The exposure LSU’s win over Clemson in the national championship game generated for the city and state could help attract TV and movie producers to the area at a time when the local industry remains relatively flat.
Though several small projects are currently underway in Baton Rouge—two low-budget, indie films and a TV commercial are in production—no major movies or television shows are planned for the market in 2020, at least not yet.
But Baton Rouge Film Commission director Katie Pryor says if the recent conversation with a California-based movie producer and LSU alumnus is any indication, interest in the area could pick up.
“He was in town in our office and telling us how people in his office, who were previously unaware of LSU, were wearing LSU gear and talking about the team and it was bringing a lot of attention to LSU,” Pryor says. “Sports is its own economy so any time Louisiana is in the headlines it’s good branding for us.”
Baton Rouge could use some branding. Though the New Orleans film industry is going strong, interest in Baton Rouge has been relatively lackluster.
Paramount TV, which shot nine episodes of a new series called Paradise Lost at Celtic Studios last fall, has not yet said whether it will return to the market to shoot a second season, though it continues to lease space in a sound stage at Celtic, which Pryor says is encouraging.
There’s also no word on when or where the first season of the show, which stars Nick Nolte and Josh Harnett, is going to air, though Pryor is confident it will air somewhere.
Meanwhile, the last major production shot in Baton Rouge—a World War II-era thriller, Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks—is scheduled to be released in early May, more than two years after it was shot aboard the USS Kidd.
Pryor is planning a trip to California in March for the Association of Film Commissioners International annual meeting, where she hopes to drum up new business for Baton Rouge.
Her goals for 2020 include trying to attract more productions to the market, working to support local filmmakers and pushing the fact that producers can receive an additional 10% tax credit from the state for using a locally written screenplay.
She’s hoping LSU’s victory Monday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before a nationally televised audience in the tens of millions will make things easier.
“I would hope that would fall out after something like this,” she says.