MovieMaker Magazine has named Baton Rouge and New Orleans as the first and second best small cities to live and work in as a filmmaker in 2015.
The magazine ranked its five best film-making cities ranging from 100,000 to 400,000 in population. Baton Rouge and New Orleans were followed by Savannah, Georgia; Pittsburgh; and Orlando, Florida.
MovieMaker posted the story Wednesday at moviemaker.com. The story noted that Baton Rouge played host to more than $200 million in film and television production in 2014. The projects included Marvel’s “Fantastic Four,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” “The Final Girls,” the Darren Aronofsky-produced “Zipper” and several smaller productions.
Citing Baton Rouge’s appeal for film and TV production, MovieMaker noted Louisiana’s generous tax incentives, the Baton Rouge Film Commission and Celtic Media Centre, which contains seven sound stages ranging from 15,000 to 35,000 square feet and is Louisiana’s studio complex.
“The Baton Rouge Film Commission often secures crew members and partners with the production to find local crews, keeping stipend spending down,” MovieMaker reported. “City-owned properties do not charge location fees — for example, the now vacant Woman’s Hospital, owned by the city, has been used for several productions which only had to pay for security and utilities.”
The film commission is currently working with Sony and the AMC television network to bring more projects to Baton Rouge.
The state’s “seductive” tax incentives, the magazine reported, and the flashier, more soulful atmosphere of New Orleans lured productions to that city.
Feature films shot in New Orleans in 2014 include Screen Gem’s “When the Bough Breaks,” helmed by “24” director Jon Cassar; the Jean-Claude Van Damme-starring “Kickboxer” remake; “Joe Dirt 2,” produced by Adam Sandler and starring David Spade; the thriller “Man Down,” featuring Shia LeBeouf, Kate Mara and Gary Oldman; and the Paramount-Bad Robot production “Valencia.” Television production in New Orleans included ABC’s “Astronaut Wives Club,” the hit “NCIS: New Orleans” and “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”
The magazine noted New Orleans’ deep talent pool, the 100-year-old Prytania Theatre and the city’s flourishing 25-year-old New Orleans Film Society, which presents an annual film festival, as reasons filmmaking thrives in the city.
MovieMaker’s Top 5 small cities for filmmaking report will appear in the magazine’s upcoming print edition in time for distribution at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, later this month.