By Tara Bennett
The votes are in and Elizabeth Hutchison, currently the programs manager for NOVAC:BR, has been named Interim Executive Director for the BR Film Commission as Liza Kelso is stepping down from the position. The Metro Council voted Hutchison in on Wednesday, May 13, and she has officially started her new job this week. Hutchison has been in the Los Angeles film industry for well over a decade, working on some of TV’s biggest shows including Survivor and The Amazing Race. In 2009, she returned to her hometown, and now oversees the Baton Rouge branch of the New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC:BR) as the coordinator for their crew training programs to provide hands-on knowledge for locals who wish to begin a career in film. Hutchison took a moment out of her new schedule to sit down with DIG Magazine and talked about her history in the film industry, how she feels being promoted, and her outlook for what’s coming up next.
DIG: How do you feel to be named interim director?
Elizabeth Hutchison: It’s a wonderful opportunity to step in to this position and I’m very honored to have been chosen to do so.
DIG: What is your film background? What made you pursue it as your career?
EH: I’ve always loved movies ever since I was a kid and I grew up dreaming I was going to be in front of the camera. The film industry didn’t exist here in Baton Rouge when I graduated from LSU, so I moved to Los Angeles. When I hopped off the bus I thought I would be Julia Roberts in a few weeks. Boy, was that a rude awakening. I would have been lucky to bring Julia a cup of coffee in those days. But then, thankfully, I discovered production and all the amazing creativity one could find behind the camera. I gained a lot of experience during that time working on everything from big budget films to reality shows, to major commercials. All of that served me well when [I decided] to move back to Louisiana and continue my career in my hometown.
DIG: What film achievements do you have under your belt? How have the prepared you for the new position?
EH: I worked 15 plus years in the production industry in many different roles, so I speak the language, which I feel benefits me not only from the standpoint of selling the city to prospective filmmakers, but also in helping to fulfill the many logistical needs that go with the process.
DIG: Would you describe your current position at NOVAC:BR and its duties?
EH: I am manager of the Baton Rouge program for NOVAC. My job is to be a resource for the filmmaking community by overseeing our work force training programs and to assist our members in helping them find opportunities to work in the local industry.
DIG: What were some of your successes at NOVAC:BR?
EH: I feel like a proud parent whenever one of our members finishes a training course and gets hired on to a show. To see someone have the chance to begin their dream of working on a film, or having a second show at a career and to know that NOVAC:BR helped them get there feel pretty special. By far, the best part of my job has been watching that happen many times over the last year and a half.
DIG: What do you hope to achieve with the new position?
EH: As interim executive director of the Baton Rouge Film Commission, I hope to continue to help the production industry thrive here by supporting the filmmakers, the hardworking crews, and the community.
DIG: Will you still work at NOVAC:BR as well as the BR Film Commission?
EH: Yes, I will manage both roles and feel blessed to be a part of two organizations that I’m very passionate about.
DIG: Do you feel that it’s an important time to be heavily involved in Hollywood South?
EH: Being a part of the Louisiana production community is really special. Making movies and TV here is unique in every way. It’s hard to put it into words. All I can say is, stick around, it just keeps getting better.