Story by W. H. Bourne • Photos by Odin Lindblom
The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) hosted their annual Locations Expo June 15 and 16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The go-to show for locations scouts and producers features film commissioners from around the world who exhibit at the trade show, providing a wonderful one-on-one opportunity to explain film incentives in their region. This was a change in venue for the show, which partnered this year with Variety’s BRIC Summit, as well as the Los Angeles Film Festival.
This year, Louisiana was represented by four different booths. The Krewe of New Orleans booth was a collaboration of the film commissions from New Orleans and Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes. Jefferson Parish Film Commissioner Jennifer Van Vrancken talked about the three percent rebate that is available in her parish.
“When you land at the airport, you have to pass through Jefferson Parish,” said Van Vrancken. “Even if you’re shooting in New Orleans or St. Bernard, if you put your production offices in Jefferson Parish, you can save money.”
Kristen Maurel of the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau was on hand representing the Baton Rouge Film Commission.
“We’re encouraging everyone to be green,” said Maurel, as she handed out water bottles with the Film Commission’s logo. “We just created an iPhone app that lets you find vendors and services on your phone. Everyone works together in Baton Rouge. The whole city is a giant production team that’s very film-friendly. From tentpoles to indies, we can handle anything in Baton Rouge.”
David Colligan was on hand representing the Lafayette Entertainment Initiative (LEI) booth. “Come to Lafayette,” was Colligan’s pitch.
Shreveport Mayor Cedric B. Glover was on hand to greet visitors at the Shreveport-Bossier booth.
“We just passed a law that allows me to change any city ordinance for the film industry,” said Glover. “Shreveport wants to make sure that productions don’t get tangled in bureaucratic red tape.”
“We’ve been really busy,” said Arlena Acree, Shreveport’s Director of Film, Media, and Entertainment. “Currently we have shooting Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, starring Rooney Mara (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Antoine Fuqua’s latest film Olympus Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler (300), is prepping to shoot.”
Added Acree, “Locations Expo has been very successful so far this year. We’ve had a lot more traffic this year and the quality has been excellent.”
Once again the Locations Show featured speakers and seminars, ranging in topic from tax credits to producing the indie film Bellflower. At the finance and film incentive sessions, there was a lot of talk about the upcoming election year and what that might mean for film rebates and tax credits in the various regions across the United States. While no one seemed to mention that Louisiana’s incentives were now state law, North Carolina Film Commissioner Aaron Syrett summed it up best: “Louisiana has been able to sustain their film incentives the longest.”
“In the end, it’s all about working together to bring films to Louisiana,” said Van Vrancken.