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New Orleans film industry expected to exceed $1 billion in 2022

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - If you’ve noticed a lot of film production crews around the New Orleans area, there is a good reason. The film industry is at an all-time high and is expected to break a record this year.

Driving down Judge Perez in Chalmette, you may have seen a replica of the French Quarter in what used to be a parking lot. Every square foot of available space at The Ranch Film Studio is now taken.

“Right now, 100% of my 25 acres and 300,000 square-foot of production space is completely booked,” said Ranch owner Jason Waggenspack.

The film industry may finally have the stability it was looking for five years after the state of Louisiana restored a 25% tax credit for movies being filmed here.

“There are more productions in the city than ever before and there appears to be no slowing up,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

Last year, the film industry spent over $1 billion in New Orleans alone and the city is on track to break that record in 2022.

“It is a game-changing industry for us and it’s increasingly local,” said Carroll Morton, with the New Orleans Film Office.

The Ranch is about to begin a major expansion.

“I’m currently in the process of getting that done, I am expanding out these windows here and hopefully will have a larger facility by the end of the year,” said Waggenspack.

In Uptown, “Second Line Studios” is also doubling its space to accommodate some of the 21 productions currently underway.

“Since January 1, productions have spent $435 million in the city. We have five projects that we are waiting for budgets on,” said Morton. “This is a major studio expansion here at Second Line, providing dozens of construction jobs, but for people looking to get into the film industry there are plenty of opportunities.”

“Per production, there’s anywhere between 250 and 600 people per day,” said Waggenspack.

An estimated 90% of people working on film crews are local, performing jobs that pay an average of $67,000 annually. And the “help wanted” sign is out.

There are regular training sessions at the New Orleans video access center for those who would like to get involved in the film industry.

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