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Louisiana Film Prize: 20 Short Films Competing for $50,000

If you pay any attention to the festival circuit, you are aware of a very different sort of festival in Shreveport these past 8 years. The Louisiana Film Prize is a magical oasis in the world of film where short films are king. The filmmakers must film in Shreveport and then the Top 20 are selected to compete for a $50,000 prize. That’s right, a short filmmaker can win $50,000. There is nothing else like it in the world and it’s all due to the magic of creator Gregory Kallenberg.

I am heading there this Thursday as a judge and fan. I have juried the Memphis Film Prize, which is a spin-off of this one and watched what it has done for filmmaking in Memphis. But I haven’t been to Louisiana Film Prize in 4 years so I am looking forward to seeing if it is still as magical as the first time I attended. The first sign of progress for this year in advance of the festival is that they received a 50-50 parity between male and female filmmakers in the Top 20.

It works different than other festivals. The festival puts 50% of judges votes and 50% audience votes to determine the winner. This allows filmmakers to really market themselves and bring in a crowd and encourage people to vote for them. A market situation has developed out of that with filmmakers giving away merchandise, setting up info tables to talk with audience members and created a real sense of an event happening. I am fascinated to watch the process and to see some great films.

The festival kicks off Thursday through Sunday but is not just about movies. The Prize Fest has been adding new elements each year starting with a music concert, then food and now fashion. So there is some food tasting parties, some concerts, some movies and now a fashion show. It makes for a busy weekend.

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– Melanie Addington (@MelAddington)

Guest writer, Executive Director, Oxford Film Festival

The 2019 Louisiana Film Prize Finalists



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.

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Melanie Addington is the Executive Director of Tallgrass Film Association as of 2021. She has worked in the film festival world since 2006, first as a volunteer, and then eventually becoming the Oxford Film Festival Executive Director in August 2015. She used to be a reporter for the Oxford Eagle (a community newspaper) and then Pizza Magazine Quarterly (a global trade magazine). She still loves pizza. And she still writes for Hammer to Nail and Film Festival Today about her other great love: movies. She is from Southern California originally but lived in the South for 20 years. She now resides in Wichita, KS, and has one son.

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