Prior to creation of the Louisiana film tax credits program, many projects shooting in and around the city aimed to capture some element of local culture on screen: accents and corruption in The Big Easy, voodoo in Angel Heart or Mardi Gras in Easy Rider. As the program drew more casts and crews to the state, Jeffrey Pipes Guice noticed the growth and decided to turn his collection of movie posters and stills into the basis for the Louisiana Film Museum, which officially opens this week inside the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in Riverwalk Marketplace.
"I got excited every time I heard about a new movie coming out," Guice says. "Then I thought, 'Now's the time.'"
Guice grew up in New Orleans and founded The Uptown Alligator newspaper in 1983. Around the same time, he started collecting movie posters. Eventually, he moved to the New York City metropolitan area, where he is a consultant and editor of a liquor industry trade publication, but he continued to collect film memorabilia. In May he got the inspiration to share it in a way that raised awareness of Louisiana's filmmaking industry. The result is the current 300-square-foot exhibit space, which contains movie posters, still shots and some details about the films. On the museum Web site (www.louisianafilmmuseum.org), there is an extensive filmography of motion pictures, documentaries and TV projects made in Louisiana in the last century, including everything from the first Tarzan of the Apes film to Sounder, Live and Let Die and Cat People.
"Louisiana has offered the world such great food, music, Mardi Gras, writers and storytellers," he says. "Now it's time to give moviemaking it's rightful position."
Guice already is working on the second phase of his project, which will include expanded exhibition space for more posters, stills, props, costumes and visiting exhibits from private collections. There will be a small theater space to host film-related panel discussions and events. Guice hopes to use the nonprofit museum to both document the state's contributions to filmmaking and to act as a classroom to help students gain exposure to careers on both sides of the camera, including everything from costumes to catering.
Louisiana Film Museum
Riverwalk Marketplace, 1 Poydras St., Suite 169, inside the Southern Food & Beverage Museum; www.louisianafilmmusuem.org
Admission included with SFAB ticket, $10 general admission, $5 students/seniors