Actor John Goodman sits for an interview with FOX 8's Sabrina Wilson about movie making in N.O.
Actor John Goodman is using his celebrity to help make this year's New Orleans Film Festival the biggest yet. October will mark the festival's 25th anniversary.
"I love being here, I love that we can support our arts and support our cinema," Goodman said.
Goodman calls himself a transplant. Many in the city call him a New Orleanian to the bone. Goodman has a home in New Orleans.
When asked if he was surprised that Hollywood movie makers have fallen in love with the city, Goodman replied, "No, because I started filming here in '85, I think. Seven years later I did a movie here, but everybody that worked with me just fell in love with the place. For some reason, I figured it would catch on more because of the climate at certain times of the year is great for filming, and the people are so friendly."
His own love affair with the city began in 1972 during a visit.
"It wasn't just the Mardi Gras, and it was more than the Boone's Farm fumes coming off the street, it was just something in the air," he said.
A decade after that visit, Goodman was back in the city starring in "The Big Easy."
"I wish I could shoot here all the time," he said. "I would love just falling out of bed and being in my first scene. I love shooting here. I shot a film, I think it was '92, '92 about Huey Long, and we did everything in New Orleans, except for two days in Baton Rouge."
The movie industry's recognition of films shot in New Orleans has soared since then. The blockbuster, "12 Years A Slave," was filmed in New Orleans and won this year's Academy Award for Best Picture, and big films keep coming.
"The new terminator movie, T-5, is what we're all referring to it as, we've got Jurassic Park which is starting up fairly soon, and then also Fantastic Four in Baton Rouge and Kelton Studios just got started," said Bill McCord of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 478.
Andre' Champagne, owner of Louisiana-based Hollywood Trucks echoed that.
"The fleet itself is involved in pretty much every single project that's going on in the state," Champagne said.
In fact, things are going so well here that some in the industry said at times it's hard to keep up with the demand.
"Our growth is so substantial, at times that one of my hardest jobs is just finding as many people as I can to hire," Champagne said.
Goodman said Louisiana continues to outpace its competitors in terms of movie-making.
"As far as I know, people love coming down here, love shooting [films] down here, sometimes they get second homes here," he said.
He said the culture and welcoming spirit in New Orleans is definitely hard to beat.
"The citizens have always been more than willing, they're artists themselves if you listen to them talk," he said.
The dates for the film festival are Oct. 16-23.
To coincide with this year's film festival, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the New Orleans Film Society will receive a $20,000 grant to be used to support new programming that celebrates the work of African-American filmmakers and supports the development of black filmmakers working in Louisiana.