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Film incentive confusion impacts Louisiana industry

Deepwater HorizonConfusion over changes to Louisiana’s filming incentive programme has been blamed for a 75% drop in available crew jobs in the state, a new report claims.

Louisiana is one of the top production hubs in the US partly because of its generous filming incentive which previously was uncapped. Last year state authorities limited the annual film fund for the first time in its history to $180m.

Louisiana allocated $222m in filming incentive support in 2014 so the reduced $180m pot could potentially fail to meet the demand this year, but the state still offers one of the biggest film funds in the US.

Nonetheless, crew jobs plummeted in April this year, with one crew union telling Deadline the reason was partly because the studios in California thought the incentive was in fact cancelled outright.

“It all stems from that misconception,” said Cory Parker, business agent for IATSE Local 478, the New Orleans film workers union, in comments to Deadline. 

“Producers are realising that it makes sense to come back to Louisiana. They’re going to realise what they’re missing out on. We’re here, and we’re ready to go to work. The incentives programme is alive and we’re getting momentum from that.”

There have been reports of crew leaving Louisiana in larger numbers for rival states since the incentive cap was introduced. Indeed, in recent weeks the governor has announced a review of the tax credit to fully assess the impact of the changes on the state's production industry.

Louisiana is currently hosting a new series of the hit crime drama NCIS: New Orleans and recent film shoots have included a new Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman, the Matthew McConaughey Civil War drama Free State of Jones and Mark Wahlberg’s true-life oil rig disaster story Deepwater Horizon (pictured above). 

More may need to be done to improve marketing to the Hollywood studios, but it seems unlikely Louisiana’s production industry will lose its footing in the long-term.

For more on filming in Louisiana see our production guide.

Image: Lionsgate