Television series to create hundreds of new jobs in Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden announced on Wednesday that four television series and a major motion picture are being shot in Baton Rouge.

Film industry leaders said they are still worried proposed cuts to tax credits could cause the curtain to fall on those opportunities.

Celtic Studios has been the setting for several big budget films like "Breaking Dawn," "Battleship" and "Oblivion." On Monday, it was the backdrop for more moviemaking news where Holden took center stage.

"I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. I'm about to lose control but I think I like it," Holden said.

Holden shared the spotlight with Baton Rouge Film Commission leaders, vendors and students who have benefited from Hollywood's relationship with Baton Rouge.

"We have 817 vendors that signed up to connect online," said Liza Kelso, Executive Director for the Baton Rouge Film Commission.

"We sold over a million dollars in products and goods and services to the film industry," said Stephen St. Cyr of Vivid Ink Graphics, one of the vendors present.

Local vendors are about to get really busy. The different film projects being shot in the area have created hundreds of jobs. They are as follows:

Projects Jobs 
Hap and Leonard 140 
Underground Railroad 120 
Scream  200 
Magnificent Seven 500 

Baton Rouge Community College graduate Pamela Turner is working as a production assistant on "Underground Railroad." She said she dreamed of launching her film career in Baton Rouge, and the stars lined up.

"It was like school, then straight to work. For some people it's school and then, 'I'm still looking for a job.' So it's a real privilege to be able to work in the industry right here in Baton Rouge," Turner said.

The Baton Rouge Film Commission reports Baton Rouge received $180 million from more than 20 projects that landed in the Capital City in 2014.

They rely heavily on tax credits to get movie producers to shoot in Louisiana. However, some lawmakers want to cut back on those to help balance the state's budget. Leaders worry if that happens, the industry and Louisiana will suffer.

"It's like you're still going to have a deficit, sir. And, the deficit will be much greater than what you are looking at cutting," Holden said.

Holden said for Louisiana to shine, the shows must go on.

"There's not a figure you can put on that... when we have these numbers in terms of the people shooting movies in Baton Rouge. Which will make a difference not only now, but in the future," said Holden.

Earlier this year, Moviemaker Magazine named Baton Rouge the best film-making small city in the United States.

The motion pictures "Magnificent Seven" and "Parallax" are slated to begin shooting in Baton Rouge in June.

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