Spending on film productions in Louisiana nosedived in 2016, with officials reporting a 65% loss in revenue statewide and a 93% loss in the Baton Rouge area.
Nonetheless, industry experts express optimism about 2017 because the Legislature is expected to take up changes to the tax code and possibly revamp how Louisiana’s film tax incentive is handled.
“We’re bullish about 2017,” Amy Mitchell-Smith, director of the Baton Rouge Film Commission says. “The reality is a lot of people are anxious to see what happens in the upcoming session.”
Celtic Studios Executive Director Patrick Mulhearn says his studio lost three scripted TV series in 2016, with MTV’s Scream moving to New Orleans, The Sundance Channel’s Hap and Leonard moving to Atlanta and WGN America’s Underground leaving for Savannah, Georgia.
“2016 was pretty terrible for the film industry in Baton Rouge,” Mulhearn says, citing the tax incentive cap that was enacted in 2015. “For the most part, financiers and producers chose to avoid Louisiana.”