(The Advertiser)- Don’t be alarmed if you see Santa Claus and reindeer sweating in June throughout Lafayette.
Christmas decorations in the summer are signs of movie productions underway throughout the city.
Kate Durio, an assistant to Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, reports three production companies are currently shooting here. Durio declined to name the companies.
But TV Line and other web sites report that “The Christmas Contract,” a Lifetime holiday movie, is filming here. The movie reunites Hilarie Burton, Robert Buckley, Danneel Ackles and Antwon Tanner, actors from WB series, “One True Hill.”
Durio said their presence represents the most movie work in the city in at least two years.
Besides bringing local job opportunities, the productions mean cash registers are ringing through the area.
“It’s very attractive for a lot of locals,” said Durio. “They’re getting this training that makes them eligible for any production that’s coming to Lafayette.
“The companies are staying in our hotels, which is generating sales tax revenue. They are buying catering and eating in our local restaurants. They’re shopping locally and renting warehouse space and office space.
“This is such a great thing for Lafayette as far as building revenue.”
The productions are more offspring of the Motion Pictures Investor Tax Credit. The state-sponsored program offers companies a 40 percent tax credit on movies filmed in Louisiana.
That total includes a 25 percent base credit, a 10 percent increase for Louisiana screenplay productions and an extra 5 percent for films done outside the New Orleans metro area.
As a result, more than 400 movies, TV series and documentaries have been filmed in the state since 2002. Some titles include “Jurassic Park 4,” “Pitch Perfect,” “Queen Sugar” and “American Horror City.”
Some ongoing projects include “Greyhound,” a war drama starring Tom Hanks, in Baton Rouge. “Cut Throat City,” a crime drama with Eiza Gonzalez, Wesley Snipes and Terrence Howard, is being filmed in New Orleans.
Past projects in Lafayette include “Secretariat,” a 2010, sports drama about the legendary, Triple Crown-winning horse. Portions were filmed at Blackham Coliseum and the old Evangeline Downs racetrack in Carencro.
Durio said CREATE, Mayor Robideaux’s cultural economy initiative, serves to help the productions.
“We want to be a concierge, a one-stop shop that they can go to find office space to rent, warehouse space,” said Durio. “A lot of them do on-site job training and they’re looking for educational institutions to partner with.
“Some of them are looking for filming locations. We’re just really connecting a lot of dots for them. We want to get them what they need to be here.”
Volunteer extras are needed for an ongoing “Christmas Contract” shoot at Acadian Village. A sign-up sheet is available via this Google Form.
Durio said a page at createlafayette.la will soon list local movie opportunities.