Safety guidelines released for restart of La. film industry

Safety guidelines released for restart of La. film industry

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) -Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development, announced Monday safety guidelines for the restart of motion picture production in the state.

The guidelines are designed to ensure the safety of Louisiana residents and anyone working on a motion picture production as the movie and TV industry gets back to business in Louisiana.

The majority of filming in Louisiana has been on hiatus since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but a few productions already are making preparations to resume filming and additional production activity is expected to ramp up in August and September.

The first production anticipated to shoot in Jefferson Parish since work was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic is NCIS: New Orleans. Several major studios/ productions, including Claws, Leverage and Queen Sugar, are anticipated to begin shooting in the coming months as well.

According to Jefferson Parish Film Coordinator Barry Sprague, “We look forward to the return of film production in Jefferson Parish. The health and safety of all who live and work in Jefferson Parish is a top priority during this time so we are working closely under guidelines issued by Louisiana Entertainment and with surrounding parishes to make sure all the proper safety protocols are in place to protect the crew, the talent and our community as filming resumes.” 

Among the guidelines, productions filming anywhere in Louisiana should designate a COVID-19 compliance officer, require face coverings for everyone except performers, limit access to production areas and encourage the use of digital assets, such as scripts and call sheets when possible. Productions also are encouraged to follow familiar protocols, such as social distancing, frequent hand-washing, temperature checks and active monitoring of personnel for potential exposure and any signs of illness.

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure the health and safety of all who live and work in Louisiana during this challenging time,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “This commitment extends to the entertainment industry as we prepare to welcome motion picture production back to our state. Our talented workforce has helped to position Louisiana as a leading destination for entertainment production for many years.

In 2019, Louisiana Entertainment certified $538.5 million in Louisiana spending from film production activity, along with $167.5 million in Louisiana resident payroll. Since the start of Louisiana’s entertainment incentive program in 2002, the film industry has generated more than $7 billion in motion picture production activity in the state.

“We have been working for months with our studio, vendor and crew partners to develop the safest way to return,” said Trey Burvant, president of the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association. “The safety policies that are being put in place are aggressive and intelligently designed for mitigation. Before the pandemic, we had 15 shows in our state. As these productions start to come back safely online, we look to be busier than ever when we return.”

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