Wednesday, October 05, 2005

From New Orleans to Shreveport

Six major projects will be filmed in Shreveport. La. in coming months. Crew members displaced from New Orleans have relocated there at least for a while. Although it's expected that New Orleans will eventually bounce back as the state's film production capital, a story by Cristina Rodriguez in the Shreveport Times newspaper reports that the northern Louisiana city is likely to benefit from long-term growth.

"Shreveport is a part of the state that we are all interested in developing -- the unions, the state film commission," said Mike McHugh, business agent for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 478, which covers Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

The 350-member union used to have its northernmost worker in Alexandria. Now crews are moving to Shreveport, and McHugh wants to build a strong member base here.

"The volume of work that's going to happen in the next six months is not going to happen forever, but I hope there will be a couple of projects going on in Shreveport forever," he said.

The Louisiana Institute of Film Technology, a production service company that works closely with the state, had been meaning to expand to the northern part of the state, said co-founder Kimberly Anderson. She expects that Shreveport will remain popular for production companies, especially once a group of investors finishes building a soundstage in the area.

"Now we can offer the full state as a production venue," she said. "By (productions) having to go to Shreveport, they can still get the look they want, the locations, and have everything they need. It gives outside producers an option of covering the state. Our goal is to keep it that way."

For now, though, the goal is to help companies complete their projects. Here's a look at what will keep the local film industry busy through the beginning of next year:

Project: "Chlorine," a movie through Mercer Films and Miranda Entertainment. Country club member becomes involved in a savings and loan scandal.

Status: Casting call happened Sunday. Filming Oct. 29 through Dec. 9. Expected to be out in fall 2006.

Stars: David Arquette, Ray Liotta and Julianna Margulies.

Local jobs generated: About 100 jobs expected with production.

Cost: Producer would not say.

Project: "Road House II," a movie being filmed using crews from LIFT. Nephew of Patrick Swayze's character in "Road House" has his own bar to defend.

Status: Filming to start Oct. 17, end before Thanksgiving.

Filming locations: Bars in small towns. Houses being scouted off of Caddo Lake.

Local jobs generated: 100-135, as with each LIFT production. Crew is staying at Stockwell Landing Luxury Apartments.

Cost: $5 million-$5.5 million

Project: "The Guardian," a movie being distributed through Disney. A Coast Guard enlistee is helped by a renowned rescue swimmer haunted by an accident.

Status: Filming to start about Dec. 5, end in the first week of March. Will be in wide release a year from now. About half of locations are secured, but this will be an ongoing process throughout the filming.

Filming locations: Classrooms, a swimming pool, houses and restaurants. The former BPCC campus will be used.

Stars: Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner.

Local jobs generated: A crew of more than 200 is expected. Union and non-union jobs will be offered with a preference for Louisiana residents, not necessarily from New Orleans. Resumes can be dropped off at the Clarion Hotel.

Cost: Producer would not say.

Project: "The Thief," a television series through FX Networks. The head of a robbery crew, though recently reformed, plans one final heist.

Status: Filming to start the third week of October. Five episodes will be shot, and parts of the pilot will be reshot.

Stars: Andre Braugher.

Project: "Factory Girl," a movie through LIFT. About Andy Warhol's muse.

Status: Shooting will start Nov. 28.

Filming locations: Warehouses, older parts of town that will be converted to look like New York.

Stars: Sienna Miller and Guy Pierce.

Cost: $8 million.

Project: "Premonition," a movie through LIFT. A housewife finds her husband is dead, then wakes up the next morning to find he's alive.

Status: Preproduction begins in two weeks. Filming likely to start in early 2006.

Stars: Sandra Bullock.

Cost: Just below $20 million.

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