Starlight Studios in New Orleans is the latest company to qualify under the state’s Entertainment Job Creation Program, which is designed to cultivate sustainable jobs for motion picture, digital, music and theatrical industries in Louisiana.
Starlight Studios will create five new, permanent jobs with an average annual salary of $91,000, plus benefits, at its motion picture production facility in eastern New Orleans. Starlight’s 40-acre complex features soundstages, offices and warehouse space for feature film and television productions. Among the projects filmed there is Freeform network’s hit series Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger.
“We want to encourage entertainment companies to grow here and create permanent, quality jobs for Louisiana residents in the entertainment industry,” said Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson. “The Entertainment Job Creation Program, and the companion Music Job Creation Program, are helpful new tools for entertainment companies to accelerate their growth through long-term investments in Louisiana operations. We appreciate Starlight Studios’ commitment to Louisiana as it invests locally and hires locally, helping us to secure a permanent entertainment industry in our state.”
The Entertainment Job Creation Program, also known as the Qualified Entertainment Company incentive, was created by the Louisiana Legislature in 2017 to reward investment in permanent quality jobs for Louisiana residents engaged in entertainment content creation. For jobs paying $45,000 or more annually, the employer can claim a 15 percent payroll tax credit. That credit increases to 20 percent for new jobs paying more than $66,000 a year. A similar credit was established for music-related companies.
“Our ability to bring purpose-built infrastructure to Louisiana’s burgeoning entertainment industry would not be possible without the guidance and leadership of LED, the New Orleans Industrial Development Board and our Legislature,” said Starlight Studios Developer and CEO Billy Burk. “We are proud to be a part of this program and its incentive to create lasting, quality jobs and sustainable economic growth for the creative industries here in Louisiana.”
Renovations to the company’s office space and warehouses are underway and are expected to be completed in early 2019. Starlight also plans to construction additional soundstage and warehouse space next year, giving the company a total of 62,000 square feet of working space at three soundstages, plus 65,000 square feet of warehouse space and 28,000 square feet of office space. Plans for additional expansion thereafter would result in more than 300,000 square feet of production infrastructure at the studio, representing a capital investment of more than $35 million.
Louisiana pioneered modern-era film production tax incentives beginning in 2002 and remains one of the leading destinations for motion picture production in the world. The industry generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually in project-based spending across the state, from feature films to episodic TV productions.
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