I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and well. One year ago marked the beginning of lockdown across our state and the world due to Covid. In many ways, it feels like yesterday, but in another way, it feels like it’s been an eternity.
During Covid-19, the film and television industry implemented some of the safest work protocols of any industry across the country. We followed lockstep here in Louisiana, working with local communities and health departments to achieve compliance. I’m proud of this effort which allowed us to return to work quickly and safely. Now with vaccinations being delivered and good weather on the horizon, we can now turn our attention to the upcoming legislative session.
The session begins in less than 40 days, April 12th to be exact. It is a fiscal session by nature, which allows our program to be both improved and scrutinized. In anticipation of this, the Executive Board members have spent the past year evaluating the efficacy of parts of our current program. Even more importantly, we have canvassed the state, educating the new class of legislators in the Louisiana House and Senate on the impact and importance of the film and television industry here in Louisiana. They have been receptive in those meetings and have issued broad support. These new legislators will need to continue to hear from us, our crew, and our vendors.
There will likely be a number of times where will we need you to use your voice to let legislators know the importance of our industry to you, your family, and the communities in which we live and serve. Whether it is to support any legislation that is supported by our industry or to defeat any negative bills. There has already been one bill that was pre-filed that seeks to reduce the program. We will monitor this and any others that may arise in the coming weeks. Rest assured, if we need to rally everyone to send emails or make phone calls, you will be the first to know. So for now, let’s focus on the positives our industry has achieved before and throughout the pandemic.
Our safety protocols allowed our industry to return to work quickly and responsibly, putting Louisianians to work and providing small businesses with needed revenue. We have over 13 shows in pre-production or filming currently across our state from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, Leesville to Lafayette and points in-between. The need for additional content for streaming platforms has only grown and Louisiana is in a great position to take advantage of this over the coming years. This surge will create more job opportunities for residents and more economic stimulus to the state.
Our industry is a job creator. In the most recent economic report by LED, our industry supported over 7,500 jobs with $325 million in earnings for residents. Our industry imports close to one billion in sales revenue to Louisiana businesses. If you take that plus the $1.3 billion in annual tourism revenue attributed by the Lt. Governor, we are in a prime position as the world begins to slowly open up. It’s a Louisiana rebound we are proud to play a critical part in.
In closing, I’m happy to share the news of the recent $220,000 IATSE-NOVAC grant that was announced this week, which hopes to create new employment opportunities for hotel, tourism, and food industry workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and address the projected increase of motion picture production in Louisiana. This program was made possible by self-generated revenue from the state’s entertainment development fund. More information can be found here.
Remember, when we speak with one voice, we get things done. If you have any questions about the legislative session or anything else, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be in touch on a more regular basis this spring. Thank you for continuing to stand guard with us.