A year has passed since the first Iberia Film Festival inspired former Nashville resident and entertainment industry professional Vicky Branton to start conversations with area leaders about attracting film production into the Teche Area. Only a year later — plus the years before that when other projects gave community leaders a glimpse of what it takes to build a new industry — and the evidence is on the streets of downtown.

Meetings with Iberia Parish President Larry Richard led to meetings with tourism director Fran Thibodeaux, Louisiana Entertainment Executive Chris Stelly, Mayor Freddie DeCourt and Jane Braud for city concerns. Mike Tarantino hosted Create Lafayette representative and community leaders in preparation for a luncheon in January featuring Stelly as key note speaker. He talked about tax incentives and how business and community leaders could consider options to bring forth fruit from a common interest.

No one knew where the first project would come from — or what kind of film it would be. Monday the crew for Action Entertainment starts shooting for three weeks. The conservative budget, small town life Christmas movie for Lifetime was written and is directed by Emily Moss Wilson from Lake Charles. A Prairieville native living in Madisonville is executive director Daniel Lewis. He sets the bar high to capture life as it is, so movie fans around the world will be enticed to visit the south Louisiana town of New Iberia — much like the global book fans of James Lee Burke.

A movie about love, multiple generations together, Christmas cheer and joy will be happening like it does throughout the year in Acadiana. Friends coming together on the streets of the Berry celebrate all year, with and without words, the reason for the season. No wonder merchants plan to keep their decorations up longer than needed for the movie.

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