Zombies take over downtown Baton Rouge in new film project

Zombies take over downtown Baton Rouge in new film project

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The stuff of nightmares has come to streets of Baton Rouge.

Something has turned the population into bloody living corpses, with only a group Navy Seals to save us. That is, at least, until the director calls end scene.

Navy Seals vs Zombies is the latest production to come alive in Downtown Baton Rouge. It's up to a crew of 100 working for 18 days to transform the Red Stick into ground zero for the zombie apocalypse. Among those in front of the camera, are former military members stepping into familiar shoes as the film's heroes.

"It's merging those two for your entertainment that is the challenge," said actor and former Navy Seal Mikal Vega.

In the movie, it's some mysterious political doing that leads to zombies in the streets. In real life, many of the crew members are hoping politics don't lead to the death of the film industry. Baton Rouge native Thomas Garner learned his trade here, but moved to California to find work. He says with Hollywood South growing, he's been able to return home.

"It's something that everybody here is excited about. It's a lot of jobs coming in. It's a lot of work for creative people and people in the industry," said Garner.

The state's tax credits have been the target of criticism as the state faces another round of cuts to help balance a budget that's fallen short on revenues. Last year the state paid out $250 million dollars in film credits. While Governor Bobby Jindal's newest budget plan does save around $526 million by scaling back some of the state's refundable tax credits. That plan does not touch the film incentives. However, many expect lawmakers to try to take a bite out of the film credits in April.

"The biggest concern is the growth of exemptions that are hard to predict, hard to estimate because you don't know how much activity you're going to see from year to year," said the Louisiana Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield.

Meanwhile, films like this one continue to roll. Navy Seals vs. Zombies has an estimated $850 thousand budget, and more than film crews are benefiting. Chef KD was hired to provide food for the crew throughout production. He says the opportunities films bring are worth keeping around.

"The intrinsic value, it flows in so many directions," said Chef KD.

The movie is being produced by Films in Motion along with Anchor Bay. It's due to be released in the fall.

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