Now Rolling: Louisiana Adds New Incentives For The Movie Business

NEW ORLEANS – In 2017, four new incentives were added by the state benefiting movie companies filming in Louisiana. 

Louisiana Economic Development has a $150 million budget each year for specific programs to encourage film productions in the state. According to the LED office, nearly $7 billion has been generated from the motion picture industry since 2002.

The new rules and incentives are:

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– Companies that film movies outside of the greater New Orleans area will get an additional five percent tax break from the state of Louisiana.

– A production that is based on a screenplay created by Louisiana resident will receive an additional ten percent tax break.

– Generous state tax incentives for “Qualified Entertainment Companies” that create permanent, sustainable jobs for Louisiana residents in the motion picture, digital, music and theatrical industry that pay $45,000 or more annually for a five-year period. 

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Film productions receiving tax credits will pay a transfer fee of 2 percent into the Louisiana Entertainment Development Fund that will provide grants for Louisiana filmmakers, workforce development opportunities, equipment grants, loan guarantee programs and industry education programs approved by the state office. The fund is expected to generate up to $2.7 million annually.

The Louisiana Economic Development office was tasked with creating and administering these new programs and incentives, said Chris Stelly, director of the state's Louisiana Entertainment office. The state legislature passed these new incentives in July 2017, during last year’s session.

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“In early 2016, after Governor (John Bel) Edwards took office, he tasked Louisiana Economic Development with coming up with a better overall program with a greater statewide impact,” said Ron Thibodeaux, press secretary with LED. “We held a series of meetings with stakeholders and economic development organizations on how we would accomplish these things.”

Stelly said the incentives have already seen a positive return on investment.

A Tom Hanks film, Greyhound, will shoot in Baton Rouge. It's a “direct result” of the additional credits for filming outside of New Orleans, Stelly said.

Deep South Studios, a design-build entertainment production complex in New Orleans, became the state’s first “Qualified Entertainment Company” in December 2017 under the state’s new program.

On the incentive that awards additional tax breaks for Louisiana residents, Stelly said, “We wanted to do something that is unique and puts Louisiana content creators in a better position to obtain funding."

He adds, “We always held ourselves up as innovators, pioneers in the evolution of these motion picture programs. We are told that some states are even looking at copying what we are doing here in Louisiana.”

For more information about these programs, visit https://louisianaentertainment.gov/.

– Jenny Peterson, Associate News Editor, Biz New Orleans

 

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