A lifelong Louisiana resident and native, Chris joined Louisiana Economic Development’s entertainment office in 2004. Louisiana quickly became one of the top location destinations 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 progressive and innovative tax credit 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 opportunities. He also is committed to working closely with industry allies and economic development partners throughout the state to attract and nurture entertainment businesses.
“I am very proud of the work our office has done. We have poured the foundation for these industries to become major economic forces in Louisiana. Over the past few years, Louisiana has seen increased growth in all of these sectors and now boasts an industry which impacts the economy at over $1 billion a year. The excitement of the ever-evolving nature of this business drives me to work even harder to ensure the success and longevity of the entertainment industry in Louisiana,” says Chris, adding, “To compete in today’s ever-changing world, you have to be innovative and on the cutting edge. Through my work here in the entertainment sector, I feel like I’m doing my small part to ensure that Louisiana becomes a major leader in the industry, not only within the United States, but around the world. Louisiana is poised to become an entertainment industry engine for years to come.”
Stelly’s tireless stewardship of Louisiana’s incentive 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 in St. Bernard Parish opened under his tenure. Louisiana now boasts 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 Lindsey, three children, Alexander, Isabella, Sophia, their dog, Chewbacca (also known as Chewy, a Scottish Terrier that was rescued from a local pound) and recently added Oreo and Jenny (guinea pigs).