BATON ROUGE, La. — Class Rank, an independent film produced by Louisiana native Shaun Sanghani and shot in Central Louisiana, will premiere this week in U.S. theaters. Distributed by Cinedigm Corp., the movie will open Friday in select major markets across the country, as well as in Sanghani’s hometown of Alexandria, Louisiana, where much of the principal photography took place.
“Louisiana is home to many talented individuals across the entertainment spectrum, and there is no better place than here for creative endeavors like making feature films,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “Our entertainment program is encouraging production companies to put down roots and create jobs in Louisiana. Producer Shaun Sanghani’s film is another good example of putting Louisiana’s abundant creative talent to work.”
Class Rank is the story of two high school outsiders who join forces to take on their local school board and its system of class rankings. The film stars Olivia Holt, who also will star in the television series Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, which filmed in Louisiana in 2017 and will launch on the Freeform network next month, and Skyler Gisondo (Santa Clarita Diet). Co-stars are Academy Award-nominee Bruce Dern (Nebraska, Chappaquiddick) and Kristin Chenoweth (Glee, Pushing Daisies). It was directed by Eric Stoltz (Madame Secretary, Pulp Fiction).
The movie was filmed in 2015 with estimated Louisiana spending of $528,000, including $142,000 in Louisiana resident payroll. It provided jobs for about 100 Louisiana residents and used about 500 extras, most of them students at a high school in Alexandria where several scenes were shot.
Sanghani credited Louisiana’s Motion Picture Production Tax Credit for creating the opportunity to make Class Rank, and for encouraging production companies and creative individuals in the entertainment industry to stay in Louisiana.
“Most of my investors were Louisiana folks, just local people who believed in me – doctors, lawyers, just people who I’ve known for a while, who had seen my other work,” said Sanghani, who was named by Variety this week as one of the “10 Producers to Watch in 2018.” “When I make a movie here, it’s a multiplying effect for me because I live here. When I make money, I spend more money, I pay more taxes and I make more movies. The same goes for the people that I hire that live here. I’m glad that Louisiana is building something here that is sustainable.”
Fourteen projects are in production in Louisiana at this time, including seven feature films, six scripted television series and a reality TV series. Collectively, these productions are expected to spend more than $249 million in Louisiana, including more than $126 million in Louisiana resident payroll.
Feature films under way in the state include Open World (also known as Captain Marvel), You Might Be the Killer, The Secret, Foe Paw (also known as Happy Death Day 2), Five Feet Apart, Darkest Day and Fonzo. Scripted television series in production include NCIS: New Orleans (Season 4) for CBS, Queen Sugar (Season 3) for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Claws (Season 2) for TNT; ZeroZeroZero for Amazon; Deadlier Than the Male for TNT and The Purge for USA Network and Syfy. The reality TV series being filmed in the state now is Pit Bulls and Parolees for Animal Planet.
Among the high-profile motion pictures that completed filming in Louisiana in recent weeks were Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks, and The Highwaymen, starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson.
About Louisiana Entertainment
Louisiana is one of the top destinations in the world for motion picture production; digital interactive and software development projects; live performance; and sound recording. With state-of-the-art facilities, a wealth of talent, production-friendly communities and a competitive incentive program, Louisiana is the perfect location for the entertainment industries. For more information on Louisiana film, digital interactive, live performance and sound recording programs, visit Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development, at LouisianaEntertainment.gov.