Girl’s Gotta Eat’s Gennarino And Gaspersz Ready For Their Close-Up
It’s a mockumentary comedy about conscientious crafters attending a big convention in Louisiana.
“Craftique” will be shot at the Pontchartrain Center, showcase local businesses, shine the spotlight on Louisiana actors and employ area caterers, crews and consultants.
Local actress Sabrina Gennarino penned the script, her husband, Pieter Gaspersz, will direct, and it will be produced by their local production company Girl’s Gotta Eat.
“We want to become part of the filmmakers generating projects from within Louisiana,” Gaspersz said. “It’s incredible that we can do almost everything from here, and, actually, may not have the option to do it from anywhere else. All our resources and crew are based here. We’ll be shooting in July and have everything wrapped and ready to go by Thanksgiving.”
“I love New York and I love Los Angeles, but New Orleans is home,” Gennarino said. “What we’re most excited about is that we can find everything here and try to exclusively use Louisiana talent. That’s becoming more and more possible every day.”
Gennarino and Gaspersz are just 2 of the many creative film industry visionaries who have permanently located to New Orleans to take advantage of the lucrative Louisiana tax credits, the fast growing talent base, the unique Crescent City culture and prospering economic climate.
But, it’s a cinematic dissolve that may soon fade to black, thanks to a $1.6 billion dollar budget gap state legislators may try to fill, in part, by cutting the tax breaks that have helped award Louisiana the movie moniker Hollywood South.
According to the Associated Press, in response to the advancing threat The Motion Picture Association of America and the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association released a report Monday raving about the effective program. They pointed the lens at tax credits and found they were responsible for ushering in $4 billion in economic impact, $1.2 billion in household income and more than 33,500 jobs in 2013.
It was this blockbuster behind-the-scenes activity that lured Gennarino and Gaspersz from Los Angeles to the South 3 years ago when the duo were working on framing a 2 picture, $30 million deal to produce 2 epic action thrillers. The venture capitalists from New York City and the producers from Los Angeles eventually walked away from the project. Gennarino and Gaspersz remained in New Orleans.
“The tax credits were a fantastic draw,” Gaspersz said. “And just the idea of having our 6-year-old daughter Izzy say she got to grow up in New Orleans, and knowing we could wake up here every day and be a normal family, it closed the deal for us.”
“It’s such a sexy city,” Gennarino said. “People in our business who come here just love it. Because of the growth of the industry, they’re buying homes here. The more production managers, editors, and filmmakers come and grow here, the more it will enable a depth of field where all the key players needed to make a film can be found here. We’re all building a concrete foundation.”
“Craftique,” a contemporary “Best In Show” about those who DIY, will be shot with a $4 million budget. Gennarino and Gaspersz are now looking for investors.
They explained there are many ways to raise money for a film, and you don’t need to have the total budget up front before the cameras start to roll. A portion of the funding comes from equity, some of it comes from product placement and foreign sales and, in Louisiana, some of it comes from the state’s income tax credit for 30% of all production costs. They can also take advantage of a 5% income tax credit for payroll costs when they hire local residents to work on their film.
“We’re a Mom and Pop shop, and the big dream is to keep it all in the Louisiana family,” Gaspersz said. “With the tax credits and money made from product placement, foreign sales and local collaborations within the state, we can do well for our investors, have that money go right back into the industry and establish a long relationship here where our next film could have a $15 million budget, and the next $300 million.”
“The tax credits need to stick around so we can keep this going,” Gennarino said. “It helps all of us generate new home-grown projects and nurture collaborative relationships with a talented group of people here.”
“We’re an odd new breed,” she said. “We do everything ourselves. I’m an actor who writes and produces films, Pieter is a director who writes and produces films.”
Gennarino and Gaspersz are still celebrating the success of their most recent nationwide release, “AFTER.” An homage to their experiences surviving 9/11 when living in downtown Manhattan, “AFTER,” which was shot in Rochester, NY, and co-starred Academy Award-nominee Kathleen Quinlan, tells the story of a middle class family struggling with the financial consequences of a failing family business, a series of intergenerational conflicts and rivalries and an intricately buried secret that, if revealed, could alter their lives irrevocably.
Gennarino wrote and starred in “AFTER,” Gaspersz directed it, and they both produced the internationally distributed film.
“Craftique,” is the antithesis of the serious subject matter of “AFTER.” It sets the scene for dutiful die-hard crafters who like to crochet, paint, work with paper and wood, sew and make jewelry and plaster – a $30 billion industry.
It’s also a subject matter where Gennarino has personal expertise. She’s hand crafted her own line of natural, organic, vegan, cruelty free, gluten free and paraben free skin care products called Crap Free Skin Care.
“It works, and it doesn’t have any crap in it,” Gennarino said.
The streamlined $4 million budget for “Craftique,” won’t have any crap in it either, the theatrical team said.
“We’re looking to set an example,” Gaspersz said. “We’re part of a group who live here, want to create and produce here, start out on a good foot, be supportive of the industry, and hold our heads up high. We want to stay here forever. There’s something in the wind here. An eclectic, eccentric energy.”
Gaspersz said he and Gennarino have a large slate of 14 films and TV shows lined up to work on in Louisiana in the near future.
Gaspersz said he appreciates the balance found by movie people in New Orleans, where you’re just a 3 to 4 hour plane trip away from Los Angeles and a 2 to 3 hour plane trip away from New York City. He said he never feels disconnected from the business in this family focused town.
While the movie-making infrastructure has exploded, Gaspersz believes not even special effects could save the industry if the state gets rid of its premier tax credits.
“A lot of people who relocated are supported by the film industry,” he said. “Millions of dollars have been invested here because of the industry. I never expected to be living in Louisiana and New Orleans, but I’m so happy here.”
“This is our home,” Gennarino, a fellow critic of the budget cuts, said. “But we have to go where there’s work. I don’t want to go anywhere, but if I can’t work here I can’t feed my family. If I don’t have an industry, I’ll have to go where the work is.”
For “Craftique” investing opportunities contact:
Suzette Toledano – Executive Producer and Entertainment Attorney