Organizers of the Louisiana Film Prize in Shreveport say this year’s entries are mostly coming from filmmakers outside the Bayou State. Executive director Gregory Kallenberg expects another big turnout for the festival weekend in October when a panel of judges and the audience decide which film will receive a $50,000 cash payout. He anticipates about 80 entries this year, on par with the first year of the contest.
"Two-thirds are coming from out of town. What’s interesting about them is they come with six or eight people. They stay at our hotels. They eat our food. But, then they hire six to eight people locally," Kallenberg said, from the film prize's headquarters in a downtown Shreveport office suite.
The short films must be shot in northwest Louisiana to qualify for the competition. Last year, Kallenberg said, the film crews pumped an estimated $2.1 million into the local economy during pre-production. An underlying goal of the Louisiana Film Prize is to bring creative entrepreneurs into the area. Kallenberg hopes that they may set up shop here one day, or possibly return to shoot a feature film.
“For anyone else who wants to do it, it’s a great way to get people to your community. It’s a great way to infuse creative talent. Who knows where this is going to take Shreveport and Bossier City? Our hope is that it takes us in an amazing direction," Kallenberg said.
The festival attracted more than 1,700 people in its first year, more than double the turnout Kallenberg expected. This year, he said, more sponsors are stepping up.
“Last year, the funding was my wife’s summer vacation fund. This year, the community has really come to us -- of course we're always looking for sponsors. But, at the end of the day, this community has really put forth the dollars to help us to do this," Kallenberg said.
The deadline for entries is July 9. The films can be five to 15 minutes long, and the top 20 will be screened during the festival weekend, Oct. 3 - 6, at venues in downtown Shreveport.