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Why Louisiana Is the Next Hollywood

With attractive land, new on-set actors, and the tax credit, Louisiana is next Hollywood! See the full article below!

http://mashable.com/2014/07/22/louisiana-new-hollywood/

Plantation Village Studios is a fantastic new film and television studio in Louisiana located just 15 minutes from Baton Rouge Airport (Ryan Airport). Plantation Village Studios boasts a bespoke village complex with a custom Sound Stage, with a ceiling height of 45 ft. The Studio also benefits from: a varied backlot, wooded area, pond, swimming pool, antebellum properties and accommodation. Ample parking, workshop space and office space (kitted out, including makeup, shower rooms, green room). Plantation Village Studios even has DVD authoring, DIT cart hire, Generator hire and both Avid (DS), Avid Nitris DX and Final Cut (Studio Pro) suites. For more information call 225 658 8808 or email info@plantationvillagestudios.com or visit our site www.plantationvillagestudios.com

Current Productions In Louisiana

The attached link has a list of current productions in Louisiana! Did you ever think that so many films were shot in Louisiana?

http://www.filmneworleans.org/for-the-local-community/filmed-in-new-orleans/current-productions/

(Sourced from Google)

Plantation Village Studios is a fantastic new film and television studio in Louisiana located just 15 minutes from Baton Rouge Airport (Ryan Airport). Plantation Village Studios boasts a bespoke village complex with a custom Sound Stage, with a ceiling height of 45 ft. The Studio also benefits from: a varied backlot, wooded area, pond, swimming pool, antebellum properties and accommodation. Ample parking, workshop space and office space (kitted out, including makeup, shower rooms, green room). Plantation Village Studios even has DVD authoring, DIT cart hire, Generator hire and both Avid (DS), Avid Nitris DX and Final Cut (Studio Pro) suites. For more information call 225 658 8808 or email info@plantationvillagestudios.com or visit our site www.plantationvillagestudios.com

Sci-Fi Drama, ‘Zoo’ On CBS Was Filmed In Louisiana

The new show on CBS, ‘Zoo’ based on the book by James Patterson was mainly shot in New Orleans, Louisiana. The show aired on Tuesday June 30 at 8pm. You do not want to miss this show! The full articles is posted below.

http://www.wafb.com/story/29444615/new-sci-fi-drama-zoo-filmed-in-louisiana-airs-on-cbs

(Sourced from news.google.com)

Plantation Village Studios is a fantastic new film and television studio in Louisiana located just 15 minutes from Baton Rouge Airport (Ryan Airport). Plantation Village Studios boasts a bespoke village complex with a custom Sound Stage, with a ceiling height of 45 ft. The Studio also benefits from: a varied backlot, wooded area, pond, swimming pool, antebellum properties and accommodation. Ample parking, workshop space and office space (kitted out, including makeup, shower rooms, green room). Plantation Village Studios even has DVD authoring, DIT cart hire, Generator hire and both Avid (DS), Avid Nitris DX and Final Cut (Studio Pro) suites. For more information call 225 658 8808 or email info@plantationvillagestudios.com or visit our site www.plantationvillagestudios.com

Will Louisiana Film Industry Suffer?!

Talk of capping the tax credit program has Louisiana Film company’s worried. If LA decides to cap the program lots of jobs will be lost. The full article is posted at the link below.

https://www.businessreport.com/business/will-louisianas-film-industry-suffer-states-tax-credit-program-capped

(Sourced from news.google.com)

Plantation Village Studios is a fantastic new film and television studio in Louisiana located just 15 minutes from Baton Rouge Airport (Ryan Airport). Plantation Village Studios boasts a bespoke village complex with a custom Sound Stage, with a ceiling height of 45 ft. The Studio also benefits from: a varied backlot, wooded area, pond, swimming pool, antebellum properties and accommodation. Ample parking, workshop space and office space (kitted out, including makeup, shower rooms, green room). Plantation Village Studios even has DVD authoring, DIT cart hire, Generator hire and both Avid (DS), Avid Nitris DX and Final Cut (Studio Pro) suites. For more information call 225 658 8808 or email info@plantationvillagestudios.com or visit our site www.plantationvillagestudios.com

‘Jurassic World’ becomes Louisiana’s highest grossing movie

‘Jurassic World’ is now the top grossing movie in Louisiana! The link below ha all the details!(Sourced from news.google.com and bayoubuzz.com)

http://www.bayoubuzz.com/louisiana-news/louisiana-local-news/item/923052-jurassic-world-becomes-louisiana-film-industrys-highest-grossing-movie-ever

Plantation Village Studios is a fantastic new film and television studio in Louisiana located just 15 minutes from Baton Rouge Airport (Ryan Airport). Plantation Village Studios boasts a bespoke village complex with a custom Sound Stage, with a ceiling height of 45 ft. The Studio also benefits from: a varied backlot, wooded area, pond, swimming pool, antebellum properties and accommodation. Ample parking, workshop space and office space (kitted out, including makeup, shower rooms, green room). Plantation Village Studios even has DVD authoring, DIT cart hire, Generator hire and both Avid (DS), Avid Nitris DX and Final Cut (Studio Pro) suites. For more information call 225 658 8808 or email info@plantationvillagestudios.com or visit our site www.plantationvillagestudios.com

The Top 10 Movies Shop Predominantly In Louisiana

The below link (sourced from news.google.com) shows the top ten movies shot in Louisiana. The link also comes with clips from some of the movies. It is always interesting to find out that these movies were filmed here in our home state! Enjoy!

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=newssearch&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCMQqQIoADAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nola.com%2Fmovies%2Findex.ssf%2F2015%2F06%2Ftop_10_louisiana_shot_movies.html&ei=pbmSVd74HoHe-QGN452gAw&usg=AFQjCNH-Uho-iiMh7alNPH24i3SOVbBpgA&sig2=CsESUNNxQN2Apyefc9NX3Q&bvm=bv.96783405,d.cWw

Plantation Village Studios is a fantastic new film and television studio in Louisiana located just 15 minutes from Baton Rouge Airport (Ryan Airport). Plantation Village Studios boasts a bespoke village complex with a custom Sound Stage, with a ceiling height of 45 ft. The Studio also benefits from: a varied backlot, wooded area, pond, swimming pool, antebellum properties and accommodation. Ample parking, workshop space and office space (kitted out, including makeup, shower rooms, green room). Plantation Village Studios even has DVD authoring, DIT cart hire, Generator hire and both Avid (DS), Avid Nitris DX and Final Cut (Studio Pro) suites. For more information call 225 658 8808 or email info@plantationvillagestudios.com or visit our site www.plantationvillagestudios.com

Bobby Jindal adviser suggests reining in ‘very expensive’ film tax credit program

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret suggested there’s a need for changes in the way the state doles out incentives to lure the movie-making industry here.

Moret stopped short of calling for an outright cap or offering any specific suggestions for reining in film tax credits during a budget hearing Thursday, but the topic dominated most of the discussion on LED’s budget.

“It generates a lot of results, but it’s very expensive,” Moret told lawmakers, fielding several questions from them about the increasing size of the program and its costs to the state. “I definitely think it would be constructive to make changes.”

Such changes aren’t a part of the budget recommendation Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has proposed for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Moret, who is leaving his position as Jindal’s key economic development adviser in May to lead the LSU Foundation, cautioned that altering the film tax credit would not be a panacea for the $1.6 billion shortfall Louisiana faces in the coming year.

“You need to look at the whole picture,” he said, but he didn’t shy away from discussing its pitfalls.

Louisiana’s lucrative film tax credit program generates about 20 cents in state tax revenue for every $1 the state hands out in incentives.

“It definitely represents a net loss in revenue,” Moret said, noting that most other incentives generate more than the state pays out.

The Jindal administration has been critical of the film tax credit program in the past, and the governor showed he’s at least open to changes in tax credits in the coming year. His spending plan proposes scaling back other tax credit programs by $526 million.

But the executive budget recommendation doesn’t touch film tax credits.

Meghan Parrish, spokeswoman for the Division of Administration, said the administration isn’t opposed to changes in the film incentive, which lawmakers have been increasingly eyeing.

“We are open to working with legislators on tax credits — any of them — if there’s an appetite for that,” Parrish said. “Our budget is just a starting point.”

The tax credits paid out about $240 million last year and about $150 million the year before that, Moret said. Jindal’s budget recommendation includes about a $211 million gap in funding for higher education, which relies on the inventory tax credit scale back. If that proposal falls through, then the hit to higher education would swell past half a million dollars.

“I am not suggesting you eliminate the (film tax credit) program, but I do think we are in a situation today, with the size of this program relative to the challenges you are facing with the state budget, that it is now in direct competition with some other state priorities,” Moret said.

Jindal has been firm in his position that any tax increase would have to be “revenue neutral.” It’s unclear how changes to the film tax incentives would need to be offset to meet his requirement.

The state has no cap on film tax credits. Several lawmakers are proposing legislation that would cap costs and eliminate certain subsidies.

“We hear constantly from people in the building that the film credit doesn’t have a return,” said state Rep. John Schroeder, R-Covington.

Moret said the program has had positive effects on Louisiana.

“In terms of building and sustaining an industry, it’s been a huge success — there’s no question,” Moret said. “It’s brought a lot of attention to our state.”

But legislators, faced with the threat of deep cuts, said they are now weighing how much that notoriety is worth.

“I know it’s good to say we are filming more movies here than anywhere else,” said state Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge. “But that’s not as important to me.”

Moret said both the industry and the state need predictability.

“That’s the most important thing,” he said.

He also suggested two ways that the state could curb fraud and abuse: regulate accountants who audit the film industry and eliminate related-party payments.

“There’s no question that we have faced significant challenges in attempted fraud and abuse and sometimes successful fraud and abuse,” Moret said.

(Courtesy of advocate.com)

Louisiana short film competition to host social in BR with free libations

The “coolest film festival on the planet” returns Oct. 2-4, and south Louisiana filmmakers are encouraged to participate in the fun.

Join NOVAC Baton Rouge — an independent film resource — and the Louisiana Film Prize team Thursday to learn more about entering in this year’s competition at The Break Room at IPO, 421 Third St. in downtown Baton Rouge.

The social is 6-8 p.m.

This year is going to be bigger and better than ever before, organizers said.

“Last year proved that the Film Prize is of national importance, and we cannot wait to bring our competition back and invite filmmakers from all over the country to northwest Louisiana and see what we’re all about,” executive director Gregory Kallenberg said.

 

The short film competition has one rule: shoot a live-action, narrative film in northwest Louisiana. Over the past three years, it’s attracted independent filmmakers from across the country, including many from south Louisiana.

New Orleans filmmaker Chris Ganucheau and his crew won last year’s $50,000 cash prize — one of the largest for a short film — for “True Heroes.”

Acadiana residents may recall it from the November Southern Screen Festival in Lafayette.

Ganucheau said he’d been eager to show what he could do in “True Heroes” after entering the 2013 festival only a couple days before the submission deadline. His 2013 film “El Gato” won a $3,000 Founder’s Circle grant he put toward entering in the 2014 contest.

If learning how to win $50,000 isn’t incentive enough to drop by Thursday’s social, know there’s also free libations and Film Prize swag.

(Courtesy of theadvertiser.com)

The United States of Film: Louisiana

The United States of Film: Louisiana

 

There’s the South, and then there’s Louisiana. Many would argue the state is its own country, if not universe, especially when you approach the New Orleans city limits. Marked by an exceptional cultural gumbo of French, Spanish, Native American and African populations—not to mention strong Italian, German, Irish and Vietnamese communities, and dialects including Cajun, Creole and Yat—the state’s renown as a melting pot only begins with its sometimes balmy, sometimes blistering subtropical conditions. In Louisiana, where counties are referred to as parishes and to go shopping is “to make groceries,” everything’s just a bit different. No more apparent is that than in the Big Easy, a destination known as much for being a port city as a party city. But there’s much more to the state than the Mardi Gras mecca of New Orleans, as witnessed in the best onscreen representations of one of the most richly storied and influential parts of the U.S.

Many Louisiana-set films trade on the slow-drawl, slower-smarts stereotypes of the Deep South (The Waterboy, ahem, Fletch Lives). Others take a cue from the area’s humid, corrupt and tawdry charms (No Mercy, Wild at Heart, Heaven’s Prisoners and its sequel, In the Electric Mist) or street-smart M.O. (Hard Times, The Cincinnati Kid). The melodramas (Passion Fish, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Lady from Louisiana) are as plentiful as the magnolias (Steel Magnolias, of course). So, too, for a state where headlines precede it, are the movies centering around prison and poverty: The Green Mile, Dead Man Walking and Monster’s Ball, among them. And then there’s the scandalous politics: Consider the original All The King’s Men, inspired by the life of controversial Louisiana governor and state senator Huey P. Long, and Blaze, the Paul Newman-starring fictionalization of Huey’s brother, Louisiana’s 45th governor, Earl Long, also the uncle of U.S. Senator Russell Long.

Also omitted here are Spike Lee’s outstanding post-Katrina documentaries for HBO, When the Levees Broke and If God is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise, and, believe it or not, a pair of Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicles (Universal Soldier, Hard Target). Still, from campy thrillers (Hatchet, The Alligator People, Cat People, Candyman, Swamp Thing) to buddy movies (Delta Heat) to exploitation fare of varying degree (Live and Let Die, Pretty Baby, Drum), certain common threads emerge: a deeply atmospheric sense of climate—physical, psychological, moral, oft times supernatural; communities where everybody knows everybody else’s business; lusty appetites for… everything; and, of course, accents of dubious authenticity.

Read on for 15 quintessential Louisiana films, where even though it’s not always possible to “laissez les bons temps rouler,” these times, after all is said and done, couldn’t be set anywhere else. As they say in dem parts, yeah you right.


15. Little Chenier
Year: 2006
Director: Bethany Ashton

Chenier 1.jpg

Billed “A Cajun Story” (right down to its sometimes subtitled dialogue), this barely post-Katrina-made film is as noteworthy for its production as for its hyperlocal narrative. Just three weeks after the hurricane devastated the Louisiana coastline and inland areas, another name storm, then Category 3-strength Rita, hit the city of Lake Charles and other parishes involved in the film shoot, which had just wrapped. The area was completely destroyed, what left writer-director Bethany Ashton’s film as a monument of sorts to the region and its way of life.

The plot itself casts Jonathon Schaech (That Thing You Do) as Beauxregard Dupuis, a bait fisherman who lives in the titular swamp country on a houseboat alongside his mentally-disabled younger brother. Beaux pines for his ex, who’s now married to the unscrupulous town sheriff, who in turn has it out for the siblings. Cue the soapy deceptions, and the Of Mice and Men clichés. The expected notwithstanding, Louisiana native Ashton has an affecting way with the rote daily business of the bayou and a Southern Gothic approach that works more often than not.


14. The Skeleton Key
Year: 2005
Director: Iain Softley

Skeleton Key 1.jpg

A fine cast elevates B-movie hokum in this effective thriller. Kate Hudson stars as New Jersey-to-New Orleans transplant Caroline, a hospice nurse who signs on at a coastal plantation manor. Though initially skeptical of all this local talk of superstitions, she grows to believe—the operative word here—her new patient, stroke victim Benjamin Devereaux (John Hurt), is in danger from the century-old spirits of two former servants. As Hudson’s character learns more about the house’s matriarch, Violet (Gena Rowlands), and the practice of Hoodoo folk magic still in play throughout the haunted mansion, the movie conjures up creaky scares and guilty pleasures, alongside a NOLA-centric soundtrack (Rebirth Brass Band, The Dixie Cups). Here the south is drenched, quite literally, in spooky meteorological clichés: lots of foreboding thunder and rain, wind-rattled doors and windows. Filmed at the historic Felicity Plantation on the Mississippi River—also a location for 12 Years a SlaveThe Skeleton Key is an old-fashioned ghost story that makes the most of its antebellum backdrop, and Louisiana’s rep as a hotbed for the paranormal.


13. The Man in the Moon
Year: 1991
Director: Robert Mulligan

Man Moon 2.jpg

Shot in Natchitoches, the same town south of Shreveport as Steel Magnolias a couple years earlier, this languorous coming-of-age drama features the debut screen performance of Reese Witherspoon. The New Orleans native shows presence beyond her years as Dani Trant, a 14-year-old tomboy who whiles away summer days on the family farm in Elvis-crazed 1957. She idolizes her beautiful older sis, Maureen, with whom she is close, disobeys her overprotective but loving parents (Sam Waterston and Tess Harper), and steals away for dips in the neighbor’s pond. But the arrival of handsome Court, the 17-year-old son of the widow next door, complicates things. Director Robert Mulligan’s last film—his career included an adaptation of another Southern tale, To Kill a Mockingbird—unfolds like an afternoon breeze, reveling in the textures of the season, and the rural South: screen porches and front swings, swimmin’ holes and fishin’ trips, crickets and songbirds, thunderstorms and first kisses that jolt like lightning. The Man in the Moon is an organic, unforced portrait of adolescence, as vivid as Dani’s daydreams.

12. Louisiana Story
Year: 1948
Director: Robert J. Flaherty

LA Story 2.jpg

This naive piece of propaganda, which the Library of Congress in 1994 tapped for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry, was often mistakenly referred to as a documentary. But the last feature by writer-director Robert J. Flaherty—he of the likewise fictionalized tale of man vs. nature, Nanook of the North—was funded by the Standard Oil Company and has the onscreen spin to prove it. Produced on location in the marshlands with a local cast of amateurs, the film follows the simple life of a Cajun boy (played by Joseph Boudreaux) and his pet raccoon. Drama arrives when oil men seek to drill on his family’s property—that, and the appearance of a giant alligator (really). It’s as quaintly idyllic as it sounds, and the petrol people, despite a rig incident gone awry, come off as upstanding folk whose concern for the environment is matched by their desire to help the community. So yeah, totally believable. Issues of plausibility aside, Flaherty’s direction is characteristically lyrical, as is Virgil Thomson’s score; based on field tapes of indigenous Acadian musicians, it won a Pulitzer. A visually poetic document of another time, and a prophetic glimpse of man-made disasters to come, this Story reflects reality more than you’d think.


11. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Year: 2008
Director: David Fincher

Curious Case 1.jpg

Though far from David Fincher’s best work, his typically painstaking attention to detail and shrewd decision to transplant the original F. Scott Fitzgerald short story from Baltimore to New Orleans nab this film—the second shot in the Crescent City after Hurricane Katrina (after the 2006 Denzel Washington vehicle Déjà Vu)—a spot on the list. Fincher was motivated to move the production thanks to Louisiana’s generous tax incentives for filmmakers—the state isn’t called “Hollywood South” for just its versatile locations. But by setting Brad Pitt’s aging-in-reverse timeline from November 1918 through the sirens blaring of the storm’s August 2005 landfall, he and screenwriter Eric Roth (in full Forrest Gump mode again) mine a fantastical metaphor of a city that’s as old as it is ageless. “The circumstances of my birth were… unusual,” Pitt’s Benjamin Button begins—the same fate could be said of New Orleans, and everything of both since. (Pitt has become something of an ambassador for the still-recovering town through his philanthropic foundation’s efforts to help rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward.) The sprawling odyssey—Pitt called it a “love letter”—elegizes a city then barely three years removed from near destruction, its often sepia-cast vignettes showcasing the Garden District, Mid-City, the French Quarter and beyond.


10. Eve’s Bayou
Year: 1997
Director: Kasi Lemmons

Eves Bayou 1.jpg

In an audacious feature debut, writer-director Kasi Lemmons (who also acted in Silence of the Lambs and NOLA-set Hard Target) delivers this under-seen gem of mood and genre that hinges on the reality of memory. The classic Southern Gothic concerns an affluent African-American family in a bayou enclave, named for a Creole slave woman, circa 1960. It’s summertime (natch). Samuel L. Jackson leads a terrific ensemble; the cast includes Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, Diahann Carroll, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and even saxophonist and Breaux Bridge, La. native Branford Marsalis. Jackson is a successful doctor whose bed-hopping comes to the unwitting attention of his middle child, 10-year-old Eve (young master of the side-eye Jurnee Smollett), and sets off a crisis in the process. The names ring true of the region: Batiste, Delacroix, Mereaux. So too does the atmosphere, with its hexes and voodoo, above-ground tombs, and Spanish moss that hangs in the trees as thick as the secrets below. New Orleans-born composer Terence Blanchard contributes a nuanced score that complements Lemmons’ deft way with the comic and the macabre. Filmed largely just across Lake Pontchartrain in Covington, Eve’s Bayou subverts racial, regional and class stereotypes in matter-of-fact fashion, turning the evils of the plantation house of yore on their head.


9. The Big Easy
Year: 1986
Director: Jim McBride

Big Easy 1.jpg

Originally to be set in Chicago, this tongue-in-cheek crime drama transfers easily and convincingly to New Orleans. Dennis Quaid does Dennis Quaid as a cocksure N.O.P.D. lieutenant who romances the new district attorney (Ellen Barkin), despite mounting evidence of his unlawful behavior, police department payoffs and mob violence. The Big Easy may be a mystery, but it’s hardly a serious affair, which is why it gets away with so much. The characters are saucy—sample line: “If I can’t have you, can I have my gator?”—and as shady as the city’s labyrinthine courtyards and alleyways. Directed by Jim McBride and costarring Ned Beatty (check that crawdad “burl” attire), R&B great Solomon Burke and longtime Big Easy resident John Goodman, this flavorful noir gains cred for the appearance of local institutions including music venue Tipitina’s and French Quarter restaurant Antoine’s, plus soundtrack appearances by zydeco band BeauSoleil, legendary bluesman Professor Longhair and Aaron Neville. Funkier still, the judge in Quaid’s character’s case is played by Jim Garrison, the real-life lawyer and judge who, as New Orleans’ one-time district attorney, brought charges in the JFK assassination—you may recall Kevin Costner played Garrison in another film set in town. As one Big Easy resident deadpans, “New Orleans is a marvelous environment for coincidence.”


8. King Creole
Year: 1958
Director: Michael Curtiz

King Creole 1.jpg

There’s no leaving what is arguably Elvis Presley’s finest dramatic performance (and reportedly his personal favorite) off the list, even if much of the movie was recorded on a Hollywood soundstage. The first moments of the Michael Curtiz film, shot on a French Quarter balcony that remains a tourist attraction to this day, are nothing short of iconic, The King crooning that ode to the Louisiana seafood industry, “Crawfish.” Costarring Walter Matthau and Carolyn Jones (The Addams Family), King Creole casts Presley as a high school dropout-turned-singer in a Bourbon Street club who gets mixed up with local delinquents and pretty girls. “I’m not a hoodlum, but I am a hustler; I had to be for a very simple reason,” Presley’s character, Danny Fisher, explains early on. With a soundtrack infused with Dixieland and trad jazz, it’s an indisputable entry in the Louisiana movie canon—and one that almost didn’t happen: Not only was King Creole initially set to star James Dean as a boxer in New York, Presley, once recast in the Crescent City upon Dean’s death, had to request a 60-day extension from the Army draft board to make the picture.


7. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Year: 1994
Director: Neil Jordan

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Anne Rice’s 1976 gothic novel about bloodsuckers in Spanish Louisiana got the epic big-screen treatment almost two decades after its debut, and 200 years after its narrator Louis’ induction into the immortal realm. New Orleans—home to many “cities of the dead” or above-ground cemeteries, due in part to the plagues that ravaged late 18th century slums—is also the perfect setting for a grief-stricken, navel-gazing young plantation owner like Louis (played by Brad Pitt) to lose himself. Preening and stalking his way through the streets, Louis’ maker and lead vamp Lestat (Tom Cruise) embodies the almost otherworldly decadence and European sophistication of the city (the character still enjoys a zealous local fan club that hosts an annual ball). Director Neil Jordan, working with cinematographer Phillipe Rousselot and production designer Dante Ferretti, captures the nocturnal reality in hedonistic hues and the light of lanterns strewn throughout the French Quarter. From boudoirs to saloons to the banks of the Mississippi, it’s a universe that, as noted before, stands frozen in time. New Orleans is often described as the city that will never tell you “no”—that seductive and more-than-a-little-sad truism has, um, real teeth in the undead souls of Interview.

6. Down by Law
Year: 1986
Director: Jim Jarmusch

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It sounds like a joke: A DJ, a pimp and a tourist walk out of a prison. (Then again, that scenario’s just another morning in NOLA.) Of course, the jailbreak in Jim Jarmusch’s indie classic isn’t quite that simple, even if there’s little more to the plot. Rocker/actor Tom Waits plays the disc jockey, fellow musician and Jarmusch collaborator John Lurie is the hustler, and motormouth Italian Roberto Benigni is the foreigner. The trio—each member falsely imprisoned—make a reluctant, often farcical team as they escape and later retreat into the wetlands surrounding New Orleans. But like any Jarmusch film, Down By Law is less about story and more about atmosphere. Thanks to tremendous performances and Robby Müller’s camerawork, the film has that in spades—all the better to showcase the character of the region itself. Müller’s magnificently long, strolling shots feel no less colorful in crisp black and white; a leisurely intro pans past mausoleums and swamp shacks, shotgun houses and Victorian balconies before Waits and co. inhabit the space with casual nods to local radio station WWOZ, bluesman Earl King and soul queen Irma Thomas. Outside parish limits, their bayou adventures pulse with the sounds of wildlife and stark backwater imagery. Jarmusch’s oddball comic noir echoes the state of misfits in which it’s set.


5. Southern Comfort
Year: 1981
Director: Walter Hill

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An underrated entry in action veteran Walter Hill’s (The Warriors, The Driver, 48 Hrs.) filmography, this Deliverance meets Apocalypse Now survival thriller posits a National Guard unit on a weekend training exercise in the swamp that runs afoul of French-speaking locals. The entitled servicemen “borrow,” bully and taunt, and surprise, they lose whatever upper hand they thought they had—especially without the aid of live ammo. Once again, Louisiana’s evocative locales are the stuff of not-so-subtle allegory, this time around of the U.S.’s involvement in Vietnam (the film is set in the early ‘70s, though Hill, whose prior Louisiana credits included the New Orleans-set Hard Times, shrugged off the metaphor). But look past the symbolism—and the stock bros and rednecks on both sides of the conflict—and you’ll notice stunning location work and cinematography that captures the beauty, mystery and, yes, terror of the bayou. Hill takes us deep into its murky waters, completely disorienting the troops (Powers Boothe, Keith Carradine and Fred Ward) and viewers alike from the outset. Ry Cooder’s twangy slide guitar-driven score and arrangements of traditional Cajun Indian music keep the suspense at a slow but ominous burn. Were it not for the grisly violence—and that ending—Southern Comfort is almost a tourism postcard. Almost. (Joel Schumacher’s 2000 film Tigerland mines similar terrain.)


4. Angel Heart
Year: 1987
Director: Alan Parker

Angel Heart 1.jpg

Voodoo again plays a prominent role in this Alan Parker film, part noir, part hard-boiled detective mystery, part horror movie. As gumshoe Harry Angel in 1950s Harlem, Mickey Rourke is at his best, hired by a devilish-looking man (Robert DeNiro) to track down a big band singer, only to be lured into the occult subcultures of Louisiana. As Angel’s investigation takes him south from New York City to the New Orleans neighborhood of Algiers—interestingly, a move suggested to Parker by the story’s author, novelist William Hjortsberg—the color-drained, highly stylized production reflects his descent into hell. Parker wrings the humidity and torrid filth from each frame, from the streetcars, second-line parades and clubs of Uptown and Carrollton to the rural plantations of Thibodaux. You can practically smell the pervasive overripeness and touch Angel’s sweat-crinkled suits. The feverish mood boils to the surface, giving up bodies and body parts of assorted creatures. Lisa Bonet (The Cosby Show), as chicken-loving priestess Epiphany Proudfoot (yup), exudes a delta sensuality that got her in trouble with her then-TV dad, and the film with the ratings board, which required trims of her and Rourke’s blood-bathed sex scene. Headlines aside, Angel Heart is a wanton spectacle whose extremes suit the region.


3. 12 Years a Slave
Year: 2013
Director: Steve McQueen

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Brad Pitt makes his third appearance on the list—it’s no wonder “Brad Pitt for Mayor” t-shirts populate the streets of New Orleans—here as producer and actor (albeit, in a small but pivotal role). But this is Solomon Northrup’s (true) story. Chiwetel Ejiofor is quietly galvanizing as Northrup, a free black man in Upstate New York circa 1841 who is drugged, kidnapped and sold into slavery. The next dozen years may as well be a million in English filmmaker Steve McQueen’s controlled, unflinching production, as Northrup adapts to survive from plantation to plantation, master to master. McQueen and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt employ a fluid, formal aesthetic that contrasts the hypocrisy of Northrup’s owners, such seething inhumanity cloaked beneath their genteel, Bible-quoting propriety. It sickens on a visceral level. Lingering on the daily routines of slave life in the Deep South, 12 Years spares no sight. The film immerses viewers so thoroughly in the ugliness of history that the plain grace of its environs—as when Lupita N’yongo’s Patsey crafts corn-husk dolls in the cotton fields—is almost lost. A wide shot of moss canopies and children playing, scored by singing birds and chirping crickets, would be bucolic were it not for the man slowly being lynched from one of its giant oak trees. Shot on several properties throughout Louisiana near the real Northrup’s enslavement, 12 Years is a reminder of unchecked depravity whose vestiges resonate in more ways than one.


2. Beasts of the Southern Wild
Year: 2012
Director: Benh Zeitlin

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Fantasy meets reality in this apocalyptic coming-of-age fable whose art-imitating-life—or is that vice versa?—production put it in immediate contact with the BP Deepwater Horizon; the oil rig exploded the first day of filming just offshore of New Orleans, in Terrebonne Parish. Newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis—one of many cast members culled from bayou country—is extraordinary as 6-year-old Hushpuppy, a force of nature in the fictional, self-sustained fishing isle of “The Bathtub,” so named because of its below sea-level, levee-created geography. Her hard-drinking father Wink’s health is in rapid decline as a hurricane nears the community—along with prehistoric creatures newly unfrozen from Arctic waters. As Hushpuppy and her dad (played by fellow non-actor Dwight Henry, who like Wallis would later appear in 12 Years a Slave) face peril both internal and external, Beasts becomes surreal post-Katrina folklore, and unforgettably gorgeous lore at that. Director Benh Zeitlin, who co-wrote the screenplay with playwright Lucy Alibar, offers a mythic observation on climate change and the disappearing coastal wetlands, a fast eroding natural barrier against storm surges that, along with levees in various states of disrepair and outright neglect, pose an ongoing threat to the state. But it’s hardly sociopolitical soap-boxing. Told through Hushpuppy’s POV of fright and awe, the film is a powerful testament to the abiding resilience of the region and its residents—joyous to live, defiant to return, proud to remain, home.


1. A Streetcar Named Desire
Year: 1951
Director: Elia Kazan

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As if there were any doubt, let’s look, for starters, to the perennial “Stella!” and “Stanley!” shouting contest in New Orleans’ Jackson Square, part of the annual Tennessee Williams Festival. Elia Kazan’s masterful screen adaptation of the 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning classic nails the essence of the singular charisma of the Crescent City, and Louisiana at large—aggressively raw, effortlessly refined, old-world and urgent, exotic and altogether American. Despite how, like King Creole, the film was largely shot on a Hollywood soundstage, Streetcar is so intrinsically tied to its milieu that its veracity has made it an enduring cultural landmark. Amid the Southern Gothic drama of delusional aging belle Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh), her burly lout of a brother-in-law (Marlon Brando), and put-upon sister Stella (Kim Hunter), the French Quarter throbs with Williams’ censors-baiting prose and Alex North’s steamy jazz score. Even the opening line namechecks several NOLA landmarks: “They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian Fields.” Adapted for the screen by Williams himself, Streetcar was tamed considerably by the uptight folk behind the Hays Code, yet its primal heat is not sacrificed. The characters exist in a sultry summer haze of fan-cast shadows and ramshackle surroundings, stripped down to their base passions (and, frequently, various undergarments). The cumulative effect is as Method as leading man Brando himself, intense and spellbinding. “I don’t want realism, I want magic,” Blanche says late in the film. Streetcar, like its setting, is both.

(Courtesy of pastemagazine.com)

Zombie movie to film inside state Capitol this week

The independent action-horror flick “Navy SEALS vs. Zombies” will be filming inside the Louisiana Capitol this week.

According to an email to Capitol staff, the shooting will take place Thursday and Friday from the committee level (or ground) floor through the fourth floor — home to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office.

“Expect to see actors carrying weapons and gory props,” the email cautions. “We have been assured that no firearms will be discharged.”

The zombie movie also filmed in and around the Capitol last weekend. Production crews have been set up at the old insurance building parking garage for several days.

Details have been sparse about the movie, so far, but based on a tweet from director Stanton Barrett, track athlete Lolo Jones and actor and former NBA player Rick Fox will at least make appearances.

No legislative hearings are scheduled at the Capitol the rest of this week.

(Courtesy of blogs.theadvocate.com)