State, local incentives lure 15 movie productions to Lafayette area

Excitement is growing in Lafayette as filming is expected to begin this week on a movie starring Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman and Josh Hutcherson of “The Hunger Games.”

“57 Seconds” is a time-bending thriller based on the E.C. Tubbs story “Fallen Angel.” 

Hutcherson plays a tech blogger, Franklin Fausti, who lands a major interview with technology visionary Anton Burrell, played by Freeman. After stopping an attack on Freeman’s character, the blogger finds a mysterious ring that Burrell dropped which allows the possessor to travel 57 seconds into the past.

Curmudgeon Films and actor, producer and director Griff Furst are returning to Lafayette for the film. Furst, returning as a producer on this film, is no stranger to Lafayette, having previously owned a house here and having been involved in some 20 movies in the area.

Between 2019 and 2021, Furst was involved with four movies in Lafayette that spent in excess of $2 million in Louisiana, including more than $861,000 on payroll, according to Louisiana Economic Development.






This photo provided by Lionsgate shows Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark in the film, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.”(Murray Close/Lionsgate via AP)


The state agency certified Furst’s companies for more than $830,000 in Motion Picture Production Incentive tax credits through a program to incentivize the production of films in Louisiana.

The tax credits are based on such things as how many Louisiana residents are hired to work on the film and in production.

The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority is providing financial assistance for “57 Seconds.” It’s the fifth Furst film that the trust has aided.

The LPTFA fronted some of the money to get the production started, with the LPTFA recouping the funds plus 10% through state film tax credits that Furst was certified to receive.

If the state tax credits end up being less than the LPTFA loan, the production company must pay the balance of what it borrowed to the LPTFA.







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Lifetime movie “Sinfidelity” cast and crew were filming in downtown Lafayette in February 2020.




For “57 Seconds,” the LPTFA in February and March approved a motion picture production tax credit advance of $1.9 million to Curmudgeon Films. It’s the largest advance by the LPTFA out of the five films it has funded.

Other tax credit advances totaling $650,000 from the LPTFA to Furst companies included:

  • $125,000 in 2020 to Sinfidelity company for “Sinfidelity.”
  • $125,000 in 2020 to Sinfidelity for “Black Market Baby.”
  • $265,000 in 2018 to YMBTK for “You Might Be the Killer.”
  • $135,000 in 2018 to Dream Witch for “Nightmare Shark.”

It’s a good investment for the trust and the city, LPTFA Executive Director Kevin Blanchard said.







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Tamar Halpern, director of the Lifetime movie Sinfidelity, watches the monitor during filming Tuesday, February 18, 2020, in downtown Lafayette, La.




“We’ve got capital that we need to put to work,” he said. “We live and die off interest we earn. We have ability to front that tax credit and get paid pretty good in the end. It’s a smart business decision.”

A 10% return on the current $1.9 million advance will net the LPTFA a profit of $190,000.

To receive an LPTFA loan, the movie must be filmed in Lafayette, Blanchard said. The productions spend at local businesses and hire local actors, trades people and production workers.

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“We want to know locals are getting hired to do the work,” Blanchard said.







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The Lifetime movie “Hometown Christmas,” filmed in and around Lafayette, Louisiana, received a $562,943 state tax credit and spent $1.4 million in the state. In the movie, ‘Noelle Collins (Beverley Mitchell, left) has big plans to resurrect the town’s live nativity, a beloved tradition that her late mother used to put on.’ The film also stars Stephen Colletti, pictured, Melissa Gilbert and Donny Boaz.




Ron Thibodeaux, LED press secretary, noted, “As for the economic impact, for every $1 of tax credits certified, $6.12 in impact is felt through the Louisiana economy.”

Some 15 movies filmed in and around Lafayette in the past 10 years took advantage of the state’s Motion Picture Production Incentive tax credit program, according to LED. They received more than $9 million in state tax credits and spent more than $14 million in the state, including $3.6 million in payroll.

They included:

2013

  • “Papa Noel,” $373,206 tax credit, $1.3 million Louisiana expenditures.
  • “Arachnoquake,” $585,520 tax credit, $1.9 million Louisiana expenditures.

2014

  • “A Sort of Homecoming,” $298,480 tax credit, $965,140 Louisiana expenditures.

2015

  • “Cold Moon,” $310,323 tax credit, $1 million Louisiana expenditures.

2016

  • “Dirt Road to Lafayette,” $295,559 tax credit, $951,823 Louisiana expenditures.

2019

  • “Santa Jaws,” $262,752 tax credit, $663,447 Louisiana expenditures.
  • “Nightmare Shark,” $164,607 tax credit, $427,886 Louisiana expenditures.
  • “The Christmas Contract,” $452,977 tax credit, $1.39 million Louisiana expenditures.
  • “Hometown Christmas,” $562,943 tax credit, $1.4 million Louisiana expenditures.
  • “You Might Be the Killer,” $420,060 tax credit, $1 million Louisiana expenditures.

2021

  • “A Christmas Wish,” $788,165 tax credit, $1.9 million Louisiana expenditures.
  • “Christmas on the River,” $807,219 tax credit, $2 million Louisiana expenditures.
  • “Black Market Baby,” $130,425 tax credit, $362,538 Louisiana expenditures.
  • “Sinfidelity,” $117,299 tax credit, $327,986 Louisiana expenditures.

2022

  • “First Christmas,” $268,430 tax credit, $870,119 Louisiana expenditures.

Source: Louisiana Economic Development

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State, local incentives lure 15 movie productions to Lafayette area

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