Two films nab significant distribution deals at Sundance; Lost Bayou Ramblers take home Grammy
BATON ROUGE, La. — As the entertainment world focused on Academy Award nominations, the Sundance Film Festival and the Grammy Awards, several Louisiana-made projects shared that bright spotlight. Two Louisiana films earned a total of five Oscar nominations, while at Sundance, two motion pictures made in the state won major distribution deals and another won a top acting award. Sunday in New York, Louisiana’s Lost Bayou Ramblers earned a Grammy for their latest album, Kalenda. The album was recorded at three Louisiana studios.
“Louisiana and its people continue to demonstrate that there is no better place than here for creating entertainment content. We are happy to work with film and music productions and see the evidence of our success on a global stage,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “These production activities have far-reaching impacts throughout Louisiana. With recent enhancements to our entertainment program encouraging executives in those industries to invest more permanently in our state, we are confident that these collaborations will continue to grow in the future.”
Logan, starring Hugh Jackman as superhero Wolverine, was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of adapted screenplay (Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green). It was shot in numerous locations throughout Louisiana, including Amite, Hammond, Ferriday and several sites in New Orleans. Louisiana production expenditures totaled $59.8 million, including $12 million in Louisiana resident payroll.
In Park City, Utah, the Sundance Film Festival highlighted three Louisiana-made films.
Assassination Nation secured a distribution deal with production companies NEON and AGBO for more than $10 million for worldwide rights and a commitment for wide release. The internet-age thriller, written and directed by Sam Levinson, focuses on the sensation that erupts after personal information about four teen-age girls gets leaked by an anonymous hacker. The production was filmed in Louisiana in early 2017 and is under review at this time for final certification under Louisiana’s Motion Picture Production Tax Credit program. Its expenditures in Louisiana were estimated at more than $5 million, with $2 million in Louisiana resident payroll.
The Tale sold to HBO Films and will premiere on the cable network at an unspecified date. It filmed in Louisiana in late 2015; production costs in the state totaled $3 million, and the project generated about $1.1 million in Louisiana resident payroll. The film stars two-time Academy Award nominee Laura Dern as a documentary filmmaker who is a survivor of sexual abuse – a story based on the life of Jennifer Fox, the movie’s writer and director.
Blaze won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting. Co-written and directed by Ethan Hawke, Blazeis a reimagining of the life and times of Blaze Foley, the critically acclaimed but little-known songwriter of the Texas Outlaw Music movement. It filmed in several Louisiana locations in 2017, with estimated in-state production expenditures of $1 million, including $350,000 in Louisiana resident payroll.
At the 60th Grammy Awards on Sunday, the Lost Bayou Ramblers won the Grammy for Best Regional Roots Album. The band’s eighth album in its 20-year history, Kalenda features the Ramblers’ signature mix of Cajun music with other diverse musical influences. It was recorded in part at three Louisiana locations: New Orleans Airlift Music Box, The Parlor Recording Studio in New Orleans and Dockside Studio in Maurice.
Collectively, these projects have been estimated to bring more than $77 million in production to Louisiana, including more than $18 million in Louisiana resident payroll. For every dollar invested through entertainment tax credits, there is an economic impact of $4.68 across the Louisiana economy, according to a 2017 study by economist Dr. Loren Scott.
“Entertainment production is one of the key industries we target in Louisiana, and our state offers an impressive array of competitive advantages,” Pierson said. “From filmmaking to recorded music to live performance, we’ve got a specialized, skilled workforce in a unique, creative culture, ready and able to deliver.”