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BRYAN CRANSTON captures Hollywood history as

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VOLUME 12 ISSUE FIVE EDITORS-IN-CHIEF W. H. Bourne, Odin Lindblom ASSOCIATE EDITOR Katie Sauro CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jay Crest, A.K. Farmer, Shanna Forrestall, T. Hopper, Susie Labry, Alan Smithee, Tara Thierry CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Anne Conway Jennings, Tara Thierry GENERAL MANAGER John Rusnak SALES MANAGER Katie Higgins SALES Steve Joseph, Mike Stapleton PRODUCTION MANAGER Sonjia Kells PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Kelly Baker

Above: (L-R) Sandra Bullock as Jane and Billy Bob Thornton as Pat Candy in Warner Bros. Pictures and Participant Media’s satirical comedy Our Brand Is Crisis, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. RIght: (L-R) Actors Diane Lane and Bryan Cranston in Trumbo.


DESIGNERS Ciara Pickering, Sam Rockwell, Liz Weickum DESIGN INTERNS Kaitlyn Chapman, Jackson Conard WEBMASTER Jon Hines


Letter From The Editor



Trumbo: A History Lesson Worth Learning From Screenwriter John McNamara


13 Bryan Cranston is Dalton Trumbo 15 John Goodman Talks Trumbo 17 Trumbo Features Old Hollywood in Hollywood South 27 Shreveport’s Moonbot Studios Battles Bullying With A New Interactive Film I Am A Witness 29 Social Media For The Independent Filmmaker 33 Burnt Films In Many Famous Kitchens Including Those Of New Orleans

47 Our Brand Is Crisis Screens As A Centerpiece Movie At The New Orleans Film Festival 51 Love Me True Premieres At The Fest 54 Southern Charm And A Personal Touch: Louisiana Film & Video Magazine’s Party At NOFF 57 Reversing The Mississippi At NOFF

37 Good Times at Louisiana Film Prize in Shreveport

59 7 Things I Learned From The Free Panels At NOFF 2015

39 2015 Baton Rouge Horror Film Fest Scares Up A Good Time

61 I Saw The Light At New Orleans Film Festival

41 Lake Charles Film and Music Festival

69 Documentary Short Little Hero Wins Special Jury Award At NOFF 2015

43 2015 New Orleans Film Festival Includes Premieres and Oscar Hopefuls

70 Plaquemines Wins $50,000 In #CreateLA Film Competition

ON THE COVER: PHOTO BY HILARY BRONWYN GAIL COURTESY OF BLEECKER STREET Bryan Cranston IS blacklisted screenwriter Trumbo in this important and intriguing pic on McCarthyism in Hollywood in the ‘50s.



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ctober was a busy month for film festivals in Louisiana across the state with events in Shreveport, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Odin and I had a great time at these events and met many wonderful filmmakers, actors, crew members, festival organizers, and cinephiles. What impressed us most was the immense wealth of local talent both in front of and behind the camera. While many of these individuals were working on big studio pics or television shows, they were also actively involved in the local indie scene collaborating with friends and colleagues to create some great films, both shorts and features. In this issue, we cover the LA Film Prize, the Baton Rouge Horror Film Fest, the Lake Charles Film and Music Festival, and the New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF). We tried to cover some of the films and their respective filmmakers, but there was so much content that we simply couldn’t fit it all. As a matter of fact, we had to hold some content until next issue including Odin’s gear reviews. We also had a lot of great pictures from all the festivals that we just didn’t have space for. Special thanks to photographer Tara Thierry



who was an immense help in getting us some fantastic photos. We’ll try to get some of those up online soon. We were appreciative of all the help we received from festival organizers in getting coverage for this issue and ensuring we had great festival experiences. It was an honor to be asked to interview Marshall Teague at the Lake Charles Film Festival. At the Louisiana Film & Video Magazine party at the New Orleans Film Festival, I enjoyed talking to everyone as I mixed and poured Red Carpet Punch in the Filmmaker Lounge at the Hotel Modern. On a final note, I’d like to briefly talk about our cover story Trumbo. Based on the true story of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, Trumbo covers his extraordinary career examining how the Communist Red Scare and the Blacklist in the ‘50s affected not only his life but the lives of his family and friends. For those of you not familiar with this time period and the witch hunt that ensued, I can’t urge you enough to read our four part coverage, go see this film, and learn about this important period in film history. Some say that history repeats itself and the best way to prevent that is to be informed. I hope you enjoy the issue and send us your feedback! W. H. BOURNE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF




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he upcoming release of Trumbo features actors Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Elle Fanning, Michael Stuhlbarg and Louis C.K.; however, their star power and great performances are not the real reason you need to see this film. Trumbo is based on a true story, a story that is relevant to anyone who works in the film industry. It’s not just a history lesson but a cautionary tale worth learning. In the wake of World War II, as relations between the U.S. and the their political beliefs and denouncing the hearings as a violation of U.S.S.R. deteriorated and the fear of the “Red Menace” reached untheir civil rights. All ten were sentenced to prison for contempt of precedented heights, the House of Un-American Activities CommitCongress. The best-known among them was Dalton Trumbo. tee (HUAC) investigated tens of thousands of Americans suspected of Screenwriter John McNamara first heard the story of Dalton being communist sympathizers. Teachers, military contractors, civil Trumbo when he was studying screenwriting under formerly servants and others lost their jobs, their reputations and even their blacklisted scribes Ring Lardner Jr., Waldo Salt and Trumbo supfamilies as suspicion and paranoia swept the nation. porter Ian McClellan Hunter. “I told Hunter how much I enjoyed HUAC paid special attention to Hollywood, convening hearings in his screenplay for Roman Holiday,” McNamara says. “He told me October 1947 aimed at rooting out that he didn’t write the script. Dalton communists in the film industry. Trumbo did.” Scores of prominent actors, direcHunter realized that not only was tors, producers and screenwriters McNamara unaware of the far-reachwere publicly berated about their ing impact of the HUAC hearings and association with an array of organithe blacklist, so was the rest of the zations deemed to be “un-American.” writing class. “For the next two days, Threatened with the loss of their these men, who had lived through livelihoods, many witnesses gave evithat era, told us the story from their dence against friends and colleagues. point of view,” McNamara remembers. Ten of those called to testify refused “When Ian suggested I read Bruce (R-L) Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren as Dalton Trumbo and to answer any questions, denying the Cook’s biography of Trumbo, I immeHedda Hopper. committee’s right to ask them about diately did.” ISSUE FIVE 2015



back the most gracious email with McNamara saw an opportunity to create very specific critiques of the script a film that could encapsulate the turbulent in general and her character in politics of that volatile era in American particular. I’ve never had such an history in a personal story. “It’s that rarest of instantaneous connection with anythings—a true story with a happy ending,” one who ripped my work apart! She he says. “In Hollywood, we concoct happy gave me cogent, insightful, emotionendings to make up for the fact that there al and logical notes that have really are so few in real life. This story got inside helped the screenplay be better in me and wouldn’t let go, but I couldn’t get every way.” what I saw in my head on paper until I came According to McNamara, it is no across an article written by Trumbo’s oldest Elle Fanning as Niki Trumbo accident that Trumbo is the writer daughter, Nikola.” of Spartacus, a film about a gladiator who turns on his masters Reading that short, poignant essay, entitled A Different Childand leads his fellow slaves in rebellion. “That film is the greatest hood, McNamara realized he had been seeing his subject as a writer collectivist fantasy ever produced by Hollywood,” says McNamara. and a political activist, but he had no idea of the man. “Niki’s ar“And it is a masterpiece, because it shows that collectivism might ticle showed me a person full of not be the dream in the end, but it’s so much better than being a real flaws and contradictions. She pawn in a game designed to enrich somebody else. I think what wrote about what kind of father Trumbo was really saying in that film was if you have to die, die on he was, what kind of husband your feet, die fighting and die together.” and what it felt like to be part of Screenwriter McNamara calls Trumbo “the most complex huhis family when those subpoenas man being I’ve ever tried to render,” adding, “I miss him now that arrived. It opened a huge door the film is done. I sure can relate to being a short-tempered writer for me.” who spends too much money, gets too far behind on deadlines, Eventually McNamara reached and yells at his kids for interrupting him. But I’m not as brave as out to Niki Trumbo to get her Dalton was. I don’t know that I would go to prison for an ideal. I insights and her opinion of his Producer/Screenwriter don’t think there’s another story quite like his in Hollywood.” LFV work-in-progress. “She wrote John McNamara






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Bryan Cranston is

“Trumbo has a strong script and a compelling story. It is thrilling and thought-provoking from an intellectual standpoint. That attracted me,” explains STORY BY A. K. FARMER Cranston. PHOTOS BY HILARY BRONWYN GAIL COURTESY OF BLEECKER STREET “Dalton Trumbo’s daughters were very helpful,” continues alton Trumbo is a very complex char“ Cranston. “Getting their acter,” says Producer Janice Williams. perspective was invaluable, “Extremely wealthy, living the Holas were the biographies and autobiographies of people who lywood dream … and a communist. We had Actor Bryan Cranston knew him. There was an almost all been watching Bryan Cranston evolve as endless amount of source material. The more I learned, the closer Walter White in Breaking Bad, and we felt there was I felt to his essence.” For anyone who wants to get to know Trumbo better, Cranston something in his performance that was the epitome suggests watching the films he wrote. “If you were to do a retroof what we needed. Bryan is able to play contradictory spective of his movies, there certainly isn’t a subversive or dangercharacters with ease. He has deep layers of sadness ous message in them,” says Cranston. “He loved this country. He thought it could be even better. As he says in the movie, ‘We all and righteousness. He brought everything that was have the right to be wrong.’ Allowing each other the freedom to be needed to the role.” wrong is the crux of Americanism.” “The common denominator in his films is that there’s a charCranston says he considers three essential elements when he acter who chooses honor over self-advancement, a character who considers a role. “The first thing is the story itself. Am I moved by it? fights for the righteous path,” the actor notes. “He felt he was a Will I leave the theater with some sense of improvement in my life? voice for the invisible person and that made him remarkable. But Even if it simply made me forget my troubles for two hours, that’s a we also felt it was important to show that he was a human being. valuable two hours. The second thing is the text. Even the most pheThe pressure he was under could have destroyed his family, and it’s nomenal story needs to be told well. And then there’s the character. largely due to (his wife) Cleo Trumbo’s strength that it didn’t.” LFV And there’s no question that this had all three of those things.”

Dalton Trumbo









n the upcoming November release of Trumbo, local celebrity and actor John Goodman plays Frank King, a real-life figure who, with his brothers Herman (Stephen Root) and Maury, produced scores of grade-B gangster, horror, sci-fi and western pictures in the 1940s and ’50s. “The King brothers hire Dalton Trumbo to write for them while he is blacklisted,” says Producer Janice Williams. “They don’t care about politics. They don’t care about anything but making money. But in their own strange way, they help undermine the blacklist by ensuring that banned writers stay employed.” “We were very, very lucky to get John Goodman to play this part,” says Producer Michael London. “It was so important to us that the movie was funny and entertaining. He plays Frank King in this really over-the-top, old Hollywood style. He plays the character

with relish and gusto. He eats it up as Frank King and it never feels phony. That’s what those guys were like.” Director Jay Roach says King was an accidental hero of the era. “He and his brothers hired blacklisted writers and got screenplays by some of the John Goodman portrays greatest writers in America for B-Grade Filmmaker bargain prices. If that allowed Frank King in Trumbo. them to make ends meet by writing under pseudonyms, it was an afterthought.” Goodman agrees that the brothers were not intentionally supporting the blacklisted writers. “They were just trying to make a buck,” the actor says. “They are bottom-line capitalists who want to spend as little as possible and reap high returns. They weren’t looking for quality, just quantity. Ironically, Dalton Trumbo wrote a film for them called The Brave One under the name ‘Robert Rich,’ and it won an Oscar. These guys were at the bottom of the food chain, and they won an Academy Award!” “Trumbo’s story is still an inspiration today,” says Goodman. “It is about one man’s courage standing up against the system. A lot of lives were ruined, including his and his family’s, but he just kept fighting and he did it with impeccable grace and a lot of humor. It’s almost impossible to believe that the blacklist existed or that people were that frightened of each other. It reminds us all to be vigilant and cherish the truth because it can happen again at any time.” LFV






Local actor James Dumont (J. Parnell Thomas) performs for the camera on the set of Trumbo.




n Trumbo, the dazzling world of Old Hollywood comes alive again through a wide variety of Louisiana locations that stand in for mid-century Los Angeles from the 1940s through the 1970s. Trumbo was shot in 41 days: 40 in and around New Orleans and one in Los Angeles. “The area has extraordinary period buildings that made it relatively easy to find the beautiful old bars and restaurants and office buildings we needed,” says Trumbo Producer Janice Williams. “And the crew was very good. It was a great experience.” According to Producer Michael London, “Our goal was to make a movie on a pretty wide canvas. We needed a team of people who could realize Director Jay Roach’s vision of a movie that captured that old Hollywood glamour. New Orleans has a lot of great mid-century architecture that hasn’t been renovated the way it has in Los Angeles. There’s great wardrobe and beautiful Southern California vistas, even though we shot in Louisiana.” London says the most difficult location to find was the Lazy-T Ranch, the Trumbo family homestead during Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s heyday. “We had to capture the bucolic nature of their life before he went to jail. And it had to have a lake, which Trumbo famously dug out for his children.” The ranch needed the feel of rural, mid-century California, which was difficult to replicate in the New Orleans area. “Eventually, we found a beautiful property outside Covington, Louisiana, about an hour from New Orleans,” says London. “It had a wonderful, rambling house that really fit the bill with a beautiful backyard

where we filmed a couple of memorable late-summer family barbecues. It really evoked the feeling of Ventura County, where the actual home was located. The only thing it didn’t have was that lake, but there was a large pond nearby, and with a little clever camera work and visual effects magic, we made it appear where we needed it to be. The overall effect is warm and romantic. It makes you realize how much this family lost.”

Bryan Cranston (L) and Diane Lane (R) star as husband and wife Dalton and Cleo Trumbo. ISSUE FIVE 2015



The filmmakers also needed a stand-in for the Highland Park home the Trumbos moved into after he was released from prison. A far more modest property in Northeast Los Angeles, the new house didn’t have a lake, but it did have a swimming pool. Since the home they selected did not, Production Designer Mark Ricker created a faux pool in the backyard of the new Trumbo home from an 18-inch hole lined with blue tarp and carefully lit. Other locations include the historic Longue Vue House, a New Orleans Classical Revival landmark transformed by Ricker into multiple settings including studio head offices; the homes of both Hedda Hopper and Edward G. Robinson; Hollywood’s historic Roosevelt Hotel, where John Wayne addresses a meeting of the Motion Picture Alliance; the 1927 Saenger Theater, which hosts the premieres of Roman Holiday and Spartacus; and the U.S. Customs House, a landmark federal building used for a bittersweet scene between Arlen Hird and Dalton Trumbo, as well as the start of the infamous court hearings. “We populated the sets with details that many audience members may not notice, but the actors on the set saw,” says Ricker. “Hopefully that helped the performances in some way. For example, Bryan (Cranston who portrays Dalton Trumbo) discovered that Trumbo collected paintings by the social realist William Gropper so we reached out to Gropper’s family. His grandson Craig was kind enough to loan us a wealth of paintings, which we hung throughout the two Trumbo houses. Bryan was thrilled. At first he thought we’d found reproductions, but



they’re the real things.” The verisimilitude extended even to the posters and letterheads in the King Brothers production office. “We tried to keep everything as authentic as possible within the realms of our budget and time frame,” he says. “It was a constant juggling act to provide sets that were rich in texture, but it benefits both the actors and the audience.” Hedda Hopper portrayed by Helen In addition to Ricker’s Mirren was known for her collection of flamboyant and outrageous hats. meticulous period recreations, picture-car coordinator Michael Schlumbrecht made invaluable contributions to the vintage visuals with a fleet of more than two dozen antique automobiles that included old-time Chevys, Fords and Chryslers. Director Jay Roach also evoked the period by mixing his footage with archival films. “We found incredible old footage of the House Un-American Activities hearings that originally appeared in newsreels,” he says. “We were able to take some that we filmed ourselves

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Diane Lane (Cleo Trumbo) juggling during a scene for Trumbo.

and give it an old-time newsreel feeling so it could be merged with the original stuff. We recreated testimony by Trumbo and Edward G. Robinson that way. When you blend archival footage and contemporary film, it makes the story feel like it is rooted in something even more authentic. I think the audience likes to be taken back in time by the actual footage.” In a story that takes place from 1947 through 1970, costume, hair and makeup design are key to creating historical context. “But an independent film like this can’t have six hours of makeup every morning,” says producer Williams. “Our actors had to

embody a lot of these changes in their own way. It was quite a journey trying to figure out all the periods, not just for our cast, but for our background actors as well.” “Meagan Lewis, our New Orleans casting director, also found us amazing local talent,” adds Producer Monica Levinson. “Makeup and hair presented its own set of challenges,” continues Levinson. “Jay worked with our talented team led by Luisa Abel and Kelvin Trahan to make sure we could achieve it all at the highest quality. Everyone in the cast and crew rose to the occasion to deliver their very best despite the extremely hot New Orleans weather and indie film shooting schedule.” “This was an amazing story for a costume designer because it spans several decades and is set in Old Hollywood,” says Costume Designer Daniel Orlandi. “It was great to work with the more glamorous looks of the ’40s and ’50s, but our work also encompasses people at home, in prison, in a sleazy Hollywood producer’s office, on the set of a gangster film and the set of Spartacus. It was daunting but really fun.” Bryan Cranston alone wore more than 60 costumes, according to Orlandi. “His life goes from the height of his success to going to prison to trying to scrape up money to keep his family afloat,” he says. “He has three different tuxedos and casual clothes and dressy

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clothes and pajamas.” Orlandi scoured his sources for period items, but much of the wardrobe was created specially for the film from vintage fabrics. “I have a collection of vintage buttons and jewelry and feathers and flowers that we used to make Hedda Hopper’s hats,” he says. Hopper’s flamboyant chapeaus were her trademark, and she was said to buy 150 new hats a year. Orlandi provided a new hat for each of Helen Mirren’s scenes. “I think Hedda’s wardrobe was the most fun for Daniel,” says Roach. “He really did a phenomenal job with her character. It may seem like an exaggeration, but Hopper really dressed like that, and it’s fantastic.” “Being so meticulous about period details for a film that spans four decades greatly complicated the filmmaking process,” says London, “but the rewards were worth it. There is so much in this story that is relevant to our lives today. The period element made the bar much higher for every element of the movie—the script, the casting, the director—because they all had to be undeniably right for the movie to work. That took time and patience. But it also meant that we wound up with the best possible material and the best possible team of people to see it through. Sometimes being held to a higher standard is a useful challenge that brings out the best in everyone.” Mitzi Trumbo is pleased to see her father’s story told in its entirety. “It’s important to know that people like Trumbo have made great personal sacrifices for what they believe,” she says. “On

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the set, so many actors and crewmembers told me how much they admired him and how proud they were to be involved in the film. One of the most unforgettable moments for me was on Halloween when most of the crew showed up wearing Trumbo moustaches and glasses.” LFV Trumbo is releasing to theaters nationwide on November 13, 2015.

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n a groundbreaking effort to empower teens to speak up when they see bullying, an unprecedented coalition of media, corporate and non-profit partners including Moonbot Studios, the Ad Council, and Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P) are launching I Am a Witness, a digital-focused campaign featuring a new emoji and an innovative interactive film. The film was handcrafted entirely with 2D animation by Moonbot Studios, the Shreveport based, Oscar award-winning team that created The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Of course, Moonbot is no stranger to innovation. Their animated Fantastic Flying Books happens to be an iTunes Hall of Fame iPad app in addition to being a New York Times best-selling hard copy book. With their interest in creating content for the younger crowd, it’s no surprise that they were involved in a project involving such an important cause. Bullying statistics are staggering: more than one in four children a year (13 million) experience some form of bullying. Now, according to Moonbot, taking a stand against bullying and showing support to someone in need can be as easy as a stroke of the keyboard. Their #IAmAWitness campaign aims to activate the silent majority of kids who witness it each day and empower them to use the new eye emoji and additional creative assets to speak up, be a friend, and reject bullying. You can interact with the film, download the emoji and learn more at Technically, the iOS app is fascinating. Moonbot Studios and GS&P BETA teamed up to bring one of the first mobile interactive video experiences on Safari iOS. Together, they came up with a unique approach for iOS that allows embedded videos to play inline on a webpage rather than in the native player. To keep the videos in sync and reduce bandwidth issues, one video file contained

two different versions of the film, one stacked on top of the other. Depending on which version of the film should be seen, the team presented only half of the picture to an HTML5 canvas element. In addition to overcoming the technical hurdle of a seamless interactive experience, Moonbot’s team essentially created two, 2 minute animated films, one of a “good day” and another of a “bad day.” The interactive film is scored by famed composer Mark Mothersbaugh of Mutato Muzika and co-founder of DEVO. The video tells the story of a boy named Jack, who is bullied at school and online. Once the user intervenes and interacts with the video using the onscreen emoji, Jack’s world is filled with more color, turning a sad day into a happy one. “The only user-interface tool in I Am a Witness is an emoji that changes Jack’s path. That emoji is available for download after the film, and can be used on mobile phones to call out cyber-bullying,” said director Limbert Fabian. “To create a little distance between the audience and our story, our team at Moonbot decided to animate I Am a Witness in 2D, using broad, cartoony shapes. Bullying is a raw, emotional subject for a lot of people, and we chose a visual language that created a buffer for some of those feelings while still allowing us to connect to the narrative. We wanted the film to be affecting, but not painful,” said co-director Jake Wyatt. Be sure to keep an eye on Moonbot Studios. In the past year, Moonbot’s branded entertainment work for clients including Chipotle Mexican Grill’s The Scarecrow and Dolby’s Silent has won every major advertising award including the Emmy Awards, Cannes Lions and CLIO awards. Moonbot just created a pilot for Amazon and their new animated short, Taking Flight, has just qualified for the upcoming Academy Awards. Maybe Moonbot needs to create an emoji for us for “Louisiana proud!” LFV




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id you know that some say Facebook is the most addicting social network? A report by Tom Webster and the team at Edison Research shows that 23% of Facebook’s users check their accounts five or more times every day. We all know we need social media, but choosing the right outlets to align ourselves with is almost as important as choosing a marriage partner. It’s common to feel overwhelmed by all of the outlets available and to feel like we have to have them all. The problem with an overfull social media slate is that maintenance, strategy and engagement can take more time than we anticipate, so many filmmakers find themselves over-committed to a large number of outlets leaving them frustrated because they are unable to keep each one healthy. A better option for independent filmmakers is to choose only the most appropriate social media outlets and to focus on strategic placement. So, how do we choose? And how do we create a strategy to use the unique benefits that each outlet offers? CHOOSING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA There is a plethora of strong choices these days with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and many, many more. reports in their Top 50 List of social media outlets (yes, top 50!) that “Facebook tops the list and Twitter secures a respectable fourth spot in the rankings,” but there are many other resources that may offer brand exposure and website traffic. The bottom line in choosing the best social media outlets for your endeavor involves knowing your audience. If you can target who you want to reach, then you can do the research to find out which outlets your audience inhabits most often and settle on two to five outlets that will work best. For most projects, Facebook and Twitter are a great start. And it can be a benefit to establish and grow those two outlets with continual strategic posting and engagement before adding on others. HOW TO CREATE GOALS AND STRATEGY Once you’ve chosen your key social media outlets, you must deter-

mine how to create the best content for each outlet. The keys to a strategic social media plan are consistency, relevancy and making sure you know your goals and how to read the metrics to see if you’ve reached those goals. Next, we will look at Facebook and Twitter as examples to show how they can be useful and how they differ in reach, setup and strategy. TIPS FOR USING FACEBOOK Entrepreneur reports that Facebook is one of the most “powerful social platforms in the world.” It can be a strong asset to any project because we can assume that almost everyone (of all ages) are on it. Facebook should be where you build faithful followers and educate them about your project. You can interact with your followers daily, or a few times a week, but the key is growing an audience and then consistently posting content that engages that audience. If you know that your schedule will make it difficult to post regularly during certain days or weeks, use a scheduling program like Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance so your postings stay consistent even when you can’t spend time online. Finding followers who may have an interest in your project requires some research and creativity. Brainstorm groups of people that would be interested in your film’s genre or subject matter. Search for relevant communities online where you can find groups of people interested in what your film has to say. If your film addresses a current social issue, search for groups or organizations already interested in that subject. A common mistake in posting Facebook content is only posting information directly related to promoting the Master Agenda (which may be simply getting people to watch the finished film). ISSUE FIVE 2015



It may seem counter-intuitive, but for Facebook it’s best to use approximately 20% of your posts to promote the Master Agenda, while using the other 80% of your content to relate to, engage, educate and connect with your audience. For example, rather than starting a page and just repeatedly posting when the film will release, utilize the contact with more efficiency by bringing followers into the world of the film. Be sure to use photos. There are proven statistics that show that posts with photos receive significantly higher engagement on both Facebook and Twitter. You may want to introduce key crew members, celebrate your noted talent, post on-set pictures of your team at work, and comment on and post articles on topics related to your project. If you continue to say the same things and attempt to push people to action without showing them why they should engage, you chance losing their attention and affection. However, by highlighting the team, their journey and the nuances of the project, you intrigue your followers to follow. Each person differs, so some of your followers may care more about the team than the story, or the process than the final product, or the challenges over the name talent involved. Don’t forget to get your team involved as well. If everyone in your cast and crew takes the time to “like” and “share” your posts, you will grow your audience much more quickly into a built-in audience who already cares about the team involved. By posting a wide variety of information that allows each person to connect intuitively, you increase your chances of engaging each audience member enough that at the end of the day they care about your project, and increase the chance of them taking the final desired action to accomplish your Master Agenda (i.e. buying the film, attending a local screening, voting for your film in a contest, etc.).

“in the moment”—it’s often been referred to as a real-time ongoing conversation. It’s become increasingly popular that many people go to Twitter for their current news before traditional outlets like TV and Radio. It’s a great outlet for things that need to be said now, for breaking news, updates and for interacting with your followers or gathering real-time data. On Facebook a post may involve educating your followers about a key crew member’s unique qualifications and posting their headshot, but on Twitter it should feel more like “breaking news.” You may note when that same crew member receives an award or accomplishes something fantastic on set during that day of filming; you could create a post with a relevant photo noting their accomplishment or a quote from them about a specific moment of the day. Twitter could also be used to broadcast newly released statistics about the social issue your film addresses, to collect real-time data from your followers about something of interest, or to tag onto “trending” news that relates to your film story or subject. You can also use Twitter to note specific events like the contest closing “today” or the film screening happening “tonight.” It’s always about what’s happening now. Remember that each social media outlet is unique and should be treated as such. While Facebook can feel more like the weekly newspaper we sit down to read at our leisure, Twitter is better compared to a breaking news segment on television. If designing a social media strategy that works feels a bit overwhelming, consider asking if anyone on your team has the expertise and can help. You may even want to budget to hire a professional. Because social media can be your most effective tool for reaching a global audience, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a necessary investment for most film projects moving forward. LFV

TIPS FOR USING TWITTER Twitter differs from Facebook in that the conversations are more

Shanna Forrestall is a Consultant, Producer and Social Media Strategist with LA



Film Resources.








urnt is a film about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances. Starring Oscar nominated actor Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, American Sniper) as Chef Adam Jones, Cooper plays an initially unlikeable character who must redeem himself in the eyes of the food critics and the restaurant scene.

“I read the script and admired it,” says director John Wells. “I’m always attracted to good writing, and I was very taken with the character of Adam Jones. He’s a man who has had success in the past, followed by tremendous failure. He disappears, and then comes back, determined to recapture that success. He discovers that he can only do it with the help of other people, something that his narcissism and ego hadn’t bargained for. Steven Knight has written a wonderful story of a man coming to grips with being an adult and what is required to succeed in life, not just in his profession.” “Adam is not an immediately likeable person,” explains Wells. “You put Bradley in there and your sympathies are with him, but you are asking yourself if they should be. He seems to be someone who only cares about himself. The trajectory of the story is Adam’s dark past and following him as he struggles with how to be a mature adult at the moment in life when you’re either going to become one thing or take another direction. Through the help of Helene (Sienna Miller) and the other people around him, he comes to realize that there may be more to life than just looking after his own selfish interests.”

Director John Wells (Center) on the set of TWC’s Burnt.

Bradley Cooper (L) plays “bad boy” Chef Adam Jones in Burnt.

“Bradley is a wonderful actor, and very intelligent, and immediately understood the complexity of Adam’s character,” continues Wells. “He has been very upfront about his own struggles in the past so I felt he would understand what Adam was going through, how difficult it is to give up your obsessions and how hard it is to take that next step. There is a wonderful complexity to Bradley that is present in Adam, and I knew Bradley could bring that to life in his performance.” “We are in the world of professional kitchens, a world I didn’t know a lot about, but the more research I did, the more I was convinced that Bradley was the right choice. He was very courageous to take the role on. It’s not only a difficult role, requiring a nuanced performance because he (his character) is not an immediately likeable person, but it requires enormous technical skill, and a commitment to that skill,” says Wells. “Michelin star chefs are artisans with ten to twenty years of professional training to do that part of their job that is the craft and achieve the artistry to be extraordinary in such a way to attract attention and acclaim. That was a big commitment on Bradley’s part to convey that convincingly. Plus the work environment is dangerous. We built a real kitchen, with real pans on real heat, and stuff flying around at speed.” Wells, who is known for his work creating, writing and producing critical TV hits such as ER and The West Wing, insisted on accurately portraying the world in which the drama is set. He admits that before he started doing his research around kitchens, he hadn’t thought about the perils involved. “When you look around one of those kitchens, the arms of young chefs can be covered in cuts and burns,” explains Wells. “It’s a very physical world and reminded me more of iron workers than what I had in mind, which was a tableau of chefs wandering around in whites and long white hats. In fact, we had a number of people injured in minor, but very painful ways.” ISSUE FIVE 2015



(Helene) for special praise saying, “Sienna was a real trouper in the kitchen. She had one of the more difficult stations, the fish, to work. She spent a tremendous amount of time with Marcus in his kitchen. Throughout the kitchen shoot, she stayed in there and kept at it.” “Because kitchens are multinational with many languages spoken and lots of cross language slang, we were able to cast from a wide group of actors, including many whose work I had admired in foreign language films,” explains Wells. “In addition, we had people like Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, and Alicia Vikander who cleared their busy schedules to fit in their roles. For a director to be able to work with such a group of actors was a great privilege.”

Cooking up some romance with Sienna Miller (L) and Bradley Cooper (R).

World famous chef and restaurateur Mario Batali came on board with Knight in the very early stages of Burnt’s development. A winner of multiple James Beard awards, Batali owns restaurants in cities all over the globe, has penned numerous cookbooks and is a ubiquitous presence on the Food Network. His early days were spent training in London and Northern Italy, a background that would prove crucial to informing Knight’s script for the film. Batali worked closely with the filmmakers when the story was just taking shape, meeting extensively with them and even sharing suggestions on books to read about the culinary arts. He came aboard again during the pre-production process, and his touches can be seen all over the movie, from Bradley Cooper trained alongside Michelin chefs for his role in Burnt. Adam Jones’ proclamations about the almost-religious philosophy of cooking to the idea of including an oyster shack in New Orleans. He even gave Wells and Knight unrestricted access to his “The obsession is in getting it right, and it’s the same in both kitchens in New York’s Del Posto and Babbo as a teaching tool. worlds,” says Wareing who acknowledges that there is an accurate Marcus Wareing, Michelin star chef and presenter of the top comparison of filmmaking to running a Michelin star restaurant. “My job on the film was to impart my experience so that they rated BBC TV show, Master Chef, was also a consultant on the film. He was impressed with Wells’ determination to make the scenes (the actors) look as if they know what they are doing. The actors came into my kitchen and asked all the right questions. They were reflect the reality of life in a Michelin star restaurant. “When the set was finished, I was envious of the size, and it was willing to practice endlessly. Bradley knows how to work a kitchen. He has no fear and adapted to it in a way I can only admire. I like difficult for me not to step into that kitchen; it looked real and felt the respect he showed for my world. Sienna has real application real,” says Wareing. “The level of detail that John insisted on in that and could be a professional (chef) if she wanted to take it further. A set, with the food and the kitchens, reflects what I do. John didn’t restaurant kitchen is like a home kitchen; attack those ingredients want to fake it; the stoves are on, the chefs are cooking. They got and don’t be frightened. Have confidence.” better with each take, and they start to look tired and annoyed, Wells acknowledged the parallels as well saying, “Both are preswhich is what happens in a kitchen every day.” sured environments and need periods of prep. There is pressure “Our non-speaking cast members were all trained chefs, surto get everything right, or there are huge financial penalties. No rounding the main cast,” explains Wells. “Marcus and his team one person does everything, and everyone must work in unison, designed dozens of dishes which had to be duplicated again and trusting in what everyone else is doing, or the job doesn’t get done. again, just as if we were doing a service, putting out 50 to 80 meals The choreography of knowing where you have to be, and where that looked Michelin star quality. I think audiences are quite sophisticated, and they watch a lot of programs about food and everyone else is, is very similar to a film set. The same camaraderie cooking these days. They have a sense of what is authentic so it has exists, as in any tough workplace. They are tough on each other, to be done properly. Marcus and his team were on set every day, but outside work everyone sticks together. And a kitchen is a place keeping us real.” where you love it, or leave quickly.” LFV All of the cast members put in long hours training in kitchens during pre-production in London. Wells singles out Sienna Miller Burnt recently released and is currently playing at theaters nationwide. 34 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE


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ith a $50,000 cash prize on the line for the winning short film, you’d expect some serious entries among the final top 20 films that are screened at the annual Louisiana Film Prize. What I didn’t expect was a group of films that looked as if some of them spent more than the prize amount on their productions. For filmmakers thinking about competing in 2016, if this year is any indication of things to come, your competition will be fierce. As far as the festival experience, Louisiana Film Prize is wonderfully unique.

In the evenings, the VIP lounge was hopping with great food, drinks and a live DJ. There was even hand spun cotton candy! Many of the cast and crew of the competing films could be found taking a break from promoting their films here. Of course, at the core of the festival were 20 great short films which spanned all genres. Some films were shot in black and white, some on 4K. Directors with various skill sets from all over the country flocked to Shreveport to shoot there and participate in the competition; however, there were quite a few local teams as well. What might have been most impressive was that almost all the cast from the top films were from Shreveport, many of whom gave first rate performances. This year’s best actor was awarded to Stan Brown for The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy and best actress went to Georgia Rose Bell for Two Roads. The top five films were American Virgin, Honey and the Hive, Hut Hut, Jackdaw, and The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy. Founders’ Circle Awards were given to Con, American Virgin, The Pickle, Dandelion, Honey and the Hive, Jackdaw, and The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy. While the competition was impressive, this year’s grand prize winning film The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy, by director/ producer Alexander Jeffrey and producers Barry Jeffrey and Paul Petersen, is a rare gem among short films. Seldom does the blend of costumes, locations and camera work so seamlessly to create a cohesive yet subtle tone for a film. If you want to match your auteur skills against up and coming filmmakers, sign up for the 2016 Film Prize Competition and start planning your production. If you’re just looking for a unique and fun festival experience, make the trip next year to Shreveport-Bossier to see the films. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. LFV

If you’re a filmmaker just wanting people to see your short film, Shreveport’s LA Film Prize is the event to go to. Screenings are packed with people waiting in line during prime time evening hours. While the top 20 films were wonderful, I was surprised to see such lines until I understood how audience voting for the film prize worked. The top 20 films are organized into two film blocks: orange and teal. Each attendee’s badge has an orange and a teal box at the bottom. As you exit the theater after watching a film block, the corresponding block on your badge is punched. You can’t vote until both blocks are punched, and of course, you can only vote once! This year, the festival screenings were held at five different locations across the Shreveport-Bossier area. I never wandered further from Film Prize Central which included The Robinson Film Center which featured a well stocked concession counter and a restaurant, The Capri Theater an art deco movie house which has a full bar inside the auditorium, and The Underground Theater which had the unique ambiance of an old downtown office building under construction which was set up as a temporary screening room for the festival. The filmmakers aren’t present at the end of each showing of their film for Q&A sessions; however, a schedule was posted listing when each filmmaker would do their Q&A at a dedicated stage outside. Of course, this was a big incentive to catch both film blocks early. Additionally, many filmmakers were setup on the sidewalks outside the theaters where they talked to festival goers, often bribing them for their votes with homemade cookies, candy and swag. The festival encourages this which adds to the fun. Some of the more interesting ones like Made Hens incorporated games into their booths while others like Freedom of Knowledge heavily incorporated themes, in this case offering attendees Made Hen filmmaker (R) tells all at Shreveport’s LA Film Prize. free books. ISSUE FIVE 2015





(L-R) Actors Ashen Bonaventure, Heaven Needham, and Bryan Blasingame of Scream Queens at the 2015 Baton Rouge Horror Film Festival.



ome film festivals start with a bang, others start with a roar. That was the case for Baton Rouge Horror Film Festival when heavy metal band Axes of Evil kicked off the inaugural event. Horror was on the menu with short films, features, and panel discussions. General sessions for cast and crew of all genres were also open to attendees. Speakers included actors Ashen Bonaventure, Bryan Blasingame and Heaven Needham of Scream Queens; Drew Rin Varrick and Dylan Langlois of American Horror Story; Misty Talley (Director) and Matt Bell (Director Of Photography) of Zombie Shark; and

Axes of Evil kicked off the fest with lead singer Michael Dodd (R).

guest speakers Bill Rainey of the 48 Hour Film Project, Herbert Cavalier of Swamp’D, Nick Blady of Background Actors Guild, and actor/writer/activist Susie Labry. Additionally, the festival recognized numerous films and talent with awards. Trick or treat swag bags were given to attendees and a good time was had by all. LFV

2015 BATON ROUGE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL WINNERS Best Short Film: Invaders Best Full Length Film: PMS: Preteen Monster Syndrome Best Baton Rouge Production: Burial Mounds Strongest Audience Reaction: PMS: Preteen Monster Syndrome Best Director: Misty Talley, Zombie Shark Best Original Story (short film): Night Of The Slasher Best Original Story (full length): Zombie Shark Best Screenplay (adapted): Model Hunger Best Cinematography: Night Of The Slasher Best Female Actress: Lynn Lowry, Model Hunger Best Male Actor: Jason London, Zombie Shark Strongest Cast: Invaders Best Musical Composition: Live Evil






Cosplayers and local musician Wendy Colonna take the stage at Lake Charles Film and Music Festival.

Actor Marshall Teague (Center) presented the $1000 check for best film to the filmmakers of No Greater Love.




here was something to appeal to almost any taste at the 4th annual Lake Charles Film and Music Festival. In addition to screenings of short films, features and music videos, there were panels, live music and even a costume party and contest. Festival Guest of Honor actor Gil Gerard, best known for his role as TV’s Buck Rogers, was unable to attend at the last minute due to illness; however, the festival couldn’t have asked for a better replacement than actor Marshall Teague. Teague is best known for playing the antagonist in scores of productions from Road House to Armageddon to Walker: Texas Ranger. He holds the industry record of the most on camera deaths (105). Teague talked at length about his acting career and his views on the entertainment business. Louisiana Film & Video Magazine’s Editor White Hawk Bourne was on hand to interview Teague for attendees at the event. Some of the most valuable advice he had for the many actors in attendance was for auditioning for parts. Teague advised not to be chatty when first entering the room. He said since almost all readings are on camera now, he Actor Marshall Teague always asks where he should stand, what his eyeline or mark to look at should be, and what the frame of the camera is so that he remains in the shot. He also likes to learn all the lines of all the characters of a scene he’s in, not just his own so he has better understanding of not only the scene but his character’s motivations. Teague was very generous with his time answering questions, posing for pictures, and talking about productions before and after his panel. Teague

was even on hand to award the $1,000 filmmaking cash prize to the Best of Show: No Greater Love. Other winners included: Best Actor: Major Dodge (Captured) Best Actress: Vanessa Ray (All In Time) Best Feature Film: Calamity Best Short Film: Times Like Dying Best Web Series: Detention Best Documentary Feature: No Greater Love Best Documentary Short: Delta Justice: The Islenos Trappers War Best Feature Screenplay: Cold Progress Best Short Screenplay: Richter’s War Best Animated Film: Snack Attack Best Foreign Film: Hyena’s Blood Best 48 Hour Film Sprint: The Traveler Best Music Video: Devil In The White City Best Student Film-College: Perfect Machine Best Student Film-High School: We All Go The Same Best Home Grown Film: Atchafalaya, which received a special prize of a weekend of shooting at John Schneider’s 58 acre studio in Holden, Louisiana. Lake Charles Film and Music Festival tried to provide opportunities for filmmakers anywhere to be involved in the festival. Shortly before the festival, they sponsored a virtual 48 hour film shoot available for anyone in the world to participate. Top films were screened at the festival and this year’s winner was Best 48 Hour Film Sprint: The Traveler. Writer/director Christopher Mihm known for his ‘50s B-grade style films was on hand to screen one of his films, The Giant Spider. Mihm is credited on 10 features all with budgets under $25,000. After the film, he talked about micro budget indie filmmaking and answered questions from the crowd. The closing night party at Lake Charles Film and Music Festival featured a live musical performance by Lake Charles native Wendy Colonna. The next day at Lake Charles’ Tipitina’s all the winning films were screened again in a special showcase. While the festival was certainly fan friendly, it definitely was a great event for anyone working in the film industry. LFV ISSUE FIVE 2015



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ach year, New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) screens some studio fare, many of which were shot in Louisiana. This year was no exception with films like Our Brand is Crisis and I Saw the Light making their Louisiana premieres. The festival’s opening night film, Born to Blue, was actually posted in Louisiana. For some the biggest premiere was the re-opening of the Orpheum Theater, a historic landmark that had been shuttered since Hurricane Katrina.


Opening Night Gala at the historic Civic Theatre.

Other Oscar hopefuls such as Room, Carol and closing night film Brooklyn, while not shot or posted in Louisiana, got rave reviews from audiences. In fact Room won an Audience Spotlight Award. Of course this year marked the first time that a winning documentary short from NOFF would qualify for the Oscars. Invisible (Niewidzialne) by Zofia Pregowska took that honor. In general, it was a bumper crop for films this year. The pool of NOFF submissions numbered over 3,400 and represented 100 countries of origin, both records for the organization. The 172 films selected from submissions that screened this year represent 48 features and 124 shorts. All shorts competed for a jury award, and a small number of feature films competed for a jury award. New Orleans Film Festival, as usual, was complete with parties, panels, food, and music. At the Filmmakers Awards Ceremony and Brunch at Republic, hundreds of filmmakers, jurors and NOFF staff gathered to hear the announcement of the 2015 Jury Award Winners. After the festival, Audience Choice Winners were announced. These ten winners were selected from more than 190 films, which included 68 feature-length and 124 short films. Voting was conducted by completing ballots upon exiting film screenings. The closing night party was at the historic Latter Library. Many attendees were already caught up in the Oscar buzz speculating who might get nominated based on what they had seen. Filmmakers were still networking, but many party guests were tired from the nine days of festivities. It was a spectacular event with something for almost any cinephile. If you plan to travel to NOFF in 2016, you may want to add on a few days to your vacation so you can actually get some rest! LFV For more coverage on New Orleans Film Festival, be sure to see our articles in this issue on Our Brand is Crisis, I Saw the Light, Reversing the Mississippi, Little Hero,

Apex Post Award for Best Sound in a Louisiana Film Prize: $2500 in sound services from APEX Post The Mourning Hills Director: R. Todd Campbell Apex Post Special Mention for Best Sound in a Louisiana Film Prize: $1000 in sound services from APEX Post Us Against The World Director: Andrea Kühnel Cinematography Award: Louisiana Narrative Feature Prize: $10,000 camera package from CineVerse Winner: DJ McConduit Cinematography credits: Love Me True (feature); Copper Kingdom, The Lot and Tough Love (shorts) Cinematography Award: Louisiana Narrative Short Prize: $10,000 camera package from CineVerse Winner: Natalie Kingston, who shot five different films Cinematography credits: 2B or Not 2B, Atchafalaya, Dandelion, Rite and Si JURY AWARDS ANIMATION Jurors: Emily Hubley, Florian Perinelle, Leah Shore Special Jury Award: Animation Prize: Toon Boom Harmony Premium (one year license) We Can’t Live Without the Cosmos Director: Konstantin Bronzit Helen Hill Jury Award for Animation Prize: Toon Boom Storyboard Pro (one year license); Toon Boom Harmony Premium (one year license) The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal (El sol como un gran animal oscuro) Director: Christina Felisgrau and Ronnie Rivera EXPERIMENTAL SHORTS Jurors: Jane Cassidy, Joris Lindhout, Leslie Raymond

Louisiana Film & Video Magazine’s Party at NOFF, 7 Things I Learned From the Free Panels at NOFF, Love Me True and the #CreateLA Film Prize. ISSUE FIVE 2015



Simon Kilmurry, executive director of the International Documentary Association Hotel Nueva Isla Director: Irene Gutierrez

Jury Winner: Experimental Short Prize: $250 from the New Orleans Film Society and LomoKino and LomoKinoscope package Something About Which Nothing Can Be Said Director: Ted Kennedy Crowds for NOFF’s Driving While Black NARRATIVE SHORTS Jurors: Ian Samuels, Dan Schoenbrun, Lauren Wolkstein Special Jury Award: Narrative Short World Wide Woven Bodies (Verdensvevde kropper) Director: Truls Krane Meby Special Jury Award: Narrative Short Drifters Director: Anu Valia

Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Festival Jolene Pinder

Jury Winner: Narrative Short Prize: $2,500 in film stock from Kodak Turtle (Wu gui) Director: Jordan Schiele DOCUMENTARY SHORTS Jurors: Sara Kiener, Simon Kilmurry, Jason Osder

NARRATIVE FEATURES Jurors: Eric Kohn, Stephanie Langoff, Dylan Marchetti Jury Winner: Narrative Feature Prize: $10,000 camera package sponsored by Panavision Embers Director: Claire Carré Programmer’s Award for Artistic Vision Prize: $250 Cash from the New Orleans Film Society and LomoKino and LomoKinoscope Package Winner: Grazia Tricarico Director credits: Mona Blonde, Persefone (shorts) AUDIENCE AWARDS

Actress, journalist, and activist Susie Labry

Spotlight Film Room Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Special Jury Award: Documentary Short Little Hero Directors: Marcus A. McDougald, Jennifer Medvin

Narrative Feature Driving While Black Director: Paul Sapiano

Jury Winner: Documentary Short Prize: $500 from the New Orleans Film Society Invisible (Niewidzialne) Director: Zofia Pregowska

Documentary Feature Harry & Snowman Director: Ron Davis

LOUISIANA SHORTS Jurors: Stephanie Allain, Christine D’Souza, Vadim Rizov Special Jury Mention: Louisiana Narrative Short The Love Song of M. Anderson Vincent Director: Chen Gu

Oscar nominated Actress Quvenzhané Wallis

Louisiana Feature Prize: $5,000 equipment rental package from Hollywood Rentals Delta Justice: The Isleños Trappers War Director: David DuBos Narrative Short Actresses Director: Jeremy Hersh

Jury Winner: Louisiana Short Prize: $10,000 Post-Production Package from Digital FX Rite Director: Morgan Roberts

Documentary Short Boxeadora Director: Meg Smaker

LOUISIANA FEATURE Jury Winner: Louisiana Feature Prize: $10,000 Camera Package sponsored by Panavision Consequence Directors: Jonathan Nguyen, Ashley George

NOFF Filmmaker’s Reception

Louisiana Short Prize: $10,000 post-production package from Digital FX The Exceptionally Extraordinary Emporium Director: Lindsey Phillips Experimental Short shegetsey betsey Director: Betsey Brown

Special Jury Award: Louisiana Feature The King of New Orleans Directors: Allen Frederic (co-directors: Coodie & Chike) NOFF Closing Night red carpet DOCUMENTARY FEATURES Jurors: Elena Fortes, Jennifer MacArthur, Basil Tsiokos

Animated Short We Can’t Live Without Cosmos Director: Konstantin Bronzit

Jury Winner: Documentary Feature Prize: $500 from the New Orleans Film Society, a Zacuto DSLR Z-Finder Pro and a consultation with

Music Video “Connection” by Jambinai Director: Hyunjeong Shin WWL Film Reviewer Alfred Richard (R)








(L-R) Billy Bob Thornton as Pat Candy and Sandra Bullock as Jane in Warner Bros. Pictures and Participant Media’s satirical comedy Our Brand is Crisis.



ur Brand is Crisis was a personal premiere for the New Orleans Film Office who helped introduce the film at the New Orleans Film Festival. Located in City Hall, the New Orleans Film Office shared part of their building with the cast and crew during filming.

Packed with Oscar award winning talent, Our Brand is Crisis stars Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade) and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the Oscar-winning producers of Argo. The film is directed by David Gordon Green whose film Undertow played at New Orleans Film Festival over a decade ago. Green directs from a screenplay by Oscar nominee Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), suggested by the documentary by Rachel Boynton, which outlined the American political campaign marketing tactics employed in the real-life 2002 Bolivian presidential election. “So much of politics and the election process is absurd, from big business to the media circus, the sound bites and the haircuts,” says director David Gordon Green. “Politics has become entertainment and marketing. That’s where the movie has some fun and a sense of humor, in exposing that absurdity, which gives the story its energy

and momentum even as the characters are facing some difficult issues that we definitely don’t tiptoe around.” “This isn’t a partisan thing,” adds Heslov, who produced the film in tandem with his Smokehouse Pictures partner George Clooney. “You can stand on either side and see it; the crazy amount of money involved and the B.S. that goes on. It’s something that has always interested us, the idea of winning at whatever cost. In the case of Jane Bodine (Bullock), the cost is her soul, and that’s what she’s coming to terms with.” “With some films the tone is very straightforward. Oddly enough, we rarely make those films,” explains Heslov. “We usually find ones where the tone is on the precipice and can go several ways. This film is darkly funny, and also has moments of great seriousness, and there are underlying issues worthy of real thought.” Interestingly, Heslov reveals that in the script’s earliest incarnation when Smokehouse was still developing the project, the part of the lead strategist was male. After Bullock read it and noted what a great role it could be for a woman, they took another look. “George and I thought that was a good idea,” recalls Heslov, “so we went to the writer, Peter Straughan, and said let’s change it; let’s make this character a woman and see how that works. And we really liked it.” Bullock recalls that apart from fleshing out some minor details and subtleties, the transformation proved relatively effortless, as the conflicts and aspirations Jane reflects are universal saying, “I didn’t want the character to change, or her being a woman to alter the main story points or connections.” ISSUE FIVE 2015



“The thing I loved about this role was that there didn’t seem to be any rules or boundaries, whether emotionally or in the tone,” explains Bullock. “And that was indicative of the whole story, which I feel really represents life in that there’s no such thing as all drama or all laughs in day-to-day events. Even serious stories can have painfully funny elements, and you can find drama and tragedy in funny moments. I was drawn to this character and this film because of those complexities.” “Working on this project only confirmed what I always thought existed in the political world,” continues Bullock. But at the same time, she observes, “The film is not really as much about politics as it is about people and what drives them. It’s set in the tense, ticking-clock world of a political election and you David Gordan Green (Center) surveys a shot while filming Our Brand is Crisis get caught up in what’s going to happen next but to me it’s more Director in Louisiana. about which of these people are going to do the right thing, and what that means. You see the comedy and the absurdity, the “Jane and Pat are chess players, but chess players moving real pain and chaos that is often caused by people who just want to people around the board,” explains Thornton. “Pat Candy is so win and you think, ‘If it was you, would you be strong enough to confident and so good at what he does that he probably gets bored get off the carousel?’” easily and so he constantly has to stir things up to keep himself in“I imagine political consultants are, in a lot of ways, like actors,” terested. When he sees Jane, he thinks, ‘Good, now I have someone adds Billy Bob Thornton, who stars as Bullock’s rival Pat Candy. to play with.’” “Sometimes you do things because it’s something you really love “We created a whole unspoken history between these two charand are passionate about; other times, hopefully not too often, you acters because we wanted it to feel, from the moment they were do it because you’re a professional, and you’re getting paid so you together on screen, that there was subtext,” says Bullock. “Othergo in there and turn it ‘on’ in that moment.” wise, I don’t think there would have been the same dynamic and “I love this kind of powerful, adversarial relationship that may the feeling that we were saying one thing but meaning something also have just a hint of affection,” continues Thornton. “They get else or alluding to some secret, shared past.” it, what most people wouldn’t understand. They know what it’s “Did they or didn’t they? That’s something I’ve often asked myall about.” self,” Thornton teases, though offering no definitive answer to just “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and worked with a lot of how close Jane and Pat might once have been. actors, and I have to say that working with Sandra has been a real The practical challenges of shooting entirely in Bolivia led the pleasure,” he continues. “She’s been the girl next door, she’s been production to alternative sites, including Puerto Rico, which served a big commercial movie draw, and she’s been an edgy actress who as a convincing proxy for exteriors, and New Orleans, where many delivers award-winning performances. Sandra’s run the gamut, of the indoor scenes were filmed. The filmmakers followed this and she knows what kind of weight to bring to a role like this. with a week of shooting in Bolivia, where Green says he sought loShe’s got grit.” cations infused with “life, rust and texture,” to complete the illusion “Billy Bob just transforms on screen with all that mischievousthat they had been there all along. ness and evil,” says Bullock. “I would have to take a deep breath Cinematographer Tim Orr who has been working with director every time we started a scene because I had no idea what that man David Gordon Green since film school 15 years ago, opted to shoot was going to bring. Yet I trusted him completely.” on film, noting, “I wanted it to be vivid. I also processed the film for more saturation, contrast and grain to make it look more realistic and give it a bit of grit while still having a sense of cinematic style and craft.” Pursuing that balance, Orr also alternated between fluid dolly shots and handheld camera work, using handheld especially in the campaign office and some of the street scenes, where it offered a natural feel. Additionally, his selection of lens length or the amount of movement the cameras had in relation to their subjects infused the action with what he calls “a kinetic energy.” For New Orleans, Production Designer Richard A. Wright, who also has been collaborating with Green since film school, used source images from Bolivia to craft the interiors and exteriors. “Architecturally, La Paz (Bolivia) has different looks, but the vast majority of it is brick block,” explains Wright. “The color of the walls is mainly terracotta except where it’s been painted by graffiti (L-R) Ann Dowd as Nell, Sandra Bullock as Jane and Reynaldo Pacheco as Eddie. or fading paint so we tried to infuse those elements of color into 48 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE


the mix. There are murals and some wildand other images shot in La Paz to location footage in Puerto Rico and New Orleans. style graffiti and political statements rolled Finally, with a storyline requiring crowds right onto the walls, houses, and everywhere and so much action on the streets, backyou look. We wanted to bring as much of that ground casting became a major challenge. as we could to New Orleans.” “Our graphic designer, Jason Perrine (with Luckily, Houston, Texas, is home to one of the help from Bolivian Spanish-language advilargest Bolivian communities in the U.S., and sors), made signs, political posters, and even some 400 of its residents signed up to appear outlet sticker covers that, from a distance, in the film. look like Bolivian outlets,” adds Wright. “We “One of our biggest challenges was assearched New Orleans for those tiny wedges sembling people for the background,” says of space that, with a little adjustment, could producer Heslov. “New Orleans isn’t known create the illusion of Bolivia. If something for its large Bolivian population, so we cast a looked particularly American, we would cover wide net. We drew extras from Arizona, New it with posters or graffiti. It not only helped Mexico and other states.” set the scene but served to camouflage where Actor Reynaldo Pacheco who portrays we actually were.” Eddie is actually from Bolivia and director (L-R) Actor Billy Bob Thornton discusses a scene with director David Gordon Green on the set of The transformation of New Orleans even Green credits him with being “a collabfooled actors at times. Citing a demonstration Our Brand is Crisis. orator and navigator” and adding to the sequence filmed in New Orleans, actor Scoot film’s authenticity. Pacheco has family in La McNairy (Buckley) recalls, “We were in traffic, a good quarter of a Paz, and the production schedule culminated in an emotional mile. I looked at the spray paint and graffiti and all the little shops, homecoming. and thought, ‘This neighborhood is amazing; it’s perfect.’ Then I “It was surreal, starting in New Orleans and Puerto Rico, seeing saw the rest of the street and realized the neighborhood wasn’t like how they were recreating Bolivia, and then actually being there,” that at all. Richard had come in and designed this entire 15 blocks Pacheco recounts. “We filmed in Achocalla, an hour and a half of greatness.” away from the main Plaza Murillo. It’s a symbolic location for Wright built nearly a dozen stage sets in New Orleans, including political campaigns because the candidates have to travel around the snowbound cabin where Ben (Anthony Mackie) and Nell (Ann from town to town, making the same speech and the same promisDowd) first approach Jane about joining the Castillo campaign, the es and that’s what we were capturing there.” “I loved the fact that Reynaldo is from La Paz,” notes Green. “In Bolivian jail cell where Jane lands after an uncharacteristic night on the town, and the worn interior of Eddie’s home. that respect, he became a collaborator and navigator for me. Even The most complex set, explains Wright, was Jane’s hotel room though the reality of his life was very different from Eddie’s, there saying, “The room opens up to a balcony, and there’s a lot of back was still a great cultural understanding, which helped us create a and forth between this balcony and the inside of the room. The character that felt authentic.” exterior was shot in Puerto Rico while the set was in New Orleans “Eddie represents the innocence we all had,” explains Bullock. so we spent a lot of time trying to coordinate the balcony with a “Unfortunately, we all remember the moment when we realized we green screen to match the location footage.” couldn’t un-see or un-know what we know. You can’t go backVisual Effects, overseen by VFX supervisors Jonathan Hairman wards. I think people will remember a time when they thought and Jonathan Dearing, was an integral part of blending three people did things for good, and that politicians and governments locations to resemble one, matching extensive plates of mountains were pure, but then they stepped out into the world and realized that everything is for sale; everything has a price. Eddie is at the point right before that moment, and you watch him, knowing that he’s going to get crushed.” “If Jane is not the same person at the end of the movie, it’s partly because of the way he has gotten under her skin and reminded her of who she once was,” adds Bullock. Green insists the film deals with universal problems and themes saying, “We’re not trying to take a political viewpoint but rather to explore some of these thoughts through an ensemble of characters that deal with it in different ways. I think what a movie like this can do is open a conversation about what people’s motives are as political representatives or consultants, and shine a light on some of the things going on in the culture in a fun and engaging way.” LFV (L-R) Anthony Mackie as Ben and Sandra Bullock as Jane in Our Brand is Crisis.

Our Brand is Crisis recently released and is currently out at theaters nationwide. ISSUE FIVE 2015



CHUCK PICERNI JR. Chuck Picerni’s unique array of talents as a director, 2nd unit director and stunt coordinator/ action expert has enabled him to create, capture and deliver the kind of action films audiences have been flocking to theaters to see for years! A driving force behind some of Hollywood’s top blockbusters, his work has helped bring in over $3 billion in box office receipts. Chuck has been one of the industry’s most exciting “go-to” creative forces. Chuck has been in the industry for over 36 years and there are no signs of him, or his reputation that precedes him, slowing down. Chuck’s action career began as an elite stunt performer on the original series Starsky and Hutch. Through his creative talent and vision, Chuck emerged as one of the most successful and sought-after directors and stunt coordinators in the industry. Chuck is able to fuse all elements of his filmmaking evolution to continually redefine the realm of possibility and generate his distinctive style of extraordinary action films. Chuck is represented by UTA (Mike Rubi) 310273-6700.

MET SALIH Originally from London, Met Salih moved to LA ten years ago to pursue a career in film. She is a trained actress and has been a martial artist since her teens. Whilst in LA she attended fight choreography classes, which then led her to follow a career in stunts. Met has worked on many blockbuster movies, has had the opportunity to double numerous actresses and has worked with some of the most talented stunt coordinators in the business. On the contrary, she is also a Reiki practitioner and enjoys the opportunity to make a difference. Met states, “I love the action and adrenaline I get to experience whilst acting and doing stunts; it is a form of escaping your own world and stepping into someone else’s. With energy work you experience the exact opposite; you go inside yourself and remind yourself of who you really are and how you can contribute to the world.” She is currently doubling the lead actress on NCIS: New Orleans and continues to train and be the best she can. Met is 5 ft./106 lbs. •

LOVE ME TRUE PREMIERES AT THE FEST Premiere Pic left to right: John Swider (producer), Felicia Stallard (executive producer), Kirby Voss (director), Andrew Gude (lead), William McGovern (co-star)



ne of the films I enjoyed most at New Orleans Film Festival was the locally shot and produced Love Me True. Comedy can be very difficult to execute. It relies not only on a great script and fantastic performances, but also on comedic timing in the edit. Love Me True had all these things and more. The tone was a cross between Napoleon Dynamite and Scott Pilgrim. While acting legend Eric Roberts was wonderful, local actor William McGovern stole the scenes delivering the real standout comedic performance. Local producer John Swider explains how this great project came together.

Premiere party fun with producer John Swider (L)

“I first got involved in the project while at a network event,” says Swider. “Director Kirby Voss was introduced to me by a mutual friend, Greg Tilton, and from there we set up a meeting. Before ISSUE FIVE 2015



Eric Rice sound mixing.

Shooting a scene with Kirby Voss and DP DJ McConduit.

(L–R) Kirby Voss directing Jamie Wallace on how to scream.

Kirby Voss in front of the picture car on the Love Me True opening set. 52 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE


this meeting I read the script, and felt I could benefit the project immensely both through casting, managing the production all the way through to the post, and onto the film fest circuit as well as distribution. I immediately teamed up with Joshua Territo, 1st AD, and mapped out a plan of attack for filming and equipment. Fortunately, we already had a great cinematographer in DJ McConduit and had other key players in place. Our biggest score in the beginning was when our awesome Executive Producer (EP), Felicia Stallard, approved a budget for me to secure Oscar nominated icon, Eric Roberts, to play a supporting role as Father Anthony. Eric accepted our offer, we flew him in, and the rest is on the screen!” “After Eric, it was critical for us to secure as many local greats as possible to fill in the plethora of supporting roles still available in the script,” recalls Swider. “An advantage of having produced multiple films is that I already knew who rocked, and was able to get them in front of the director for approval. That got us local greats, Escalante Lundy, Kim Collins, Natalie Wetta, and many more including Terry McNeal who plays an agent and is also a bonafide acting agent! My cameo in the movie as Kirk, the belligerent jerk, was fun as well!” Swider continues, “After many obstacles were overcome during the filming, we persevered as all indie films must, and secured several outstanding people as part of the post. It really helped when we secured Oscar winning composer Donald Markowitz. For the editor I went to the one man I knew who could really guide us in the right direction, and that was Danny Retz, a UNO professor and artist in residence. He graciously screened some of our footage and recommended Thomas Baumgardener for the position, another great choice. We chose a local for our theme song, ‘Love Me True,’ and Willie Murray killed it. Our songs even include those by Eric Roberts’ son, Keaton Simmons.” “It was a long journey, over a year and a half, but we were super excited to have our World Premiere at our own New Orleans Film Festival this past October 19,” adds Swider. “We screened to a sold out crowd and went on to win a Best Cinematography award in the process thanks to DJ. Our management team of Felicia, Kirby, and myself also planned and executed a really fun premiere party in partnership with the New Orleans Film Society that went well into the night.” “We will be playing next at the Los Angeles Comedy Fest for our California Premiere. While we have a very competitive offer on the table from an established distributor, due to confidentiality clauses, it’s still under wraps. Shhhhhh,” says Swider with a big smile. “While this project has grown and we are actively in the festival and distribution process, this film also served to launch another endeavor which is having a profound impact on disadvantaged kids in the area. Our EP, Felicia Stallard, saw how the young filmmakers working on this film were able to use this experience to catapult their budding careers in the industry while she was actively looking for a way to realize her philanthropic goal of helping disadvantaged kids,” explains Swider. “Putting one and one together she founded The COOL Cooperative, a six year, full-person development program which uses the magic of film to connect and inspire 7-12th graders after school. While

Oscar nominated actor Eric Roberts plays an understanding priest in Love Me True.

I was there as a mentor and film volunteer in its first year, I was pleased to be selected as the Executive Director this past September. Now, I get to produce two films a month with 12 and 13 year old


I am an aspiring stunt performer. I have a background in martial arts (specifically Sanshou or Chinese kickboxing), and some stunt courses under my belt. My specialty and passion would have to be screen fighting though. I love the balletic movements yet frenetic energy of Hong Kong-style fight choreography, the likes of which you are starting to see in film today! It’s caught on like wildfire in the fight film industry. To make something so engaging and amazing to watch takes a lot of hard work, grit, sweat, and maybe even a few bruises. But it would be totally worth it! I would love to and will bring this type of energy and choreography to the film fight world, and would love to work alongside others that share this same passion. I am Sean Meteye, Stunt Guy. And this is my dream.

BTS of the fight choreography with producer John Swider and lead actor Andrew Gude.

casts and crews; it’s really fun, and not too different from the feature films I have been making. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but when’s the last time you saw a kid make a full feature documentary?” LFV

(L) David Villarrubia, Owner of Degas House Courtyard Inn on Esplanade, having fun at Louisiana Film and Video Magazine’s party at NOFF.

Lee MacKenzie from Fameagency (Center) and friends attend this year’s party at Hotel Modern and Bellocq.


(L-R) Cheers! Megan Ryburn (Center) talks with Steven Ammaro (L) and New Orleans Plantation Country Film Liaison Jo Banner (R) Networking with Kim Baptiste (Center) and Johnny Rock (R)


L The Film Pointe crew was on hand to catch all the action.

Parent company Media-Inc’s general manager, John Rusnak, meets local actor, activist, and contributing writer Susie Labry. 54 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE


ouisiana Film & Video Magazine (LFVM) recently hosted a festive reception on Friday, October 16 in conjunction with the New Orleans Film Festival. It was packed! Lots of filmmakers and local actors were there at the LFVM party. Because of the good turnout, there were so many people coming and going that I did not get to meet and see everybody there. Guest of honor, local actor Jordan Salloum, was friendly and approachable. He has been in many movies including Oldboy and Get Hard. He has been collaborating a lot lately with writer/director/actor/producer John Schneider and is in three of his upcoming films: Like Son, Anderson Bench, and Hate Crime. Actor Dwight Henry from Beasts of the Southern Wild was also in attendance. I loved the venue at Bellocq; however, if it were not for my colleague Joan Gossett who is also a writer for Louisiana Film & Video Magazine, I would have not known about the lounge connected to Bellocq in Hotel Modern. It was beautiful and the hospitality was super! Editor White Hawk Bourne was the host in this lounge where she was serving up her Red Carpet Punch, a sweet, homemade rum concoction which everyone really enjoyed. It was going fast! In the foyer that connected Bellocq and the lounge was some good cheese and dip and nice healthy crackers and chips. The

(L-R) Guest of Honor, actor Jordan Salloum with Kaitlyn Bosley at this year’s event.

(Center) Award winning Actor Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild) is surrounded by talent and beauty at Louisiana Film and Video Magazine’s party at NOFF.


Actors Deanna Meske (L) and Roy Farthing (Center) look at the latest issue of Louisiana Film and Video Magazine while others look on.

beauty of the drinks and food was that it was unique. I also really appreciated the good Dasani water that was provided. There was a great warmth in the atmosphere of this party. It was very relaxing and laid back. I felt so much at home. I enjoyed this party because this was time I had to be with my friends in the film industry. I loved the way the magazines were fanned and laid out. It was a great way to get it to those involved in the festival. As a writer for LFVM, I felt appreciated as a content provider for the magazine. I enjoyed meeting some of the executives of the magazine’s parent company and was invited to photo op with them, which was an honor. The event was a great networking opportunity for everyone. I was glad attendance was high because it was a chance for filmmakers to see and focus on the magazine. For me it was great for talking to locals about tax credits, answering questions about the last legislative session’s damages to the film industry tax credits and what next step to take regarding tax credits, and informing folks about the upcoming local elections. People questioned me about the candidates’ stand on the caps and on the legislation that just passed. A film crew from Pointe Coupee attended and interviewed our editor, White Hawk Bourne. I spent quite a bit of time talking to filmmaker and Louisiana Film & Video Magazine contributor Mark Terry. Other notable locals in attendance included American Horror Story actor Drew Varick and filmmakers Deanna Meske and Johnny Rock. Local podcast personality Brian Held also spent a lot of time in the back lounge. I loved that room in the back. There was even a DJ spinning records there for a while in the lounge. I saw many old friends and met many new ones. It was definitely one of my highlights at this year’s New Orleans Film Festival. LFV

Comedian Allison Hotard and Actor Drew Varick (American Horror Story)

(L-R) Actors and contributing magazine photographer and writer (respectively) Cherrae Stuart and Mark Terry show off their work. Surprise special guest The Week in Geek radio show host, Brian Held, Jr.

(L-R) Actor Jordan Salloum talking with Louisiana Film and Video Magazine Editor White Hawk Bourne. ISSUE FIVE 2015



Anne Conway Photography MFA, Photographer

Portraits, Stills, Events, Architecture and Interiors. Commissions Welcomed.

Anne Conway Jennings New Orleans, LA 56 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE





ew Orleans Film Festival was a great experience,” says Reversing the Mississippi Director Ian Midgley. “I was surprised at how many filmmakers, industry, and film lovers attended. The parties were quite fun and in great venues all over the city so it seemed people who hadn’t been to the city received a pretty good understanding of what New Orleans has to offer. I also was able to see some solid documentaries and features while there.” “Our premiere was excellent,” continues Midgley. “We had nearly 200 people in attendance at the Prytania Theater and a great Q&A afterwards with several characters from the documentary. It felt

Q and A at the Premiere with director Ian Midgley (center), OSBG founder Nat Turner (R of Ian), and alumni from OSBG.

The audience loved the film!

rewarding to bring the film back to the city where much of it was shot and to have important conversations about revitalization of under-served communities.” It’s important to note that this is Midgley’s first feature film. He explains, “When I turned 25 I put all my stuff in storage, bought a camera, and started traveling across the country looking for people who were creating their own realities. I was documenting many different ways of living to share what I found with other people who were also looking for alternatives.” “I filmed most of the movie on a Sony EX1 with some additional footage on DSLR cameras,” adds Midgley. “I filmed on and off from 2011 through 2013. I filmed the majority of the movie as a one man band. It allowed me intimate access to Director Ian Midgley with his partner Lauren Wade my characters. For at the Opening Night Festivities. the final two weeks of production, I had two producers travel with me from Los Angeles to help with coordinating and additional camerawork.” “There were many challenging moments over the years from funding to filming to post production. Since this was my first feature documentary, it was quite a learning experience. I’d say the most difficult moment was when we were trying to get a DIY tractor onto a trailer towards the end of filming. The tractor looked like it was going to tip sideways off the trailer at one point. It was a very stressful situation, but thanks to quick thinking the fabricators of the tractor were able to switch the hydraulic plumbing around to give us extra power to get the machine safely onto the trailer,” says Midgley. “It was exciting and exhausting,” Midgley recalls. “I used the website to find hosts in most of the cities I stayed in and was able to make great friends. In between destinations, I would sleep in my truck. I was filming about 14 hours a day and then managing my own footage. I had over 400 hours of footage by the end. It was amazing to see nearly the entire country. It is a remarkably different place from one town to the next, full of warm and interesting folks. The few times I felt threatened were miniscule in comparison to all the memorable experiences of strangers inviting me into their homes and sharing their lives with me. That’s why I love documentary filmmaking.” LFV ISSUE FIVE 2015










anels of the New Orleans Film Festival were varied and rigorous. Subjects ranged from pitching a film project, music in film, crowdfunding, distribution, the future of web-based content, and the impact of tax credit legislation on the Louisiana film industry. There were lessons in the art of pitching when industry professionals gave immediate feedback to selected participants’ three minute presentations in the Pitch Perfect Student Competition for university-level film students across the American South. Pitch Perfect Open Call offered this opportunity to filmmakers working in Louisiana. The winners of each competition received a cash prize and the Movie Magic software package. The Open Call winner also received a sponsored trip to the NAB Show. With thoughtful questions and skillful moderation, panelists shared their varied and extensive views and experiences.

throughout their careers. Despite the tectonic shifts introduced by technology (statistics show mobile use as 65% of views), story remains primary. 3. Cut to the Edge Go for the new thing. Newer platforms offer entrants better opportunities, since the established platforms like YouTube are now much harder to break into. New trends are in immersive technologies, especially as companies embark in developing and improving virtual reality technology and companies are seeking content. Immersive participatory experiences are enhanced with collaboration. 4. Sustain The independent filmmaker panelists in Making a Film + Making a Living: Sustainability in the Film Industry shared their experiences in the trenches and offered strategic approaches.

The WIFT Panel featured documentary and narrative filmmakers who discussed Making a Living: Sustainability in the Film Industry.

Standing room only for the WIFT Panel at the New Orleans Film Festival.

Question and answer sessions generated dynamic exchanges with audience members. Here’s what I learned: 1. Do a Shot For the Do a Shot of Super 8 workshop, I received instruction from Kodak’s Michael Brown to operate a Super 8 camera. I got to shoot my own Super 8 roll with a Pro8mm camera. Michael talked about types of film, planning for the 2.5 minute content (at 24 frames per second), and framing. As in the olden days of yore, my reel would be processed. It would then be compiled and edited together with other participants’ films and made available online—a new media remix with an analog camera. 2. Computing: Story’s #1 Coming to a (Computer) Screen Near You: A Conversation about the Future of Web-Based Content presented creators, programmers and funders, who quite frequently had had various roles and functions

Recommendations included developing awareness for what worked best for each individual since filmmaking, writing, developing craft, etc., requires concentrated time and effort. For some, freelancing was optimal, while others thrived with a consistent and steady work schedule. One strategy was to work part time for full time pay. Other strategies were to minimize one’s cost of living and maximize resources (e.g. purchase used equipment, educational institutions may offer legal resources, etc.). 5. I Am My Client Make one’s self a client. Create time/space for one’s own projects with a viable workflow. Is the project fundable? Ask for what one wants. 6. Cha-change Changes in the film industry over time were acknowledged. Although it costs less to make films, filmmakers are asked to do more such as being required to shape an audience. Interactivity is a challenge to sustainability with the fragility and dynamism of technology. Companies, however, do seek shorts for their online platforms, which could be a source of funding. 7. Commune Panelists acknowledged the importance of creating community, networking, participating in groups, and attending parties. LFV ISSUE FIVE 2015








Saw the Light was a treat for film aficionados who managed to score a ticket to the Louisiana premiere of the film at the recent New Orleans Film Festival. Everyone else may have to wait until March to see the Hank Williams biopic that shot in the Shreveport-Bossier area last year.

Tom Hiddleston IS Hank Williams in I Saw the Light.

“He was such an extraordinary man,” says actor Tom Hiddleston of Hank Williams. “In my mind, I always think of him like a firework, a firework that was burning brightly, made people gasp in awe, and gave people delight, but then blazed and burned out very fast.” Hiddleston has chosen a broad range and genre of roles recently. Best known as Marvel super-villain Loki, Hiddleston also starred in Guillermo del Toro’s recent Gothic, supernatural thriller Crimson Peak. Country legend Hank Williams was an interesting choice for the British actor. “It’s hard to say why I choose to do the films that I do,” says Hiddleston. “It’s hard to say why I play the characters I choose to play, but it’s always something instinctive. It’s a pure gut feeling.” “There was something in Marc Abraham’s script, which I read for the first time four years ago, in March 2012, which seemed incredibly authentic, which I really connected to,” continues Hiddleston. “Marc had written Hank Williams with such compassion and lack of judgment. He’d taken this very famous man, an icon of American music, a legend in songwriting, folk and blues, and he’d written the man behind the icon. He had somehow tapped into the heartbeat of a legend, with all of his vulnerabilities and fallibilities, his weakness, pain and grief, and at the same time, his joy and playfulness, mischief and energy, and white-hot talent.” Hiddleston shared Abraham’s belief that Hank’s music and personal life including the ups and the downs were deeply intertwined. “It was very important to tell the truth. I felt, and I know Marc felt, a great responsibility to Hank Williams, to the legacy of Hank Williams, to the idea of Hank Williams and to his family to simply tell the truth. We didn’t want to edit his life story in any way. We didn’t want to lionize him too much, but we also didn’t want to just tell the sad story.” Of course transforming into Hank Williams was no easy work for the thespian particularly since Hiddleston does all of his own singing. Preparation for the role took time. Hiddleston explains, “Before I started, I filled myself up with everything I could find about Hank Williams: his circumstances, his rise and fall, what his hits were, how he wrote those hits.” While it surprised some that Tom Hiddleston not only portrayed Hank but did his own singing in I Saw the Light, he was firmly committed to the idea. He didn’t face them alone. His muISSUE FIVE 2015



sical coach was the film’s Executive Music Director: veteran country singer and songwriter Rodney Crowell. A hit recording artist in his own right, Crowell has five #1 country singles under his belt and a deep passion for the music’s heritage and for Hank Williams. “I put a huge amount of pressure on myself as an actor with everything I do. I knew that we had an extraordinary crew: Dante Spinotti, a truly amazing cinematographer, whom I have respected all my life; Merideth Boswell, a great production designer, who was already building incredible sets. I’d already met Lahly Poore-Ericson, our costume designer, who was making nudie suits for me to wear,” says Hiddleston. “But I knew there was one man who was going to have to sing these songs and that was me. I just had to dig in and do the work. I had to give myself a little talking to, and say: ‘Are you going to do this, or not?’” “We started shooting the film on October 18, 2014. Prior to that I read the script and did my own research. I went to Nashville on September 3, and I stayed with Rodney Crowell for five weeks. He was my tutor in the ways of the blues, my coach in every respect. He just guided me through everything,” recalls Hiddleston of his training with country star Crowell. “(His goal for me) was simply to sing the songs and play the songs. We literally shut ourselves in his house in Tennessee, and we’d just live and breathe Hank Williams and the tradition of folk music.” “It was just a simple matter of practicing and immersion,” says Hiddleston. “I was completely immersed in Hank’s music for five weeks straight. I’d do covers of ‘Ramblin’ Man,’ ‘I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You,’ ‘You Win Again,’ and ‘Settin’ The Woods On Fire,’ songs that actually aren’t in the film, but we just sang Hank.” “The way folk music is handed down to children in the UK when I was growing up has a very Celtic inheritance, and rhythmically it’s

much more on the beat,” explains Hiddleston who is quick to note that his own musical exposure was far from the sounds of Hank. “There’s no sense of dropping off the beat or singing behind the beat. It’s not blues. I had to really just dig into the blues and swim around in it a bit. I had to loosen up my natural rhythm. It sounds technical, but in the end you just have to feel it out instinctively.” “It was pure dig your heels in: practice, practice, practice. Hank’s tone is not an easy one to emulate. I had to refine my yodel and inflect my vowel sounds. Rodney was sweet about it, but he wasn’t going to let anything past him. He’d say, ‘Tommy boy, I can hear your English choirboy comin’ out now. You been singin’ too many hymns at those English schools. You’re right on top of the beat. You gotta hang back off it. Just glide behind it,’” remembers Hiddleston. “It was an education in the blues. Sometimes we’d just sing the blues all day.” Hiddleston continues, “We had some hilarious days. We’d just sing for eight hours straight, until I couldn’t see. Sometimes I would hit the wall in exhaustion, and we’d keep going; somehow, out of the exhaustion, I would just get it right and make a breakthrough, and Rodney would say, ‘you got it man! You got it! Keep singin’!’” “The thing I worked on with Rodney, the thing we worked on most of all,” recalls Hiddleston, “was Rodney’s instruction simply to feel the songs myself. He insisted that is the central cornerstone of American folk music. To sing these songs, you have to feel them; you have to commit to the meaning of the words. So when you sing, ‘The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky/And as I wonder where you are/I’m so lonesome I could cry,’ you can’t just say it. You can’t just sing the notes. You can’t even just sing the words. You have to feel it. You have to know what that means to say that.” “In order to sing that song and for it to have the impact that

Tom Hiddleston (L) and Bradley Whitford (R) as his manager, Fred Rose.



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Hank had, you have to connect to it with your whole soul,” explains Hiddleston. “You have to just get yourself behind it and mean it and express yourself through it. That was really the key to playing the part.” With authenticity in mind, Hiddleston recalls recording the music at a Nashville studio and talks about how they used recording techniques from Hank Williams’ time. “We recorded with the same microphones and the band would all be arranged around one microphone. We’d all be basically playing and singing into one microphone, which is pretty wild. But I think that’s why the music sounds authentic. We worked so hard on it.” “We recorded some of the music before we started shooting so it was difficult to predict exactly what Marc was going to need,” continues Hiddleston. “I was very keen to give Marc more music than he would ever use. I always wanted him to have more rather than less, because he knew to have too much music would imbalance the drama. It was a question of what songs were going to slide into which scenes in the appropriate way.” “It was really an education for me in many respects. The more research I did, (I saw that) Hank took the blues and infused folk Hiddleston transforms into Hank Williams to the point where most people don’t realize he’s the same actor who also played Loki in the Marvel movies.

music with this blues rhythm. When I hear the chorus of ‘Move It On Over,’ I can hear ‘Rock Around The Clock’ coming ‘round the corner,” says Hiddleston as he notes that those songs have, “the same melody and the same chord progression calling it ‘formative rock and roll.’” “If you think about where Hank sits in the development of 20th Century music and when you read interviews with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards, they all talk about the influence of Hank Williams and that Hank was the first guy doing a particular kind of thing. And so you realize he’s this link in a chain, this crucial link, a cornerstone in music history,” explains Hiddleston. “If he hadn’t done what he’d done and written those songs, then the history of contemporary music and rock and roll would be completely different (because of) all of Hank’s songs that the greatest singers in other genres covered. Ray Charles sang ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ and Tony Bennett sang ‘Cold, Cold Heart,’ and everybody sang ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.’” “Hank’s truth changed the landscape of American music,” 64 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE


Elizabeth Olsen (L) plays Audra Mae Williams. As Hank’s wife, some of the best scenes are between her and Tom Hiddleston (R).

continues Hiddleston. “He sang what he knew about. And what he knew about was going out and meeting girls, getting into trouble, falling in love and falling out of love, loss and loneliness or ‘lonesomeness’ as he would have it. And it was so simple. His songs were so simple, but they were so true. And I think what people connected to in his music was the authenticity of it.” Hiddleston believes I Saw the Light reveals details about Hank Williams that are not widely known. “I think there are many people who are familiar with his music, but perhaps fewer people are familiar with the circumstances from which his music arose. People maybe knew he drank, but didn’t know he had spina bifida occulta. They knew he wrote great songs, songs that you’d tap your feet to, but they didn’t know that he died at the age of 29. They may not have known he was married twice.” “I think people perhaps don’t know his struggle, a huge struggle within himself between art and commerce,” continues Hiddleston. “As soon as he became a star, it’s almost as if the engine behind his stardom started to eat him up from the inside. He didn’t know how to stay true to himself, while also becoming commercially successful.” Tom Hiddleston’s phenomenal performance as Hank Williams should definitely get an Oscar nomination, but as we have seen in the past, sometimes the Academy snubs actors who also do mainstream (superhero) films. Hiddleston’s performance both physically, emotionally and musically as Hank Williams is so transformative that many attendees didn’t even realize he was the same actor that also portrayed Marvel’s Loki. “I think the influence of Hank Williams is too great on American culture, so to misrepresent him in any way, I didn’t feel we had the right to do that,” explains Hiddleston. “I felt a personal duty and a responsibility to play him honestly; to commit myself to looking like him, to sounding like him, to playing like him, to feeling what he felt, and putting myself through the paces that he put himself through. He brought so much joy to so many people from so much pain.” “It was a very handmade film. It was just a couple of us who felt it was worth doing. We put our best foot forward, and we did it,” concludes Hiddleston. LFV At this time, Sony Pictures Classic is scheduled to release I Saw the Light on March 25, 2016.

Russell Moore, IMDB

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IC Media Solutions’ next book, Rock Bottom & Back, will chronicle the experiences of 12 men and women who overcame From left, BIC Alliance’s Earl Heard seemingly insurmountand GreenLit Entertainment’s Heather Evans and Lauren Michele view Rock Bottom & Back. Rock Bottom & Back is able adversities to bebeing shopped to TV networks as a pilot come successful in their for a potential series. business and personal lives. Rock Bottom & Back will feature individuals such as Gabriel Alvarado, a CITGO fire chief who was burned in a refinery fire in 2009 and now speaks to workers about safety issues; Troy Duhon, a successful car dealership owner and philanthropist who endured severe damage to his Louisiana business in Hurricane Katrina and now shares the word of God through God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2; Jerry Strickland, founder and former CEO of AltairStrickland and author of the inspirational book Turnarounds, and his son, Whitney Strickland.

Jerry Strickland, left, founder and former CEO of AltairStrickland, sits with his son, Whitney Strickland, during a filming segment for Rock Bottom & Back.

Rock Bottom & Back will also be adapted into a 30-minute film segment that will be shopped to TV networks as a pilot for a potential series. The initial segment will feature two or three of the individuals who appear in the book. BIC Media has retained Susan Mustafa, who co-wrote the New York Times-bestselling true crime thriller The Most Dangerous Animal of All with Gary L. Stewart, to write Rock Bottom & Back. BIC Media is also partnering with Mascot Books on Rock Bottom & Back. To nominate an individual to be featured in Rock Bottom & Back or for more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Earl Heard at or Rose Gladner at rose@, or call 800-460-4242. ISSUE FIVE 2015








irector-Producer Jennifer Medvin was on hand at New Orleans Film Festival with her documentary short Little Hero. The story, near and dear to her heart, is about her twins Xander, who has autism, and his sister, Avery. Specifically, though, Little Hero is a glimpse at how Avery views Xander and his autism. Co-director and producer Marcus A. McDougald who was also the DP for this beautifully shot short says they shot for 5 days on the Canon 60D with old 70’s era Zeiss CY lenses. They used the GoPro Hero Black (4K) for the swimming scenes. Color grading was done in Final Cut Pro X with the Color Finale plug-in. “Marcus and I wanted the children to be as relaxed as possible during production,” says Medvin. “Avery loved the attention and being on camera. Xander didn’t seem to mind the filming process, except for the day he had the tantrum. Many autistic people need consistency to remain comfortable. Because of the filming schedule, I had to get the twins ready for the pool out of their usual order. My first inclination was to help Xander calm himself, but I had to step away. I’m glad Marcus was there because that scene is an important part of the film.” The documentary is unusual in that it uses animation to try to emphasize what Xander is sensing. McDougald explains, “We wanted to use a process that was childish, human, and imperfect, avoiding the clean sterility of digitally driven animation. I am a firm believer in finding beauty in the imperfections of this world. The Japanese call this concept ‘wabi sabi.’ Hand-drawings are also highly relatable as we all struggle with the concept of perfection and our societally driven desire for it. Working with the artist Russ Murphy aka Ruffmercy was a perfect fit.”

Animation was used to try and illustrate Avery’s autistic thinking.

“We had animation revisions up until the day we locked the cut,” continues McDougald. “We did 2-3 weeks of animation and in total 25 or so VFX shots.” “We reverse engineered this film in some ways,” adds McDougald as he tried to outline the total filmmaking time. “We actually spent months recording VO audio before we turned on Co-director Marcus A. a camera. We were editing day 1, sifting McDougald through VO pieces as we searched for our narrative bed. When we thought we had hit gold with a sound bite, we would ask a follow up question that would potentially articulate the initial sentiments. Once we had the story pretty much mapped out, we shot for 5 days over the course of 4 or 5 months, continuing to record VO. The animation process was fast considering it was drawn frame by Co-director Jennifer Medframe. Russ ironed them out in a matter vin with her NOFF Special Jury Award of 2-3 weeks. He was a trooper.” While Marcus McDougald was not present at the festival, his co-director and producer Jennifer Medvin brought enough enthusiasm for two. She describes her experience at festival saying, “It is difficult to narrow down all of the wonderful moments at the New Orleans Film Festival. The friendly staff was always available; meeting other filmmakers, the great films and winning the Special Jury Award were all great moments. After the Little Hero screening, an audience member approached me and said that he now had a better understanding of his autistic nephew because of our film. That was very touching and means that we accomplished what we set out to do with this project.” LFV ISSUE FIVE 2015






n the closing night of the 2015 New Orleans Film Festival, #CreateLA honored one pair of filmmakers with a $50,000 check and guaranteed play at the 2016 New Orleans Film Festival. The talented team was Director Nailah Jefferson and Producer Jon Wood. Louisiana Film & Video Magazine caught up with Jefferson after the screening to find out what made her project stand out from the pack.

New Orleans Film Festival Executive Director Jolene Pinder highlights the five film projects selected as finalists in the #CreateLA competition.

The five filmmaking teams consisting of director and producer wait anxiously at the Prytania Theatre to see who will win $50,000.

(L-R) Producer Jon Wood and Director Nailah Jefferson win with their project Plaquemines. 70 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE


“I honestly don’t know,” says Jefferson. “You’d have to ask the judges. I was among a group of incredibly talented applicants. When they announced the winner I just kept saying, ‘I can’t believe it!’” “I completed a short script back in March,” continues Jefferson. “My hope was to raise funds and shoot it before the year was out. Well, I got busy with another job, but when I heard about the #CreateLA competition, I knew I wanted to apply. Funding is the biggest hurdle when it comes to filmmaking and 50K is more than enough to pull off a great short.” “The short is actually inspired by my time shooting on the bayou while filming the documentary Vanishing Pearls,” explains Jefferson. “I met so many intriguing people and heard so many fantastic stories, but I couldn’t fit them into my doc so I put them into Plaquemines (her proposed short script). The story is about a father and son navigating life in a dying culture. The juxtaposition between beauty and despair that exists in these towns overwhelmed me, but when you get down to the heart of the story, it’s a universal one about family, identity and hope.” Jefferson explained choosing her producer for the project saying, “I’ve only worked on projects where I was the producer, or the producer was not based in Louisiana. Jon Wood and I had worked together before as PA’s and always stayed in touch. Most recently, we had been consulting on a project that he just produced. When I saw how passionately he works, his knowledge base as far as local talent both behind and in front of the camera, and his ability to execute a quality project on a shoestring budget, I knew he was the right person for the job. He also knocked our pitch out of the park. I’m so glad to be working with him.” Jefferson was really excited saying, “Get ready for an entertaining film with great visuals, music and amazing talent in front of and behind the camera. We really want to create a piece that will serve everyone in the film and, more than anything, display the great talent we have in this state!” LFV




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