September 5, 2006 at 9:53 PM CDT - Updated July 26 at 8:35 PM
13. Shreveport got a surprise blessing in economic development from the film industry last year, and built on the blessing by converting what used to be Expo Hall into a sound stage. What will your administration do to further develop and expand the film industry here?
Arlena Acree We are experiencing a tremendous economic impact for our city since Katrina with the movie industry. I have worked very closely with all of the film productions and we so far have approximately $ 290 million in films with a direct economic impact of $90 million in direct spending. We have already created a few local incentives, but we need to create some more to ensure that Shreveport will be a first choice for future film projects. Even though recently, Louisiana was named # 1 as best places to shoot in the U.S., we are always in competition with other cities and states. We must continue to grow our local production workforce and continue to address their temporary housing needs. We need to continue to build on the infrastructures and services needed for them. We have some great infrastructures in place such as Stageworks and the wave pool, but we need more. I would like to have a staff person dedicated to that industry to assist them with all of their city needs.
Madjun Ali Whatever Mayor Hightower put into place and works for the City of Shreveport, it will continue to work for the City of Shreveport.
Ed Bradley Why not see if we can't work with local universities and Vo-Tech to build a film school and train technical crews? In our City Center Vision Plan, we looked to Savannah, Ga., as a model, where they attracted a private individual to build its renowned College of Arts and Design. After years of struggling, this institution is now one of the most prestigious film schools in the country, serving as a catalyst in the gentrification of downtown Savannah and bringing an influx of young people into the city.
By adding, within walking distance to the Sound Stage, waterfront luxury condominiums and loft spaces along with luxurious lifestyle services such as art galleries, museums, spas, jazz lounges, patio bistros, restaurants and a beautiful new marina coupled with existing cultural institutions, we will be able to offer film professionals a pampered place where they can work, live and play. Here, again, we looked at Vancouver as a model. Production crews and actors desire housing with close proximity to where they work.
Henry Hodge-Bey We must pay to keep the film industry here.
Max Malone Yes, we have a blessing and as Mayor, I will continue to further develop and expand the film industry. However, it should be the private sector doing the expansion! The renting out of Expo Hall for $100 a month is a "sweetheart deal" for investors, but there should have been a back in after payout for the people of Shreveport who paid for it.
Liz Swaine The lease of Expo Hall as a modern soundstage was a huge first step, as was Mayor Hightower's trip to California to court major motion picture studios. We must not take this industry for granted and continue to work with it to find ways to keep the studios coming back and eventually, expand. We are well on our way, through initiatives at Bossier Parish Community College, in having job-ready crews here in Shreveport. This will save the studios money because they will no longer have to bring in full crews from elsewhere and pay a hefty per diem for their lodging and food. It will also be good for us in that locals will be getting the jobs instead of out-of-towners. We, unfortunately, are in a position of competing with Baton Rouge and New Orleans for these movie productions. I will work with our Legislative delegation and our Governor in stressing that Shreveport and Northwest Louisiana should not be ignored when money is passed out in south Louisiana to woo productions or to build soundstages and other infrastructure the industry needs.