Story by Amanda Wells
It’s common knowledge that the South’s movie industry has taken off in recent years and that growth is showing no signs of slowing down. Smart business people throughout the region have found creative ways to tap into that industry, but perhaps the most creative is Granville Semmes of New Orleans.
Thanks to Granville, a 10,000 square-foot warehouse in Slidell, Louisiana is now the crème de la crème of adult playgrounds, otherwise known as Movie Sets – A Reel Venue, where events that are out of this world (or out of the movie, actually) are being held. The warehouse had once been home to a car dealership and an antique market, among other things. When the film industry began to engulf the town of Slidell, the space was transformed into a prop house in the back, Sideshow Props, owned by a longtime member of the film industry, Lawrence Barattini.
“Our owner was always friendly to the industry in South Louisiana,” explains Kristy Oustalet, Movie Sets Venue’s marketing manager. “He was great about letting people film at his properties and this was a natural next step.” With a real, working prop house operating out of a portion of the space, Kristy says the event venue is constantly evolving. “There’s always something different in there each time I walk in.”
Many people hosting more unconventional events in the area have turned to the looking for something a little more avant-garde and extraordinary. “There’s a big trend in the events industry right now where people aren’t really interested in hosting an event in a big ballroom,” explains Kristy.
Movie Sets Venue opened for business in the fall of 2014 with floor to ceiling movie sets that are recognizable as Louisiana productions. “You’ll see a circus tent scene from American Horror Story, a ship from Twelve Years a Slave, a control panel that fills an entire room from Dawn of Planet of the Apes, and a very Cajun themed set up from NCIS New Orleans, as well as parts of Joe Dirt 2, Maze Runner and GI Joe Retaliation,” says Kristy.
It’s in the bottom of the slave ship for Twelve Years a Slave that event goers can grab a refreshing cocktail, as it’s been set up as a bar in the most creative of ways. Joining forces with Barattini has proven more than beneficial, as, according to Kristy, he is a genius when it comes to dressing a set. “He’s figured out how to really showcase the props and create great flow for events that look amazing as well,” she says.
Slidell’s Movie Set Venues has become a go-to place to host birthday parties, Mardi Gras balls, unconventional weddings and a hot spot for photo shoots. The spot has also been home to some small productions and production offices, creating a space that is welcoming for one of the state’s growing industries.
If you want something for your event that’s unconventional, festive and fun, or if you’ve ever wanted to be “in the movies,” now is your chance!
Learn more at moviesetsvenue.com!