UNO Documentary: The Louisiana film industry

Who: Lada Egorova

What: Development of the Louisiana Film industry and the allure of filming here.


Editor’s Note: In recent years, Louisiana has become an increasingly popular location for film shoots, boasting blockbusters like Jurassic World and 12 Years a Slave. So what makes our state such a desirable production location? Filmmaker Lada Egorova investigates the laws, locations, and infrastructure that nourish the Louisiana film industry.

[Read the Full interview transcript below]


[Full transcription of Madison Campbell, narrator]

How many times do you drive in New Orleans, passing by a closed street where

there are many trucks parked? How many times were you unable to park because of a notice, warning you that the lot needs to be available for film shooting? How many times did you see a film crews setting up their cameras and lights? At least once, right? It feels like, every day, a movie or a TV show is being shot somewhere in Louisiana.

Filmmaking began in Louisiana in 1898 with the creation of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Since then, it has been the place

of several notable productions. A Streetcar Named Desire12 Years a Slave,

Django: Unchained, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Jurassic World are all films that were shot in Louisiana. You might wonder why so many productions decide to shoot here Louisiana. 

[Full transcription of Katie Garagiola]

It is a beautiful state to film in. We have awesome infrastructure. We have a great

crew base. But bottom line is money: Hollywood is about profit, and Louisiana has one of the very best tax incentives in the entire world. Hollywood productions are always looking to come here first.

[Full transcription of Madison Campbell]

In 2002, the government passed a tax incentive in order to attract film and television productions. In 2011, 150 productions took place in Louisiana and 1.3 billion dollars of their combined 1.9 billion dollars in budgets was spent in the state.

[Full transcription of Katie Garagiola]

So I do see productions looking then at, “All right, well, what crew is available, what does the landscape look like that we need for this particular production,” you know, “are there sound stages, are there facilities?” Now that there are so many productions here, we also do have such an incredible crew. It makes coming here to film easy for people.

[Full transcription of Madison Campbell]

In 2013, Film LA, a non-profit film office, ranked Louisiana number one in international film production above California, Canada, and the United Kingdom. So why are these incentives so important for the state? Not only do Hollywood

studios benefit from them, but they also help local filmmakers. In 2017, the government made new changes to include incentives for the creation of permanent jobs for Louisiana residents.

[Full transcription of Katie Garagiola]

Getting your foot in the door here is so much easier than getting your foot in the

door in LA. The number of and people employed is huge and I think that the incentives and therefore the booming industry have caused a lot of internal productions to start now. You actually see a lot of Louisiana-based production companies popping up, a lot of screenplays that are Louisiana-based.

[Full transcription of Madison Campbell]

Local businesses also profit from this as they generate revenue from these

productions’ expenditures.

[Full transcription of Katie Garagiola]

You have your catering company that is employed, but you also then have where did that food, you know, come from and where did the tents come from, and where did security come from to block off the road? So many people are employed through these productions. Seems like it would really hurt the economy to cut an industry that’s now this huge and this big and generating as much money as it is.

[Full transcription of Madison Campbell]

The film industry keeps on growing in Louisiana and its success causes the state to be called Hollywood South or Hollywood on the Bayou. So watch out, because the next big blockbuster movie may be filmed in your neighborhood, next door, or even at your house!


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