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Panelist Bio


Mark Smith
Legislative / Congressional Liaison

Mark Smith brings over 10 years of public sector expertise to the Department of Economic Development. Mark previously held the positions of General Counsel, Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary of the former Office of Film and Video for the department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. In addition to his extensive work within the Department of Economic Development, Mark has also served as General Counsel for Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu.

As Director of the state film office and later as the Entertainment Industry Director, Mark's vision was to treat the emerging entertainment industry as just that -a business with tremendous growth potential. In practice, Mark considers himself more like an entrepreneur than a public employee.

Since 1997, Mark has changed the direction of the film office in order to pay greater attention to the *business* side of the film industry. Mark based this strategic change on the following:



Louisiana has experienced an unprecedented increase in production activity since the inception of the Motion Picture Incentive Act of 2002. Some of the films that have been enticed by the incentive program include: Ray (formerly titled Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story), Disney's Mr. 3000 starring Bernie Mac, Fox's Because of Winn Dixie, Skeleton Key featuring Kate Hudson, A Love Song for Bobby Long with John Travolta, and Disney's Glory Road.

Not only has there been an increase in feature productions, but several movies of the week have chosen Louisiana because of its incentive program. These tele-films include Infidelity (Lifetime), Stuck in the Suburbs and Pop Rocks (Disney TV), and a Growing Pains Reunion, as well as two television pilots, Nikki & Nora (UPN) and Dean Koontzs Frankenstein (USA Networks). Other television projects filming in Louisiana in 2004 include Brooke Ellison, Dead Will Tell and Miracle Run and Thief.

The following activities have occurred or are in the process of occurring during Mark's tenure in Louisiana Economic Development :


As Entertainment Director, Mark spearheaded the drive to incentivize other areas of the entertainment industry, specifically sound recording and digital media. Through his tireless efforts, there are now programs in effect in Louisiana to further enhance the state's position in the entertainment industry.

Current Topic


04/16 - Opiates & the Bayou State

How is Louisiana tackling this serious addiction epidemic?

Special Presentation


12/15 - Election 2015: An Analysis

What strategies did each of the major candidates use during the Governor's race?

Special Presentation


Breaking Away:  A Louisiana Public Square Special Presentation

Would the breakaway City of St. George quash Baton Rouge’s school desegregation progress?

Coming Soon!


05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges face our returning veterans?

Recent Topics


03/16 - Justice on Hold: Louisiana’s Public Defender Shortage

How serious of a problem is the shortage of public defenders in Louisiana?


02/16 - Effects of Expansion: Medicaid in Louisiana

How will the lives of those who now have access to health care change?


01/16 - Police POV: Body Cameras in Louisiana

What happens when police and the people they arrest have different versions of their encounters?


11/15 - Living Below the Line

What is living in poverty like?

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