The 2019 Louisiana Film Prize announced the 20 finalists, including its first international finalist and an overall lineup comprised of a 50/50 spilt between female directed or co-directed films and films directed by males – all competing for a $50,000 grand prize (the nation’s largest cash prize for a narrative short film). The 8th edition of the Louisiana Film Prize takes place in Shreveport, Louisiana with each of the Top 20 films screening during Prize Fest (October 3-5) with the grand prize winner determined via a rare combination of voting from audience members and film and industry judges.
“The Louisiana Film Prize and our $50,000 cash prize has become the ultimate proving ground for burgeoning indie filmmakers, and the eighth edition of Film Prize promises to be our best display of independent filmmaking yet,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Founder and Executive Director of the Film Prize Foundation. “If you’re a film enthusiast, the Film Prize in October in Shreveport, LA is the place to be.”
The Louisiana Film Prize is notable not just for the films themselves, but for the personal connection that the audience members and the judges make with the competing filmmakers. Passholders and attendees can’t help but learn the stories behind the films as they see interviews with the filmmakers, listen to their participation in panel discussions, and experience the sidewalk presentations and promotions the filmmakers do to create interest and awareness of their films.
The class of 2019 includes the very first international entry (NOWHERE ARKANSAS), whose director, Robert Linsley, hails from Australia. Another new wrinkle for the competition, which routinely features a heavy dose of dramas, is the wide variety of genres represented this year, including 7 comedies, 2 experimental films, a horror film, and a musical.
For the first time in its history, the Louisiana Film Prize, which has consistently had very strong participation by female filmmakers (far beyond the Hollywood average of 4%), has achieved 50/50 parity between male and female filmmakers. The ten finalists directed or co-directed by women include; Jaya and Jacob McSharma’s BEST IN SHOW; Hattie Haggard Gobble’s BLACK PAJAMAS; Makenzie Smith and Finch Nissen’s CICERO; Kari Kennon’s FAST FORWARD STYLE; Rachel Emerson’s MAVEN VOYAGE; Hannah Dorsett’s RIP; Kalah Roberts’ SAME TIME NEXT WEEK; Abigail Kruger’s SHREVEPOET; Camille Schmoutz’s ST. ESTHER DAY; and Sarah Philips’ SUPPLEMENTS.
The Louisiana Film Prize’s impact making the area a prime destination for film production continues this year with another record number of filmmakers having shot films in the area in order to submit them for the competition, with the largest geographical divide in the history of the acclaimed event.
In order to qualify for the Louisiana Film Prize, filmmakers must create a short film (5-15 minutes) in which the production must be shot in northwest Louisiana. In addition to the one $50,000 grand prize winner, the Top 5 Louisiana Film Prize films will receive distribution through Shorts International on iTunes and will also screen at various festivals across the country, including invitations from critically-acclaimed festivals like Oxford Film Festival. This year, films from the 2018 competition screened (or will screen) at numerous prominent film festivals across the country including Tribeca. Louisiana Film Prize will also distribute filmmaking grants and $1,000 “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” accolades. To date, the Film Prize Foundation has awarded over $400,000 in cash to independent filmmakers.
Tickets to the Louisiana Film Prize along with Prize Fest’s music and food events are on sale now at prizefest.com. For those who want to enjoy all of the Prize Fest experiences with food and drink included, VIP Gold and Platinum passes are available starting at $500. VIP tickets include all-access with filmmakers and judges in the exclusive VIP Lounge, free food and drinks, preferred seating at all screenings and events, access to special panels, and the Incredibly Famous LAFP VIP goodie bag. Festival sponsorships are also available. Visit prizefest.com for more ticket, volunteer, and festival information.
The 2019 Louisiana Film Prize Finalists
A DIMINISHED ART
Director: Jeremy Enis
An aging black man struggles to come to terms with the future he never saw for himself – one in which his dear wife is gone, and his step-son is white and gay.
AND THAT IS WHY I SUCCEED
Director: Travis Bible
A basketball coach gives a unique halftime speech to his team.
Director: James Harlon Palmer
Their life is a musical – and it’s gone straight to their heads.
Directors: Jeremy Spring, Rex Davey
All Johnny wanted was a free boat, man.
BEST IN SHOW
Directors: Jacob and Jaya McSharma
An unconventional fashion show model no longer makes the cut and finds out what happens when the price of fitting in is too high to pay.
Director: Hattie Haggard Gobble
Post U.S.-Vietnam War, a young man is determined to heal from PTSD despite his atypical bouts of disassociation.
Directors: Makenzie Smith, Finch Nissen
A hitman finds himself trapped inside an elevator with the man he’s been contracted to kill.
FAST FORWARD STYLE
Director: Kari Kennon
A glamorous 50-year-old widow named Caroline goes on 6 dates with a variety of men.
Director: Blayne Weaver
A lonely man uses his special gift to pursue his dark infatuation with a coworker.
Director: Chad Hill
Pastor Paul is trying to save Ambrose’s soul. It’s not going well.
LEO AND GRACE
Director: Gabriel Savodivker
A couple in love, torn apart by race, find each other 30 years later and must do the impossible to stay together; even if it means risking their freedom forever.
Director: Rachel Emerson
Maeve Fairbanks is working toward living out her sister’s lifelong goal by submitting a video to be considered for the first piloted mission to Mars, her approach is a bit…offbeat.
Director: Evan Falbaum
On Christmas Eve, after a long shift as a mall Santa, Mike’s house is broken into by a pair of robbers who are in for a big surprise.
Director: Robert Linsley
Nowhere, Arkansas, 1863. A Confederate veteran, haunted by his past, hunts redemption in the form of a famous eagle that belongs to the Union Army.
Director: Hannah Dorsett
Becky, a southern belle with southern grit, has loft goals of joining a ladies tennis team at the local country club.
SAME TIME NEXT WEEK
Director: Kalah Roberts
A flustered first time mom attends a therapy session, with her toddler in tow.
Director: Abigail Kruger
Through movement we find the resilience and creativity of the people of Louisiana, when moving through a difficult time.
ST. ESTHER DAY
Director: Camille Schmoutz
An immigrant housekeeper struggles to adjust to the outlandish snobbery of her widowed mistress and forms an unlikely friendship with the woman’s sheltered daughter.
Director: Matthew Ramsaur
A lifelong group of friends won’t let a one in a million genetic disorder get in the way of Jacob’s wedding day.
Director: Sarah Philips
The year is 2289, and all that’s left on Planet Earth is the domed city Old Centauri, roaming sun flares that scorch the land, and the nomadic tribes that mitigate the two. Kiirke comes from one such tribe, and she must travel to Old Centauri, along with her brother, to seek a small fortune to save her her family.