Starlight Studios Plans Expansion in Louisiana Despite the Challenges of the Movie Industry
Starlight Studios is one of the largest television and movie soundstage operators in south Louisiana, and it's been thriving since it was built in 2017. Its two stages cover 45,000 square feet and 14,000 square feet of office space. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Starlight Studios has consistently operated at between 80% to 90% occupancy. Currently, Starlight is home to the only major production underway in the greater New Orleans area, a Sony production called "Untitled Marine Project." In a recent interview, Kevin Murphy, the CEO of Starlight Studios, revealed that they are planning on expanding despite the vagaries of the movie industry. Murphy has been in the movie-making business since the late 1990s and moved to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. He helped start Second Line Stages before moving to Starlight. Murphy said that Starlight Studios' critical mass needs to be more, so the company is developing and going through the process of what it would take to get a bigger campus. This is necessary to accommodate productions with big and small budgets, as they currently have limited rental space. Murphy added that there is a limited capacity for people coming into the industry in Louisiana because of tax credit caps and limitations. He noted that Louisiana is not the only state with movie tax credits, and other states such as New York and California are planning to increase their credit programs. In light of this, Louisiana's legislature should look at this as a permanent industry to attract more investors to the state.