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Movies & TV in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana

Southeast Louisiana – and specifically New Orleans – has been dubbed “Hollywood South” because of all the movies and television shows filmed & recorded here.

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Salem is a new TV show that’s about to take you where no show has gone before. It tells the story of the Salem witch trials. WGNO News with a Twist features reporter Wild Bill Wood takes you to the set of Salem….in Shreveport. Salem premieres on WGN America this Sunday night at 10/9 central.

Louisiana has overtaken Hollywood in film production, and now a new twist…The New Orleans Film Society was recently awarded a grant to expand Black Cinema in Hollywood South.  Movies like “The Butler” and “12 Years a Slave” which were filmed here showcased Black filmmaking at it’s finest.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the New Orleans Film Society with a $20,000 grant geared towards new programming at the 25th annual New Orleans Film Festival.  Grant funds will support a slate of programming that both celebrates the work of Black filmmakers and supports the development of Black filmmakers working locally in Louisiana.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Academy”, New Orleans Film Society Executive Director, Jolene Pinder said.

In addition to expanding the Festival’s curatorial efforts, the grant intends to establish a mentorship program that would pair local  African-American filmmakers with industry professionals, serving as their mentors.

“We want to give them a chance to connect with the Black industry and mentor them,”  she said.

This years marks the New Orleans Film Society’s 25th anniversary.

For more information on The New Orleans Film Society:

Hollywood South showed off it’s major muscles with two films shot in Louisiana:  “12 Years a Slave” and “Dallas Buyer’s Club”.

“12 Years a Slave, which was primarily shot in Vacherie, took home 3 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for newcomer, Lupita Nyong’o.

News with a Twist interviewed Nyong’o back in October at the Civic Theater fore the red-carpet premiere of “12 Years a Slave”.

“I knew we were embarking on something monumental, meaningful, and powerful.  The role chose me, more than I chose the role.  I just graduated from school and was looking for work,” the Oscar-winning actress, said.

Filming in Hollywood South was a dream come true for Nyong’o.

“I love New Orleans.  I love the music, the food, and the people,”  she said.

The Oscar for Best Supporting Actor went to Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyer’s Club”.  Not only did they film “Dallas Buyer’s club in New Orleans, but Leto’s a Louisiana native hailing from Bossier City.  In his acceptance speech he gave a shout-out to his hometown and his single mother.

“Dallas Buyer’s Club” was well-represented at the Academy Awards with Matthew McConaughey bringing home the gold for Best Actor.  Local make-up artist, Robin Mathews won the Oscar for Best Make-up/Hairstyling.

Mathews graduated from Mt. Carmel Academy in 1990.

In her acceptance speech, she said, “I want to thank Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey for letting us do a million, billion make-up and hair changes a day.”

And we can’t forget Oscar host, Ellen DeGeneres, she’s a New Orleans native.

“12 Years a Slave” is up for a whopping nine Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, Best Director for Steve McQueen, and Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o

The Oscar-nominated flick was filmed in various locations in Hollywood South in 2012 including Lake Pontchartrain and Destrehan Plantation.  The majority of the film was shot at Felicite Plantation, which is the sister plantation to St. Joseph Plantation in Vacherie.

“You can feel the energy here, from the trees, plants, and spirits still here.  The plantation would give us the most of what we needed for the main character.  Such a marvelous place,”  Gerard Sellers, Location Manager for “12 Years a Slave”, said.

“12 Years a Slave” is set on a Louisiana plantation in the 1800′s.  It’s based on Solomon Northup’s biography about his horrifying experiences as a once free man, sold into slavery.

Detail was important for Sellers and his crew.  John Collins helped run day to day operations and worked closely with Brad Pitt.

“The one driving engine in making this a success is Brad Pitt and I don’t think people should forget that,”  Collins said.

A key scene between Pitt and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character, Solomon took place in a gazebo, which was built exclusively for the movie.

“This is the part of the movie where hope came in and when Solomon found his one ally.  This is where he got his freedom,”  Collins said.

Felicite Plantation was definitely more than a backdrop.  It’s a 3-mile stretch of land, which became a silent character of it’s own.

“That spirit has carried over to the success of the movie,” Sellers said.

The mansion on property was built in 1847.

Tune into the 86th annual Academy Awards on WGNO this Sunday.

The nominations for the 71st annual Golden Globes are out and a film shot in and around the New Orleans area dominates the list.

12 Years a Slave” is about a free black man taken into slavery in 19th century America.

The film is nominated for best drama, best director, best actor in a drama, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, and best screenplay.

The Golden Globes air Sunday, January 12 on NBC.

CaptureHere’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day: it’s a casting call for the next Star Wars movie! You can even audition online!

The producers of Star Wars: Episode VII are looking for two people: a beautiful young woman and a handsome young man.

To get instructions and submit your video to the casting director, go to

Be sure to let us know if you get chosen!

Will Smith is in town shooting a movie called Focus.  If you would like to be an extra in the film, here’s your chance.

The crew will be shooting a scene in the French Quarter on Monday.

But you can’t just show up!  You have to register in advance and get a set pass that will allow you to get into the action.

Also, you have to be at least 18-years-old.  Filming will take place rain or shine.

You can get your set pass by logging on to

They are kind of like Louisiana’s own royal family.   Former Governor Edwin Edwards and his wife Trina have a new A&E reality show, “The Governor’s Wife”.

The show follows legendary 86-year old Former Governor and his 35 year old wife, her sons and new step-daughters.   The show premieres on A&E Sunday night at 9 p.m.

News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez spent the day with the famous family at their Gonzales home and got all the dirt!

will smithWill Smith’s next feature film, “Focus” starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, will include two scenes that will require a large number of “extras.”

There are two opportunities to be in the film:

The first scene will shoot on Tuesday, October 29 in the Superdome. The second will be on Monday, November 4 on Bourbon Street.

The producers have assured us that there is not cost to participate: “Everything’s  FREE!  Free  parking,  free  food,  PLUS  we’ll  be  giving  away  awesome  prizes  on  set!”

To participate in either shoot, you must sign up at Only a few hundred people will be chosen to participate.