SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Two years ago, changes to the film tax programs in Louisiana caused uncertainty for filmmakers. Many productions left Louisiana, especially in Northwest Louisiana. This year Louisiana lawmakers revamped the program in hopes to drive business back to the state.
"It's been tough," said Bryan Delorenzo, a film crew member.
This weekend, for the first time in nearly two years, the streets of downtown Shreveport were shut down for the filming of a movie.
"There's been no work for anybody - they've been working in other cities," said Delorenzo.
Bryan Delorenzo was helping shoot the "Green Book" movie in Shreveport on Sunday. The shoot was a second unit shoot, so it was a smaller crew filming mostly extra work and scenic shots.
Delorenzo moved from Los Angeles to Shreveport 10 years ago. He says the film incentives brought production to the area. But after changes to the tax credit program in 2015, uncertainty in the business caused work to dwindle.
"It's not as it was previously, where you did your production after being given the green light and then all of your accounting was handled on the back end. This way - you know exactly what you've been approved for, exactly what to expect and exactly what your outcome is going to be without any doubt or uncertainty. It was the uncertainty of the previous changes that accounted for why it is that the productions went elsewhere," said State Representative Cedric Glover, (D) Shreveport.
Major productions weren't coming to Shreveport anymore. This year alone, a few commercials, a documentary, and some TV shows shot in the area. Earlier this year, state legislators voted to change the incentive program hoping to drive film production back to the state.
"New Orleans is starting to benefit. The plan in New Orleans is a lot of filmmaking over the next six months. The hope is, it comes back up here," said Delorenzo.
The newly revamped program includes a 25 percent base tax credit for all films shot in Louisiana. But, to make areas outside of New Orleans more enticing for filmmakers there's an additional 5 percent increase if they are shot outside the New Orleans metropolitan area.
"It is certainly our hope is that we're going to manage to be able to see some substantial portion of the industry make its return back to the area," said Glover.
According to the Shreveport Film Commission, there's already an increase in inquiries from productions on filming in the Shreveport - Bossier City area. They anticipate 2018 to be a much better year for the film industry in Shreveport-Bossier.
Something filmmakers are also hoping for.
"There's a ton of talented filmmakers here. A ton of families that want to work in town," said Delorenzo.
The Shreveport-Bossier film commission tells us there is a major film slated to shoot in the Shreveport-Bossier area in March for two weeks, and many low budget films are starting to come back to the area for filming.