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Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEWORLEANS-- It's a head-turning reminder of the film industry's presence in New Orleans.

Along Rampart Street, crews are transforming much of an entire city block into a set for the next film in the Planet of the Apes series one of several projects underway across town.

'There are multiple productions on the ground currently -- five total -- anywhere from commercial productions to series for HBO and the Animal Planet, as well as a couple feature films,' said Katie Williams, director of Film New Orleans.

Williams said it's another boost in what's shaping up to be another big year for movie business.

'We've had 25 projects to date that are tax credit projects and over 89 non-tax credit projects,' she said. 'We've had over nine to ten productions contact me just this week looking to start shooting this summer.'

The busy schedule, Williams said, brings opportunities for New Orleans businesses and, especially, workers.

With all the manpower needed for these projects, there's a definite push to hire local. That includes a current effort to shake up the state's film tax credits, according to Will French, with the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association.

'One thing we want to do this year is to change that 30 percent tax credit for hiring non-locals to a 20 percent tax credit for hiring non-locals, so there will be a big disparity and a big incentive to hire locally, and that'll produce even more jobs, and that's what this is all about,' French said.

State film officials are pushing a bill that would enact those proposed tax credit changes. House Bill 695, authored by Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Jefferson, is set for consideration by the House Ways and Means Committee.

It's something officials hope will help New Orleanians land more jobs as the films keep rolling in.

'I think (New Orleans) just a really creative place,' Williams said. 'The above-the-line producers, directors, art creators love to be here. They're inspired by it.'

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