Chris Stelly has been named interim executive director of Louisiana Entertainment, the state office charged with promoting Louisiana’s film, music, theater and digital media industries.
He takes the place of Sherri McConnell, who had served as executive director since February 2007 and left at the end of June.
Stelly led the film and television development division of the Office of Entertainment Industry Development, Louisiana Entertainment’s official title.
The office falls under the Louisiana Economic Development agency.
“I actually resigned in April and made it effective July 1,” McConnell said Thursday. “They asked me to stay through the (legislative) session.”
McConnell plans to take a month off before launching an entertainment industry consulting firm in New Orleans, splitting her time between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
McConnell said she will focus much of her energy working with companies related to film and other sectors to expand what McConnell often describes as an “indigenous industry” across the state.
“I’d like to continue the effort that I started as my role as executive director at Louisiana Entertainment, just working at it from the private side,” McConnell said.
“I also have, I think, a fairly good understanding of the uniqueness of each region of the state and the opportunities that each of those areas offer, and I think there are opportunities to grow an indigenous industry all over the state,” she added.
For his part, Stelly said he intends to continue the work of Louisiana Entertainment since the program expanded significantly four years ago.
“I am focused on building a permanent entertainment industry for our great state and that will require new and exciting initiatives on all fronts,” Stelly said in an email. “Education, business development, investment and cultivating creativity will be part of that plan.”
Stelly, who joined Louisiana Entertainment in 2004, will continue to head up the film and television division of Louisiana Entertainment, a role he has served in since 2007.
McConnell summed up her reason for leaving as, basically, “mission accomplished.”
“I feel like I’m leaving a really good place,” she said. “I mean, it’s on a solid, solid foundation.
“And there’s an amazing group of people there to carry on the effort,” McConnell added. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the crew that’s left there to continue.
“I never expected to be there as long as I was,” she said.