         “We are proud to contribute to the growth of the film industry in New Orleans, and we truly appreciate the incredible community support we’ve received,” George Steiner, president of FilmWorks New Orleans, said. “FilmWorks New Orleans’ flexible studio space will help ensure that we continue to draw major film projects to the area.”

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         Within the last few years, Hollywood South has proven itself as a prime destination for the film industry. Given the recent news on proposals to tighten tax credits given to the film industry in Louisiana, the grand opening of this new facility shows how lucrative tax incentives have turned the state into a premier location for film and television production.

         “The film industry is decentralizing away from its origins in Southern California and relocating to new places across the country, particularly Louisiana, Will French, president of the Louisiana Film & Entertainment Association, said. “As a result, people are migrating to Louisiana, and tourists are visiting because of the near constant exposure to our authentic culture in films and on TV. We are excited to see a new production facility open in New Orleans. It is the surest sign that our motion picture tax credits are working and creating new jobs for Louisiana.”

         FilmWorks New Orleans, which opened its doors just over four months ago, is quickly growing in popularity. Its fourth movie is currently being filmed at the facilities, and Steiner explained that the studio is booked for months.

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         “Motion picture production facilities studios like FilmWorks New Orleans are perfect for our city and its growing film industry,” Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., said. “GNO, Inc. was pleased to connect the site owner with Steiner, which allowed for the development of the studio to begin. I’m pleased to see the film industry using the building, and I’m confident that it will have a positive economic impact on the area.”

         The studio was once the main headquarters and distribution center of MacFrugal’s, a discount outlet chain, which burned down in 1996. Several years later, the property was purchased, restored and utilized as a warehouse. Steiner, who has been in the film industry for more than 40 years, has led the transformation of the space into one of New Orleans’ largest motion picture production facilities.

         A member of the Director’s Guild, Steiner served as the Louisiana State Film Commissioner from 1992 to 1996. He then spent 14 years in Southern California before moving back to Louisiana to get involved in the growing film production industry, ultimately managing FilmWorks New Orleans.

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