La. Asks Filmmakers to Keep Working There

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Far from New Orleans, the Louisiana film industry and politicians appealed to agents and producers attending the Toronto International Film Festival (search) Monday to keep making movies in their state, in spite of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina.

"Yes, we are wounded; but we are healing and we need your help to continue doing that," said state Sen. Art Lentini, who represents Jefferson Parish, home to the Jefferson Movie Studio, which is creating a digital video production studio.

Michel Shane, executive producer of "Catch Me If You Can" and "I, Robot," pledged his support by announcing that his next film, "Paranoia" (search), a thriller set to begin production in Brazil would now be moved to Louisiana early next year.

"We want to show the film community down there that we're here to support them," he said.

Several business leaders insisted much of the state — and many parts of New Orleans, including the French Quarter — remain unscathed, contrary to media reports.

Filmmakers have been drawn toward the state, not only for its historical backdrops and bayou beauty, but also since the state adopted liberal tax incentives in 2002.

Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu (search) said in a video message that Louisiana would be home to at least seven major productions in the coming year.

"The Gulf Coast of Louisiana will recover and rebuild," he said. "New Orleans will rebuild, better than ever, and once again it will become the crown jewel of the south."