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BATON ROUGE, La. – A successful pairing of two organizations to provide workforce training for entertainment industry jobs in Louisiana has won its second Entertainment Development Fund award. The New Orleans Video Access Center, a community-based workforce development organization for the creative industries, and Local 478 of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, are the joint recipients of a $429,000 award.
The NOVAC-IATSE collaboration received the fund’s inaugural award of $220,372 in March 2021, and that initial training program helped NOVAC land a three-year workforce development grant from the Delta Regional Authority. The new funding will provide for expanded training for Louisiana residents seeking careers “below the line” in film and TV, meaning the day-to-day technical and production activity of making a movie or television series.
NOVAC will partner with IATSE and industry professionals to train at least 300 participants to work in various departments on Louisiana film sets. In addition to entry-level training, the program will develop rigorous, hands-on, practical training in specialized crafts to increase community access to higher wages and training in areas such as production design, set decoration and scenic painting.
“Once Hollywood’s labor issues get resolved, Louisiana will be more than ready to resume its position as one of the top production destinations in the world,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Motion picture production companies will require a reliable pipeline of workers trained in the industry’s best practices, and NOVAC and IATSE are well-positioned to ready that next wave of behind-the-camera workers. As the entertainment sector continues to evolve, we remain committed to supporting the industry’s creative ecosystem in Louisiana and meeting its workforce needs for years to come.”
The Entertainment Development Fund supports the state’s entertainment workforce through customized education and training opportunities. This is the 13th Entertainment Development Fund award announced by LED since the program was launched, and the fourth in 2023. Previous awards were made to higher education institutions and nonprofit community programs in Shreveport, Natchitoches, Lafayette, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
“Between 2021 and 2022, NOVAC helped 199 Louisiana residents secure entry-level jobs on various productions from major studios and networks,” NOVAC Workforce Director Stevee-Rayne Warren said. “With so much enthusiasm for local workforce development coming from both the on-the-ground and studio levels, NOVAC’s trainees are positioned for success like never before.”
“IATSE Local 478 and NOVAC have been enjoying a beneficial partnership for many years now, joining together for multiple workforce training opportunities,” IATSE training coordinator Adriane Bennett said. “Through hands-on training, people who would not have a natural pathway into the behind-the-scenes world of filmmaking will gain skills that they can directly apply to these jobs that are in demand. These funds help us to continue to grow our film industry workforce, with highly trained individuals, thus making the state of Louisiana more attractive to producers and enticing them to choose Louisiana over other states.”
The Entertainment Development Fund initiative earned top honors at the 2023 International Economic Development Council Awards ceremony in September, receiving a Gold Award for Innovative Programs and Initiatives, as well as a nomination for Best in Show, recognizing the best economic development program in all categories.
New Orleans Video Access Center empowers storytellers and communities by providing education, training and resources in film, TV and digital media. NOVAC is a 501(c)3 non-profit that has provided media training and production resources to New Orleans since 1972. NOVAC has continued its efforts to involve racially and economically diverse communities in film and television production and programming through workforce training, filmmaker education, content creation projects and digital media courses. For more information, visit novacvideo.org.
IATSE is the leading union for behind-the-scenes entertainment industry workers. Chartered in 1986, New Orleans-based IATSE Local 478 has grown from about 125 members and supporting one or two projects a year to now supporting over 1,500 members and averaging between 40 and 50 individual film and television projects annually. For more information, visit iatse478.org.
About Louisiana Entertainment
Louisiana is one of the top destinations in the world for motion picture production; digital interactive and software development projects; live performance; and sound recording. With state-of-the-art facilities, a wealth of talent, production-friendly communities and a competitive incentive program, Louisiana is the perfect location for the entertainment industries. For more information on Louisiana film, digital interactive, live performance and sound recording programs, visit Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development, at LouisianaEntertainment.gov.