BATON ROUGE, La. — A New Orleans-area nonprofit that trains students for careers in the film industry is the latest recipient of a grant from Louisiana’s new Entertainment Development Fund. The COOL Cooperative will receive $49,000 to develop a series of training programs for middle school and high school students.
Based in Belle Chasse, The COOL Cooperative has helped hundreds of students discover a passion for filmmaking, tell their stories and prepare for jobs in Louisiana’s film industry. Focusing on scholastic instruction and broad personal development, the organization provides workforce training specific to the film industry.
“Motion picture production generates millions of dollars in economic impact for Louisiana every year and supports nearly 10,000 jobs,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “The COOL Cooperative does impressive work with high school and middle school students, developing their understanding of the filmmaking process and preparing them to pursue careers in Louisiana’s film industry. This grant from the Entertainment Development Fund will assist in the education and training of our next generation of Louisiana filmmakers.”
The COOL Cooperative offers after-school and summer school programs as well as hands-on training in film production. It currently works with students at two New Orleans schools as well as high school students taking part in the Upward Bound program at the University of New Orleans. The organization’s name derives from its motto, “Creating Outstanding Opportunities Locally.”
“As a direct result of this grant, hundreds of students will receive the training necessary to become productive members of the film industry,” said Kirby Voss, The COOL Cooperative’s executive director. “Our students empower themselves to create the lives that they envision, and their successes enrich all of Louisiana.”
“Each year, it is a joy to watch as our young COOL creators grow in confidence and maturity as they become successful filmmakers,” said Felicia Stallard, the organization’s board chair. “This grant will allow them to continue showing the world their stories while also equipping them with the tools they need to make a living in the film industry.”
The Entertainment Development Fund is a key feature of the motion picture incentive program enhancements signed into law by Gov. Edwards in 2017. This is the third EDF grant announced since the fund was launched earlier this year.
Previous awards went to the Shreveport-based Prize Foundation and to a partnership of the New Orleans Video Access Center and Local 478 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. The Prize Foundation is providing training and mentorship opportunities with industry professionals through its Louisiana Film Prize and Film Prize Junior programs. NOVAC and IATSE have teamed up to offer workforce training for entertainment industry jobs in Louisiana, specifically targeting residents who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and communities that have traditionally had less access to film-industry training and job placement opportunities.
About The COOL Cooperative
The COOL Cooperative is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides academic and educational support, community service opportunities, professional mentorship, whole person development and film industry workforce development to youths in the most disadvantaged areas of New Orleans. For more information, visit thecoolcooperative.org.
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.