In a move that will bringNew Year cheer to Louisiana officials in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, realestate developer The Celtic Group is planning to revive an abandoned BatonRouge facility and turn it into a film studio.
The new Celtic Media Centreis being developed by Celtic, Baton Rouge and Los Angeles-based productioncompany Nova Pictures and Hollywood-based Raleigh Studios, which is acting asdesign consultant.
The parties expect thefacility to be complete in the third quarter. The centre will house a"Hollywood-class" soundstage and post-production facilities.
It is among the first of itskind to apply for Louisiana's infrastructure tax credit passed last summer asan adjunct to the production tax credit law that has raised production levelsin state.
Nova chief executive officerChristopher Fink was instrumental in developing the project and bringing inRaleigh, and Nova will contract exclusively with the Celtic Media Centre tohandle all studio aspects on its production slate.
"The growing number ofmotion picture productions we've witnessed in recent years can only besustained and transformed into a viable Louisiana film industry if we'rewilling to invest in the infrastructure required to support it," Celtic Groupchairman and chief executive officer Brendan O'Connor said.
"As other states pass taxcredits for filmmakers, it will be absolutely critical that facilities such asthis be available to motion picture producers."
O'Connor added that he andFink were interested in working with educational and workforce developmentorganisations to provide training opportunities to help build a strong base offilm production personnel in Louisiana.
"Brendan's businessexperience, acumen and management skills have proven to be invaluable to thiswhole process, from planning to execution," Fink added. "He's a doer, adecision maker who knows how to seize opportunities and get things done."