New Orleans Named the #1 City for Movie Makers

The Big Easy is once again in the media spotlight and this time for all the right reasons. After a succession of impressive development records, New Orleans is now officially the most desirable city to film within the United States according to MovieMaker Magazine.

number 1This new ranking puts New Orleans ahead of Los Angeles (Hollywood) and other major entertainment cities, such as Atlanta, Austin and New York. This pushes New Orleans from third place in 2011, to what people are calling its rightful place at the top!

How New Orleans Earned the #1 Ranking 

MovieMaker Magazine has been compiling the “Top 10 Cities for Filmmakers in America” list for over 12 years – an annual list that has earned the respect of many in the industry. According to MovieMaker, all of the top 10 cities “go the extra mile in welcoming lower-budget productions” and indie filmmakers but it really takes one city to stand out from the rest.

MovieMaker outlined the following criteria that they feel best shows which cities meet this common goal. Cities can rank higher if they:

  • Offer opportunities to screen new films
  • Provide ongoing education for filmmakers and supporting staff
  • Provide a community which has strong networking events
  • Has adequate studio space in which to film
  • Offers competitive financial incentives for filmmakers and other types of media production

With its unique cultural landscape, attractive financial incentives and rapidly expanding workforce and resources to meet every film industry requirement, it’s easy to see how Louisiana would top this list as we meet every one of these qualifications and is quickly becoming a one-stop shop when it comes to film productions. 

The Top 10 Cities for Filmmakers in America 2012: 

  1. New Orleans, LA
  2. Austin, TX
  3. Albuquerque, NM
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. New York, NY
  6. Boston, MA
  7. Atlanta, GA
  8. Chicago, IL
  9. Richmond, VA
  10. Wichita, KS  

Continued support of financial incentives helps fuel growth 

30It’s becoming well known throughout the industry that Louisiana offers some of the best film tax incentive programs in the country. With generous tax incentives upwards of 30% available in invested credit and a further 5% labor tax credit available to those who hire local Louisiana residents, no other state can match the financial rewards of this film-friendly community. As such, the industry has benefited from enormous growth in the previous five years.  


Louisiana’s film industry currently offers:

  • 30% tax credits on qualified direct production expenses in Louisiana
  • An added 5% tax credit for payroll expenditures for those who hire Louisiana residents
  • No annual cap on incentives
  • Tax credits may be used to offset income tax liability in Louisiana (corporate or personal)
  • Tax credits may be sold back to the State for 85% face value or brokered on the open market
  • Click here to read more about Louisiana’s financial incentive programs 

The benefits don’t end there. New Orleans also competes as a shining example of development, perseverance and new opportunities. With its own unique landscape, history, culture, food and music, the city has long since been a Mecca for those who are artistic or are seeking inspiration. It’s a one-of-a-kind filming location that is proving to be both irresistible and irreplaceable.  

The Future of the Film Industry in New Orleans 

With ever expanding opportunities and benefits coming into focus, many are flocking to Louisiana to cater to the fast growing film industry. FotoKem, founded in 1963 in Burbank, California, signaled a change of pace in the film industry when the company decided to expand its operations in 2011 and establish a presence, not in California but in the small city of New Orleans. 

With a brand new office located in the heart of the idyllic French Quarters, FotoKem is taking advantage of the unique opportunities and benefits in the Bayou state and reaping the rewards from a new filming perspective previously undiscovered. 

FBT Film is a proud production partner of leading film organizations such as FotoKem and Film Finances Inc., and is proud to support these companies and their new presence in Louisiana.

Major film projects such as Abraham Lincoln, Green Lantern and 21 Jump Street are set to increase the media coverage in the area during 2012 with high-grossing international films continuing to take filming in the state of Louisiana. It’s easy to see why New Orleans ranked number one in film and entertainment in 2012 and plans to stay there for next year’s list!