Work underway to create bigger film industry in SWLA - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Work underway to create bigger film industry in SWLA

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Lake Charles -

Lights, camera, action: Three words often heard in Shreveport, New Orleans and Baton Rouge. But why not Southwest Louisiana?

"Lake Charles has wonderful scenery. We have the university, the lake, a beautiful downtown area. We also have all the talent they could ask for," said Luvertha August, Lake Charles City Council member.

Ed Fruge, co-owner of Lake Charles Music, is also a partner of a company called L.A. to LA (Los Angeles to Louisiana).

Fruge explained the main reason the area does not get a lot of the projects the other areas of the state are getting. The area, he said, does not have a sound stage.

"Of course, our main goal is to build a sound stage. Just like the hangars really at Chennault - something to that effect. It has to have high ceilings so you can hang all the lights and stuff from and large areas to build rooms within rooms to create all of these types of environments to shoot television and film," Fruge said.

Fruge said they also hope to eventually partner with McNeese State University and SOWELA Technical Community College to create the curriculum to support the industry.

"We are trying to not only build the infrastructure technically, the buildings and the real estate, but we are also trying to create the intellectual property so you can have the workforce and people staying here after they graduate," Fruge said. 

Unlike other film companies who take advantage of Louisiana's tax credits and move on, Fruge said they plan to make a permanent investment in Southwest Louisiana.

"One of the things we are doing to prove that we are for real is we have already shot our first feature film - a romantic comedy called - 'How to Love a Geek.' We shot it entirely in Lake Charles and we shot it entirely with people, actors/actresses, from this area," Fruge said.

With an estimated cost of $3 million to $5 million dollars, they believe it will take about five to seven years to become reality and said they already have a lot of interest.

"We know for a fact right now that there are several independent film companies that would come here immediately because they know they can do their films on a budget and still get very high quality out of it. And so they are waiting on us to do some of this," Fruge said.

L.A. to LA has also partnered with Harkins Theaters to release and premiere all of their films. They also have recently acquired DVOX - a company that will distribute their films in kiasks similar to Redbox around the country.

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