Thursday, September 01, 2005

"Hollywood South" hammered

From the L.A. Daily News:

By Greg Hernandez, Staff Writer

Hurricane Katrina appears to be quickly washing away Louisiana's goal of becoming Hollywood South with several major studio films now halted in midproduction while other projects in preproduction are now in question.

Louisiana was becoming nearly as big of a headache to the Southern California movie industry as the runaway-production capital, Canada, with an increasing number of projects being lured south by generous tax incentives and a rapidly growing production infrastructure.

In 2004, film and television production companies received $67 million in tax breaks from Louisiana to take their projects there, including the biopic "Ray," starring Jamie Foxx, and current releases "Dukes of Hazzard" and "Skeleton Key."

The state has continued with a steady flow of projects this year with three movies in production when the hurricane hit: the Warner Bros. horror film "The Reaping," the comedy-drama "The Last Time" and the CBS movie "Vampire Bats," starring Lucy Lawless.

"They were on a tremendous roll," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. "I think it definitely knocks them out of the box. I think this cleanup will take a long time, and the state's attention will be focused on rebuilding."

The New Orleans and Louisiana film commissions could not be reached Wednesday, when their outgoing voice-mail message stated: "Due to Hurricane Katrina, production in New Orleans has been suspended indefinitely."

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