Hollywood South leader optimistic after film tax credit tapped out

Film industry in the south thriving

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Like Mark Twain once proclaimed, it would seem rumors of the demise of Hollywood South are premature. Celtic Media executive director Patrick Mulhearn admits that business is still slow following a shake up in the state's film tax credits, but he wants to make one thing clear.

"Louisiana is still open for business," said Mulhearn.

News of the state's mounting budget issues and the three-year, $180 million cap on the state's film tax credits led many to speculate that the Louisiana film industry could not compete with the thriving film industries found in Georgia, New York, and California. 

Mulhearn says in the cut-throat business of movie making, some were using news of Louisiana's financial woes against Hollywood South in recruiting. One industry blog, Project Casting based in Georgia, even went as far to imply that the recent unrest in Baton Rouge would lead to the end of the industry.

Mulhearn says nothing could be further from the truth. He says the fact that the state has used up its tax credit for the 2016-2017 fiscal year in four weeks is a good sign.

"It shows that Louisiana is going to honor all its obligations, past present and future," said Mulhearn.

That's a boost in confidence he says the industry needs to show producers and others that Louisiana is ready for another close up. He also points out that by the time any new projects come in, start filming, and go through the year long process of filing for tax credits, the three-year cap will be done.

"By the time that you're actually getting credits for a project that's coming in now, there should be minimal to no delay in actually redeeming those credits," said Mulhearn.

However, Mulhearn says work still needs to be done on the cap itself.  He's hopeful in the next session lawmakers will adjust it so that the number of credits are limited, not the amount. 

"In business, in government and in life, you should limit the number of promises you make, the not the number of promises you keep," explained the executive director.

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