It’s a shame that House Bill 829 got hijacked, because the bill originated from a good idea: We need to reform the film tax credits to help foster a self-sustaining local film industry in Louisiana.

Though the bill capped the tax credits, compelling Hollywood to ditch Louisiana, it changed the conversation by defining “homegrown” films. The stated purpose of the tax credits is to help foster a “self-supporting” industry. We can’t be self-supporting if we don’t start making our own films.

The original bill would have kept Hollywood production at current levels while creating opportunities for local filmmakers. Instead, we ended up with a law that reflects the frustration of policymakers trying to deal with a fiscal crisis and a misled industry unwilling to compromise.

As local (taxpaying) filmmakers who aspire to write, direct, cut and premiere our films in Louisiana, we need to think critically about our industry and not follow blindly the solipsistic party line coming from the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association. Capping the tax credits is inevitable, so let’s begin fostering a self-supporting, local industry.

We applaud Rep. Joel Robideaux for changing the conversation. When the Legislature meets again to address this issue, we local filmmakers need to join the debate. Louisianians are as resourceful as people come — Louisiana filmmakers doubly so. We can figure this out.

Will Sampson

cinema owner, film broker

New Orleans

Misty Talley

filmmaker, director

Lafayette