Specifically, Stelly’s agency is in charge of developing Louisiana's economy attracting different operations to hire Louisiana residents, to set up roots in the state and his division is to do this in the entertainment industry. It is his department’s charge to oversee the four incentive programs, film, digital interactive media, live recording and live performance. Stelly said his office administers those programs and goes out about selling Louisiana as a great place to live in doing business, look at best practices for public policy, educating people in and just getting the word out that “Louisiana is a great place to live, to work, play, to do business and “do everything that you need to do from an entertainment perspective”. He said the agency has been “quite successful in what we're doing”.
Due to budget issues, Louisiana had to put caps on the amount of taxes credits it could approve each year.
Stelly, in describing the program said “Film is one of the most successful programs anywhere in the nation, Louisiana has been a pioneer anywhere in the United States incentive program” He said the program was “very innovative and very few in the country were doing it maybe one state, New Mexico” had been involved in a similar program. In the early 2000’s, the state decided to go and focus on diversifying the economy and film tax incentives were “a natural fit”
Stelly said, the state already had a history of successful films, such as Streetcar Named Desire, King Creole, that the state has a great crew base and over 14 years of success. Some recent successes are Green Lantern and TV shows like a CSIS New Orleans.
The executive director said we have the infrastructure, crew base and “one of the best programs in the nation”, it is highly competitive.
Because of the reduction of allowable annual tax credits per year for the film industry program, that had been a decline in videos. However. he said Governor John Bel Edwards has directed a “deep dive”, led by former Executive Director Sherri McConnell, as project manager.
Stelly said the program has actually been improved due to legislative changes-- helping local Louisiana content creators get their projects financed and funded. He also said the legislature increased the enticement for local labor with the labor tax credit which went up from 5% to 10%.--”so it's more attractive from a local Louisiana standpoint”
The executive director said more and more productions are coming into the state and applying for tax credits and that the state will have a very busy fall and winter schedule coming up.
He asserted that Louisiana still has the “best program in the nation and we can compete on that level”. He sees more projects jumping back in, and cited a new Warner Bros. picture which is a television pilot, He said he just saw a clip of the movie LBJ and said it “looks amazing so a lot of good things are happening on that front”.
Stelly also said the temporary decline of films was really “more of a crisis of perception” and that once everybody settled down, looked at the landscape, they came to realize that Louisiana is here to stay in the area of Louisiana films. What has helped is great infrastructure such as Celtic Media Center in Baton Rouge, the multiple stages throughout the state “so we can handle any size film, television” project.