[StBernard] Ryan Fink of Chalmette brings the movie business to St. Bernard

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Fri Aug 22 09:45:43 EDT 2014

Ryan Fink of Chalmette brings the movie business to St. Bernard
Print Annette Phillips By Annette Phillips 
on August 21, 2014 at 9:23 AM, updated August 21, 2014 at 9:25 AM

The film and television industry is booming in Southeast Louisiana, and
especially in St. Bernard Parish. St. Bernard Parish's Office of Film and
Television has moved way beyond documenting local and special events, and
community meeting.  It has, with the help of Ryan Fink of Chalmette, become
a vehicle for bringing the lucrative movie business to this community.  

"It is amazing seeing all I had dreamed about for the parish come to
fruition," said  Fink, director of St. Bernard Parish's Film and Television
Commission. "We are seeing things happening now that we had never seen
before in this parish."  

Fink said St. Bernard became an attractive location back in 2006 because of
the devastated properties and empty lots. It has since grown, and scouts
continue to look at the parish as an ideal place to film.  "It is also
inexpensive to film down here," Fink said.  "And as many have discovered,
they like working with us."      

Fink wears many hats in the office, one of which is acting as a liaison. "I
basically developed my position, as it is right now, to be able to promote
St. Bernard as a film location and to work as a liaison between parish
officials, residents, and film crews," he said.  "I kind of made it up as I
went along, but I love it."  

The St. Bernard Office of Film and Television is a government entity that is
Comprised of  only two people, Fink and Chris Manson. They have to tackle
many duties such as producing local shows, documenting public meetings,
managing the government access channel, and producing content about events,
history, culture, and tourism of the parish.  

It has expanded to include the booming film industry in this region. The
number of films being shot in the parish is increasing every year. "There
are 12 productions so far this year, and 5 filming in St. Bernard Parish in
one week," Fink said.   "The crews are using local business, restaurants,
and tradesmen.  It has been really good for our economy."

"The Whole Truth" starring Reese Witherspoon will feature St. Bernard Parish
as a location in the movie. "They changed the script when they filmed at the
historic courthouse.  They actually built a jail in the basement which is a
great promotion tool for future films," Fink said.  

Fink is excited about a few shows being filmed in New Orleans that are going
to film in a few locations in the parish such as "NCIS New Orleans" and
"American Horror Story." 

Fink is currently working on a documentary which will cover the booming film
industry in the southeast region including St. Bernard, Plaquemines,
Jefferson parishes, and New Orleans.  

To help educate and employ local residents, the Office of Film and
Television Commission recently received $150,000 in grant money to develop
and design a work program to begin training local residents to work in the
movie industry.

 "I am presently working with Nunez Community College, Delgado Community
College, and reaching out to UNO representatives to design a program to
train locals in the technical aspects of film, so they can work with these
incoming film crews," Fink said.  

The program would help train people in jobs as gaffers, audio engineering,
and light technicians.  Ideally, they would receive basic education and then
go 'in the field' for hands-on experience, Fink said.

"This has been a lot of work, but I don't care about the work or pay, I just
enjoy seeing things happen in this parish that were unheard of before
Katrina," Fink said.  
For more information on productions being filmed in the parish, or for
information on the Office of Film and Television call Fink at 504.65.1010.  

Annette Phillips writes about people, places, and events in Chalmette.  Send
Chalmette stories to Annette at chalmettematterstp at gmail.com.  

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