Legislature asks union to designate Baton Rouge as production center for TV and movies


The Louisiana Legislature is weighing in on a contract dispute between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the union that represents film industry crews over whether to allow Baton Rouge to become a “production center” for movies and TV shows. Both the House and Senate unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday asking the IATSE Local 478 out of New Orleans to allow Baton Rouge to join the list of 38 U.S. cities—including New Orleans and Shreveport—that are designated as production centers. The designation is important because it costs more to produce films and TV shows in markets that are not production centers. Union workers are paid a $56 per diem if they have to travel to work in non-production centers like Baton Rouge.

IATSE and AMPTP are currently negotiating the issue, as they do every three years during contract talks. The issue last came up in 2012. Then, as now, the local movie industry asked for the production center distinction but was unsuccessful.

Though Wednesday’s legislative resolution will likely make little difference this time around—resolutions have no force of law—local industry executives say it sends an important message to the union.

“This is critically important,” says Patrick Mulhearn, director of Celtic Studios. “I was told by one major film producer that it cost them a million dollars more last year to film here than it would’ve in New Orleans because we are not a production center. We can’t grow our crew base. We can’t grow our workforce because it costs more to hire them.”

IATSE and the AMPTP are scheduled to conclude their contract negotiations Friday.


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