Attendance of the Louisiana Film Prize, a local short film festival and competition that showcases the organization’s top twenty submissions and is punctuated by work created in and around the Shreveport area, has been essential to my schedule for nearly a year. My roommate and landlord, David Hylan, had Gregory and Heidi Kallenberg over for dinner several months ago, and the couple encouraged me to consider working on a screenplay and collaborating with local visionaries to submit something. Although I did not follow through with their suggestion, I remained intrigued. The increasing dialogue on social media in recent weeks only helped to elevate my interest, and I was pleased to secure tickets for myself, my buddy and fellow film buff, Hunter Ward, and a group of close friends that included Andrew Parsons, Ryan Rebouche, Christina Cowart, and several others. We met downtown after work, found our parking spots in the Texas Avenue area, and walked over to Artstation to catch the Orange Slate, a collage of one-half of the short pieces selected to represent the top twenty films in the running for the crowning achievement of festival favorite along with the $50,000 prize.
Our fellow audience members were comprised of obvious aesthetes and big names in the local arts and culture community. These are the faces one finds at The Texas Avenue Maker’s Fair, local film and visual art exhibitions, and events at minicine? In other words, the men and women of the Shreveport community for whom I have tremendous respect as they continue their dedication and support for local creative pursuits. With my closest friends and family surrounding me, two handfuls of gourmet popcorn and other concessions, and a list of ten short films to watch, I was right at home.
The first half of the Orange Slate opened with The Sound of Trains, an interesting foray into the land of science fiction that we were surprised to see starred Daniel Baldwin. A clever comedy, Stall, followed, along with Lineman (starring and well-acted by two ridiculously attractive leads), Silo (my personal favorite of the first five), and Self Storage (another witty comedy with a lesson, and a close second in favoritism to Silo).
The intermission gave our group just long enough to walk outside and discuss the films that pleased us most before the second half began with Dorothy Kristin Hanna’s The Hummingbird starring Ian Quiet. The others, Clowns and Robbers (a well scripted laugh riot), Cabbie (a dark thriller that really pulls at the heartstrings of writers and other artists), and an uplifting drama, Patience, followed; however, it was Chris Ganucheau’s incredibly smart and laugh-out-loud funny, El Gato, that is my personal pick as frontrunner for festival favorite (keep in mind, at the time of publication, I still have ten more films to see tonight).
After completing the Orange Slate, our group travelled to Monjuni’s to dine on pasta and bread, and to discuss which selections we liked as well as those toward which we felt less favor. The festival continues today and tonight with viewing venues at The Capri Theater, The Robinson Film Center, and Artstation. This is a prime opportunity to get out and see what sort of creative minds we have working in our area and to support a major movement in the local arts community.
For more information on the festival, including times and locations, check out www.lafilmprize.com.