Construction work will begin later this year on the $500m River Studios and FilmPort film and television studio on the Mississippi River in West Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The 925,000 sq ft complex is the largest studio project in the state and will offer one-stop studio services, product development, and distribution and tax credit monetisation to qualified projects.

The studio recently received approval from the Louisiana Bond Commission for $325m in Louisiana Go Zone and industrial revenue bonds.

The financing, enacted by Congress to aid recovery to the region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, allows businesses to make use of tax-free and low interest borrowing to stimulate economic growth.

Services will include year-round production and post-production facilities, support offices, commissary, crew housing and luxury talent lodging.

Eight film and television sound stages will be built ranging in size from 10,000 sq ft to giant stages of more than 50,000 sq ft and grid heights up to and above 45 ft.

On-site ancillary buildings include scene shops, painting and welding tunnels, props and wardrobe buildings, camera department, crane and equipment rentals and pyrotechnic capabilities.

Post-production amenities include fully-equipped editing suites, laboratory, screening and dailies rooms, full orchestra scoring stage, ADR, foley and green screen and blue screen stages. Studio production services are also available for location shooting throughout the state.

FilmPort will encompass a multi-acre backlot with direct access to the river and a water tank with what will reportedly be the largest wave capability in North America.

LA. FIRST, the Louisiana Film Institute of Recruitment & Staff Training, will operate a technical training centre for film, television and digital media on the lot, as well as branch offices in north and south Louisiana.

River Studios and FilmPort's production consultant is Grand Illusions Louisiana, owned by Jonathan Sanger, Ed Elbert and Sarah Ryan Black.

The trio are principals in the development and operation of the studio, and their credits include Mission Impossible III, Ransom and Vanilla Sky.

'This is an exciting project for us, to have been integrally involved in its development from the ground up,' Sanger said. 'We also look forward to utilising Louisiana's lucrative tax credits for some of our upcoming film projects.'

'The studio's plan to be full-service as of its first day is a coup for film-making, and we look forward to representing River Studios and FilmPort to our colleagues in the industry,' Elbert said.

'We are proud to be associated with such a state-of-the-art complex and will enjoy having an on-site production company at the studio,' Black added.

'Since the Motion Picture Incentive Act, which I authored in 2002, the entertainment industry has brought more than $1bn in production to the state,' Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne said. 'I view this important project as one that will continue to grow and pay huge dividends for the state of Louisiana.'