Q & A: With Chris Stelly, Exec. Dir. of Louisiana Entertainment Industry--Pt. 1
Written by  // Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:45 //

Louisiana Economic DevelopmentOne of the fastest growing areas of the Louisiana economy falls under what is called “Entertainment” which the Louisiana Economic Development  includes filmmaking, sound recording, live performance and digital media (digital interactive). 

The person heading that sector is young and energetic Chris Stelly who has replaced Sherri McConnell after her recent resignation. 

 As Publisher of Bayoubuzz.com, I have special interest in this sector. 

Before the film tax credits went into effect during the Foster administration, this site created an event called “Entertainment Epoch” which brought the various possible vendors together who now make up the Louisiana film industry and held perhaps the first webinar featuring film industry leaders.    

People close to me, born in this state are now residing outside Louisiana because they have had a better chance finding employment and careers in Elsewhere USA than in this state.    

I pride myself as being the founder creator of the Louisiana Digital Media Law and a person who made certain that the existing law passed under Governor Blanco would not sunset during the early days of the Jindal administration.     

So, it was with great interest and enthusiasm in my obtaining an update of those industries from the person interfacing with the Warner Brothers, the Sony’s, the Broadway plays, and the nation’s top musical entertainers on a daily, if not, a frequent basis. 

Already, we have seen profound growth in the film industry and are beginning to see the other entertainment components take shape due to incentives offered by the state. 

Here are summaries of the video interviews with Chris Stelly.  These are merely narratives so please watch the videos so you can see exactly what was asked and answered.  Below is part I of a multi-part series with the Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment: 

Chris Stelly currently, serves as Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development.  The division is charged with growing the entertainment industry for the state.   

The Department (LED or Louisiana Economic Development) administers a suite of incentives designed specifically for entertainment industry growth that is building on the success of the film industry.  The state’s incentive programs currently include sound recording, live performance and digital interactive which is designed to attract video games (and other related activities).  

Everything the department is doing is to complement the Louisiana Economic Development’s efforts to grow business and create jobs and to create a lot of benefit to the State of Louisiana. 

In 1988, Stelly started to work at a cinema.  He loved movies and in the back of his head wanted to be in film industry.  He received degree in English and started to work for a previous governor (Mike Foster) and continued to work in the area of Louisiana films and the other arenas. 

Like other industries elsewhere, the film industry in 2009 took a dip during the recession and due to the financial issues occurring at that time. 

However, since late 2009, the legislature revised the film industry statute, the industry has grown to where, last year was the best year on record and this year the department is looking at either matching or exceeding it.  All of the other programs have doubled their applications.     

The state is seeing more applications in the live performance industry.  That includes the launching of Josh Groban’s touring show in Louisiana, the Adams Family—the Broadway musical The Addams Family was the first Broadway national tour to launch its national tour in New Orleans.  

The state has double the applications of the digital interactive side and recently announced the launch of Gameloft, which is a big game developer out of Europe that has moved recently into New Orleans. 



Tomorrow’s installment:

How does Louisiana fare against the other communities competing for film productions and why is Louisiana doing so well in that industry sector? 

by Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of Bayoubuzz.com

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