Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The movie business: how Variety evaluates Shreveport and New Orleans

In a July 23 article entitled "Shreveport lures production / Katrina, tax incentives turn city into a production hub," writer Bashirah Muttalib sized up Shreveport and New Orleans.


The Louisiana Wave Studio, which houses the tank, is the only feature film facility in the U.S. that can automatically generate a variety of waves up to nine feet and horizontal storm conditions. The 8,000 square-foot tank, 100 feet long, 80 feet wide and 8 feet deep, holds 750,000 gallons of water.

Part of Shreveport's film infrastructure now includes production studios, according to Acree, with plans for a subsidiary of Nu Image to build a $10 million facility expected to be completed year.

That studio will join:

StageWorks of Louisiana, offering clear span sound stage space totaling 52,000 square feet and 25,000 square feet of networked productions offices, including a wide range of amenities. The facility has hosted TV and film projects including, Kevin Costner's "Mr. Brooks," Warner Bros.' "The Year Without Santa," the Weinstein Company's "The Mist" and Nu Image's "Mad Money."

Mansfield Studios, with more than 75,000 square feet of office space and 120,000 square feet of converted stage space with 26-foot clear ceilings, full service production offices and vendor support services.

Stage West, in association with TurnKey/Louisiana, has more than 50,000 square feet in stage space, hosts Cinelease & Expendables Plus and Avid Meridian offline edit suites.

Mansfield Studios, in association with Louisiana Production Consultants, boasts 80,000 square feet of office space and 120,000 square feet of air-conditioned stage space and 26-foot clear ceilings.

While this bodes well for Shreveport, there is an offsetting balance to the city's lure.

" 'Major Movie Star' is the fifth Nu Image/Millennium Films' production we've done here. The city is tremendously accommodating with locations, permits, closing of roads and the people are great," producer Michael Flannigan said. "The drawback is that this is not Hollywood where there is an abundance of resources. You have to bring in a lot of people and equipment. In the long run, it eats into those tax incentives."

The Variety article also looks at New Orleans, where productions are beginning to return. One respondent says, "We wanted to show that ... New Orleans is not just a Third World country without running water."
Sadly, the image sticks. In effect the writer has implied that it's a Third World city that has managed to get running water.

The story makes it abundantly clear that Shreveport is Normalsville, with an Anywhere, USA, landscape.

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