What is your Louisiana Film Prize film festival’s mission?
Our festival aims to empower filmmakers by providing that which they need most: motivation, feedback, engaged audiences, professional connections, and the world’s largest cash prize for a short film – $50,000 – to help them get on their feet.
What role does your film festival play in supporting your film community?
The heart of our film community is a mixture of studio projects, independent features, and the intrepid contestants of the Louisiana Film Prize. Every year, nearly 1500 minutes of film are shot and cut here by Film Prize contestants. That’s equal to over 16 feature films of runtime created by our contestants every year. By creating a huge prize incentive and rewarding creative minds willing to take a risk by participating in our contest, we are able to raise awareness about what it takes to make an independent film and what its like to be in a community such as Northwest Louisiana that welcomes creative entrepreneurs and their work with open arms – no matter where they call home.
What is something people look forward to every year at your film festival?
Each year, the community and the audiences from the surrounding region look forward to seeing some of the brightest sparks of creativity around the country who have made projects for our contest. Our audiences participate in the festival by helping select the grand prize winner alongside a national panel of expert judges.
Because we only accept twenty films of the 100+ submissions every year, and the fact that we require audience members to see all 20 short films before voting, the filmmakers get a chance to talk to people who have actually seen their film. The audience gets to give their feedback and talk with others who have seen the same films. This level of intimacy brings true connectivity between audience and artist that is rare at film festivals around the world today.
Last year, MTV.com said “We’re calling it now, the next big filmmaker is coming from this festival” which is something our audiences have felt for some time now. The films are special, the creativity is intense, and the community brings an amazing energy to the festival that is unique to Louisiana Film Prize.
How long has your film festival been around?
We began Louisiana Film Prize in 2012, and we are entering our fifth contest year in 2016.
How did your film festival come into being?
The Louisiana Film Prize is an idea born out of a boozy, tequila-soaked night where our fearless leader slammed his fist on the table and shouted to the heavens: “Why the hell isn’t there a contest/festival where filmmakers could use their creative prowess and impressive technical skills to make short films and compete for a huge pile of cash?” The next morning, hung-over, he found a new tattoo that read “Louisiana Film Prize. Shoot a short film, Win $50,000.” The rest is history. We at the Louisiana Film Prize are here to spark creativity and support our home town of Shreveport-Bossier.
What do you want audiences to take away from your film festival?
We want our audiences to not only enjoy the art that they view at the festival each year, but we want them to be able to interact in meaningful ways with the artists who create these projects, to better appreciate the process and hard work of filmmaking. The festival builds community not just for those who attend from the surrounding area, but from those who travel in. Every year, people return to meet friends and experience the rush of the Film Prize once more.
Anything else you’d like to tell the audience about your festival?
The power is in your hands. You help select the $50,000 winner and propel one filmmaking team to indie film glory. There’s nothing like sitting in a theater with hundreds of other people, talking about what you saw at the street party after your screening, and enjoying the festival which is chuck full of amazing events, filmmaker interviews, panels, food, drink, and music. It’s like nothing you’ve ever done before, and likely may never see again outside of Northwest Louisiana.
What is the Louisiana Film Prize and how does it work?
The Louisiana Film Prize is a short narrative film contest offering a massive $50,000 cash prize (the largest in the world) with just one rule: Filmmakers must shoot their short film (5-15 minutes) in the Shreveport-Bossier area. Post production, music and effects can all be done at home.
Of the eligible submissions, twenty are selected to participate in the Louisiana Film Prize festival weekend (September 30 – October 2, 2016) where audiences and expert judges will descend on downtown Shreveport and Bossier City to watch all twenty shorts and vote for their favorite. In the end, one filmmaker will walk away with a huge cash prize and indie film fame.
Check out the Louisiana Film Prize Website here.