Q&A Guest Panelist
Executive Group Director for Entertainment & Digital Media.
A lifelong Louisiana resident and native, Chris joined Louisiana Economic Development’s entertainment office in 2004. Louisiana quickly became one of the tip location desitinations under Stelly’s direction and the exponential growth lead the state to being a powerhouse in the film industry. By the time Stelly was appointed Director of Film and Television in 2007, Louisiana’s motion picture tax incentive program was showing signs of growth. He was instrumental in increasing the activity in the program exponentially and each successive year of his tenure,motion picture production continued to exceed the preceding year. In addition to administering, Louisiana’s motion picture tax incentive program, he has become an invaluable technical asset to entertainment companies seeking to produce and to establish new businesses in the state. He constantly promotes Louisiana as the best state in the nation for entertainment industry development. He was named interim Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development, in July 2011 and was appointed in February of 2012 to the position permanently. He currently leads a team of 7 business development and entertainment industry professionals promoting Louisiana as a holistic place to do business. Overseeing four unique statutory programs- motion picture, sound recording, live performance and digital interactive media & software development, Stelly is committed to educating community leaders and citizens about entertainment development partners throughout the state to attract and nurture entertainment businesses. Stelly’s tireless stewardship of Louisiana’sincentive programs and his business development efforts led to tremendous growth in motion picture infrastructure statewide. State-of-the-art facilities such as Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge; Stageworks & Millennium Studios in Shreveport; Second Line Stages , the NIMS Center, Starlight Studios & Deep South Studios in New Orleans; and The Ranch is St. Bernard Parish opened under his tenure. Louisiana now boast over half a million square feet of pre-production and production space in six sound stage facilities around the state, along with nearly every other ancillary service a production could require from high-end makeup and prop houses to business and payroll services to state -of-the-art special effects studios and more. Prior to joining the staff of Louisiana Entertainment, Stelly served for six years in the Office of then- Governor Mike Foster. He holds a joint bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Political Science from Louisiana State University and makes his home in Baton Rouge with his wife, three children and their dog and two guinea pigs.
Jason A. Waggenspack
The Ranch Film Studios | Head of Possibilities
A Baton Rouge native, Jason studied film in New York before graduating from the University of New Orleans. Professionally, he has worked his way up from the bottom,from location managing to producing feature films and helming The Ranch Film Studios. He started a development company called Neutral Ground Films in 2007 that has produced multiple shorts, music videos, documentaries and Iphone Apps. He has also bee a Producer of the feature films Maggie, The Lookalike and The True Don Quixote. In 2014 Jason founded The Ranch Film Studios in Chalmette, La. where his is titled the Head of Possibilities (CEO). He has played an integral part in linking some of the biggest films to hit Louisiana. A list that includes Terminator; Genisys, Focus, Dawn of the Planted of the Apes, Twilight Saga; Breaking Dawn and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to name a few. As Executive committee Board Members and Treasurer for the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association (LFEA), Jason played a crucial role in maintaining and stabilizing the film tax credit incentive program. Additionally he is a board member of The Cool Cooperative, a graduate of Leadership St. Bernard and won the George Wood Memorial Award from the University of New Orleans.
Executive Director for The Cool Cooperative
Kirby graduated Magna Cum Laude from Loyola University New Orleans, where he majored in English Literature ( concentration in film studies). He also studied at Providence University in Taiwan for a semester. During his time at Loyola, Kirby, directed two feature films. His first feature, “The Pain of the People”, was 0-budget dramatic thriller made with friends and a crew of 3. However, it played at the Idyllwild Film Festival, where one attendee said it “changed her life”. The film was about sexual assault, and that screening was the first time the woman had ever admitted to anyone that she had been raped as a teenager. Based on the impact of that film, Kirby was able to wrangle up some financing for his next feature, a romantic comedy entitled “Love Me True”. It featured Oscar-nominated actor Eric Roberts and music Oscar-winner Donnie Horowitz. The film won Best Cinematography at the New Orleans Film Festival, and was distributed by Indican Productions. The film also served as hi collegiate honors thesis. Kirby then lived in Los Angeles for the next three years, where he worked on a number of short films, music videos, and TV shows as a writer, director, and producer. He also attended the prestigious Global Cinematography Institute, where he studied under Newton Thomas Segal, Bradford Young, Yuri Neyman, Dan Mindel, and others (all ASC). Kirby then took the opportunity to teach at the Shanghai Campus of the Vancouver Film School, which is one of the top film universities in China. Although he guest taught both writing and directing, his primary area was cinematography. To that end, Kirby is also a graduate of the Arri certification program for all of their cameras. Kirby has been paid to direct documentaries for The Federalist Foundation as well, thought his primary interest remains featur-lenght narratives. Kirby’s last feature, “We All Think We’re Special”, is a drama about alcohol withdrawal and the first he did while not a student. The film is in the final stages of post-production, and its screenplay got him acceptance into the WGA. He is fluent in all major NLEs, although his preference is DaVinci Resolve, and he speaks decent Mandarin Chinese.