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LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE 5
VOLUME 11 ISSUE SIX EXECUTIVE EDITOR Andrew Vogel andrew@louisianaﬁlmandvideo.com ASSOCIATE FEATURES EDITOR W. H. Bourne ASSOCIATE EDITOR Katie Sauro contact@louisianaﬁlmandvideo.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Wéland Bourne, Pam Glorioso, Meg Alsfeld Kaul, Nick Savides, Carol Ann Scruggs, Haley Summers, Corey Vaughn SALES MANAGER Katie Higgins SALES Steve Joseph PRODUCTION MANAGER John Rusnak PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Kelly Baker DESIGNERS Dawn Carlson, Beth Harrison, Sonjia Kells WEBMASTER Jon Hines
19 10 Letter From The Editor
Despite being surrounded by the talented Jamie Foxx and Rose Byrne, Quvenzhané Wallis steals the show in Annie.
OFFICE MANAGER Audra Higgins
PHOTOS COURTESY OF SONY’S COLUMBIA PICTURES © 2014 CTMG, INC.
INFORMATION SERVICES MANAGER Lois Sanborn
NOFF IN REVIEW
13 Pitch Perfect 2 Returns to Louisiana 19 Spotlight on Louisiana’s Own Quvenzhané Wallis
45 The 25th Annual New Orleans Film Festival
25 The Hunt For Money At American Film Market
47 LFV Draws a Crowd at NOFF
29 How A Children’s Book Becomes A Feature Film
55 WIFT Panel: “Screenwriting and The Short Film”
33 Gold Star Films: Homegrown Hollywood Producers 35 Hollywood South Legal 37 Live TV: Creating a New “Event” Genre? 39 Shreveport-Bossier Outlook for 2015
A DIVISION OF MEDIA INC PUBLISHING GROUP 65 Hollywood Goes Green at Second Line Stages 69 Hotel Storyville: A Relaxing Respite In The French Quarter 71 Event Planning Services For NOLA Filmmakers
41 The LA Film Prize: A Filmmaker’s Perspective
75 Frybiz: The Baton Rouge Studio For The Independent Filmmaker
59 Chewing The Fat With NOLA Caterer
77 A Gift Horse Premieres in Baton Rouge
61 Louisiana Screens At Sundance 2015
ON THE COVER: Elizabeth Banks is Pitch Perfect on set in Baton Rouge in her directorial debut. PHOTO COURTESY OF PITCH PERFECT 2/UNIVERSAL
DIGITAL EDITION AVAILABLE AT: WWW.LOUISIANAFILMANDVIDEO.COM 6 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE
LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO PUBLICATIONS P.O. Box 50036 New Orleans, LA 70150 (800) 332-1736 contact@louisianaﬁlmandvideo.com www.louisianaﬁlmandvideo.com www.louisianaproductionindex.com Display Advertising: Call Media Index Publishing Group for a current rate card. Discounts for frequency advertising. All submitted materials become the property of Media Index Publishing Group and will not be returned. Subscriptions, call (800) 332-1736 for information and rates. Copyright ©2015 Media Index Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be used for solicitation or copied by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express written permission of the publisher.
Printed in THE USA
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. It’s officially 2015, and Hollywood South is as busy as ever with major TV shows in production like NCIS: New Orleans, American Horror Story, The Astronaut Wives Club, and Salem. As we know, last year the state considered removing the tax incentives that have brought so much business to Louisiana. And now the Legislature is asking for concrete data that proves the economic worth of the incentives. Luckily, the Louisiana Film & Entertainment Association (LFEA) has successfully raised over $50,000 through Kickstarter to fund a “landmark economic impact study” with the goal of providing that data. LFEA deserves a special ‘thank you’ for their efforts. This issue highlights Shreveport-Bossier, which continues to grow as a ﬁlm hub for the state. The LA Film Prize is quickly becoming a major event in our industry. In its third year, the competition was incredibly stiff with True Heroes coming out on top and taking home the grand prize of $50,000. See more about the LA Film Prize on page 41. Also out of Shreveport, Moonbot Studios, the team that won the Academy Award for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore in 2012, brings new Oscar hope with a nomination for their latest animated-short, The Numberlys. See a full update on Shreveport ﬁlm on page 39. The New Orleans Film Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014 and has once again proved itself a top ranking international ﬁlm festival. More on the 2014 NOFF on page 45. Thanks to all those who came out to support LFV at our networking social during the festival. It was great to see so many familiar faces and to meet so many new
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friends of the magazine. Actor/director John Schneider came out to support, as did Dwight Henry of Beasts of the Southern Wild, who brought samples of his world famous buttermilk drops. Thanks to all those involved, including American Roadshow Catering, Lakehouse Film Catering, Jeff Chaz and the band, Steve Hammond Photography and all of our sponsors. I had the opportunity to interview the staff at Gold Star Films who are truly New Orleans born-and-raised producers that are making big moves in the industry. They recently wrapped production on Kidnap, starring Halle Berry, and have a wide array of projects on their horizon. It’s amazing to see homegrown talent pushing the industry forward. It seems there is more and more evidence of this as our industry continues to grow. See the article on Gold Star on page 33. If you are at Sundance this year, don’t miss the world premiere of two of Louisiana’s own: Mississippi Grind, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, and Zipper, starring Patrick Wilson. On a personal note, I’m proud to say that Robert Redford’s A Walk in the Woods, a ﬁlm I had the privilege of acting in, will be world premiering at the festival as well. For more information on the Louisiana presence at Sundance 2015, see page 61. Also, for the third consecutive year the Louisiana International Film Festival is hosting a party during Sundance. Last year the team brought down the house at Club Epic with Voodoo Love, and this year promises the same. The theme is Midnight Masquerade and the event will again be at Club Epic from 11pm – 1am. All the best, Andrew Vogel, Executive Editor
Elizabeth Banks preps talent for a scene.
PITCH PERFECT 2 RETURNS TO LOUISIANA STORY BY W. H. BOURNE PHOTOS COURTESY OF PITCH PERFECT 2/UNIVERSAL
Pitch Perfect 2 producer Scott Niemeyer (R) on the set.
he Pitch Perfect Team is back in Louisiana for the sequel, and no one could be happier than producer Scott Niemeyer. The New Orleans native who grew up in Algiers, went to Ben Franklin, and studied at Tulane’s AB Freeman School of Business still calls the city home even though he does have to commute between the Crescent City and Los Angeles.
“Besides the obvious tax credit beneﬁt, I grew up in Louisiana so it’s near and dear to my heart so I’ve been trying to steer our projects here,” said Niemeyer. “The food, the culture, the music, the people are all great fringe beneﬁts for working here. It’s a very culturally rich state so those moments when we ﬁnd ourselves not working, which isn’t all that often, there’s a lot of food and history and culture to enjoy, and I think that’s one of the best bits of lagniappe; not all our crew know that word, but they’re learning some Louisiana lingo. We try and hire locally because there’s an additional beneﬁt for it, but it was a bit difﬁcult this time with the major studios shooting ﬁlms each with $100 million plus budgets and prepping simultaneously that we were a bit short on options for certain crew positions. We did have to bring in some people from out of state, and that’s a good and a bad thing. It suggests that all the qualiﬁed Louisiana residents were booked on other shows; the bad thing is there are not enough local residents in the business that we can hire locally. The Baton Rouge crew has been
tapped for Fantastic Four, and you have a large portion of the New Orleans crew coming up and down on this freeway. So we do have a large Louisiana crew, we’ve just had to supplement it because everyone is working.” Cinematographer Jim Denault lives in California, but he is no stranger to Louisiana. Pitch Perfect 2 is the third movie he’s shot here in the past four years. “I shot Butter in Shreveport and The Campaign in New Orleans,” said Denault. “On Butter, we brought almost a whole crew in because there wasn’t one available locally. On The Campaign, we had a good percentage of the department heads that came from California. We have almost an entirely a local crew for Pitch Perfect 2. It’s working out great.” Both Niemeyer and Denault talked about the stage shortages due to the big Hollywood blockbuster ﬁlms that were shooting in Louisiana while Pitch Perfect 2 was also lensing. “There’s not that many stages in Baton Rouge,” said Niemeyer. ISSUE SIX
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(L-R) Cinematographer Jim Denault and director Elizabeth Banks.
“There’s Celtic and it’s booked up with Fantastic Four so there’s not a lot of options outside of Celtic Media Center.” “It’s basically all practical locations (for Pitch Perfect 2),” echoed Denault. “We actually had a few sets that probably should have been on stages, but there wasn’t any stage space available.” While Pitch Perfect 2 may have been short on stage space, it deﬁnitely wasn’t short on talent with many of its incredible actors returning to Barden College for a second term including Elizabeth Banks. Pitch Perfect 2 marks the directorial debut of Banks as she returns to Baton Rouge to ﬁlm the sequel. “Elizabeth is a really organized director,” said Denault. “It seems
like she has a lot more experience than she actually does. It’s been really great for everyone.” “I think Liz was a very natural choice (for director) since she and her husband, Max Handelman, found the original underlying source material and developed it with Universal Studios and Jason Moore, the ﬁrst director. She’s been very hands on since the ﬁrst one and now for the second one which some are calling a franchise,” said Niemeyer. Niemeyer went on to explain how the success of the ﬁrst ﬁlm aided in acquisition of ﬁnances for the second. “There was a level of enthusiasm in the audience and the marketplace from the ﬁrst ﬁlm,” continued Niemeyer. “The ﬁrst ﬁlm caught on in such a way that it created a strong undercurrent with a fan base that it became viral with repeat viewers who have watched the movie dozens of times that it gave us and Universal the encouragement to come back and shoot the sequel.” Shooting the sequel was Jim Denault with the Arri Alexa. “Each movie is its own thing,” said Denault. “There is a tone that comes from the ﬁrst one, but I don’t really feel any obligation to re-create the look of the ﬁrst one. Essentially, I talk to the director.” “There are a lot of actresses on set who improvise so we’re shooting a lot of cross coverage getting both sides of the conversation at the same time since it usually never happens the same way twice. We particularly try to do this when we know it’s (improv) going to happen,” explained Denault. “Improv is where some of the great comedy came from in the
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ﬁrst movie so we make time for it while shooting because you never know what gems you’re going to get to mine,” added Niemeyer. “Two cameras are typical now even on low budget movies,” continued Denault. “It’s something that has been taken from television. Most days we’re shooting with two, but sometimes we had three or four or as many as ﬁve cameras. Because there were scenes with so many people to cover, it was a lot easier just getting all the reaction shots with the multiple cameras.” “I’m thrilled to have the band back again with a few new instruments namely Hailee Steinfeld and Katey Sagal. They seemed to ﬁt right in and were embraced by the rest of the returning cast,” Niemeyer remarked. “The Gold Circle Films team prides itself on being family so we try to surround ourselves with those we’ve worked with in the past. Liz Banks has taken that a step further by welcoming all returning cast and crew as well as the new recruits,” explained Niemeyer. “She routinely refers to her Pitch Perfect Family in dialogue in behind-the-scenes pieces, and it makes for a great situation because you know how people interact and how they behave socially so you develop a shorthand from working on the ﬁrst ﬁlm that makes it easier when you go back and do it again.” Pitch Perfect 2 wasn’t the only movie Scott Niemeyer wanted to steer toward Louisiana. He’s been busy working on another project to create more stage space and bring more ﬁlms to the Bayou State. “I’ve been working on the Deep South Studio project for over two years,” said Niemeyer. “It did come out of a need and desire for
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stage space on the ﬁrst (Pitch Perfect) movie, and it increased my awareness in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans market of the lack of availability and the overwhelming demand. So it’s taken over 2 ½ years to ﬁnd a suitable location and have meetings with architectural engineers to have it at the shovel ready stage that it’s now at.” “The site is on Mardi Gras Boulevard underneath the Crescent City Connection so it’s on the Westbank, a few blocks from the river and a few blocks from the old Mardi Gras World,” continued Niemeyer. “It’s the two big undeveloped tracks along Thayer Street that I am looking at turning into Deep South Studios. I have a target date of January 2016 for being operational.” While Niemeyer had to travel to Los Angeles many years ago to break into the ﬁlm industry, he believes there are incredible opportunities right now in Louisiana. “As I mentioned before with the shortage of skilled labor, I would suggest to people in Louisiana that there’s no need to travel anywhere else; work toward getting those skilled positions and move up from there,” said Niemeyer. “That’s what the economic incentive and motion picture credits are all about, building an indigenous industry with all local crew. I think it’s an excellent economic incentive program that is working as designed.” It’s deﬁnitely a program that some might say is pitch perfect! Be sure to check out the Barden Bellas as they try to win an international a cappella competition which no American team has ever won in Pitch Perfect 2 when it opens at theaters nationwide this spring on May 15, 2015. LFV
Deanna Meske Deanna Meske is on the rise in Louisiana. When not training in class, she’s working on set in a variety of local and national projects. Deanna’s had lead and supporting roles in over 45 ﬁlms and has hosted over 50 diﬀerent shows. She also runs www.OutlookProductions.net where she works on both sides of the camera shooting business videos and ﬁlms. Recently Deanna had a supporting role in a ﬁlm opposite Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer and Scott Bakula, which was ﬁlmed in New Orleans and was just released! She’s also co-starred with Missi Pyle, along with some other great up-and-coming stars. So far for 2015 she’s been contracted for 3 feature ﬁlms and 2 miniseries for the web.
See Deanna’s Demo Reels & more at: www.DeannaMeske.com Impact MTA - Louisiana: 310-628-1293 • email@example.com
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18 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE
Quvenzhané Wallis and Jamie Foxx star in the 2014 movie adaptation of the Broadway musical Annie.
SPOTLIGHT ON LOUISIANA’S OWN QUVENZHANÉ WALLIS STORY BY W. H. BOURNE PHOTOS COURTESY OF SONY’S COLUMBIA PICTURES © 2014 CTMG, INC.
any may remember a very young Quvenzhané Wallis on the cover of Louisiana Film & Video in 2012 as she was out at festivals walking the red carpets with her puppy purses promoting Benh Zeitlin’s indie hit Beasts of the Southern Wild. The Houma native got her big break at the age of ﬁve when she auditioned (L-R) Characters Sandy, Annie, for the lead role in Beasts of the Southern Wild beating and millionaire Will Stacks. out over four thousand other candidates. In Beasts of the Southern Wild, Wallis’ portrayal of Hushpuppy, a young girl growing up in the ﬂood-plagued bayous of Louisiana, was hailed by critics as a career-deﬁning performance and one of the best by a young actor to date. In fact, Wallis became the youngest actress to ever receive an Oscar Best Actress nomination for her work in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Along with the top-honor nomination, Wallis graced the cover of many magazines including Entertainment Weekly’s 2013 Oscar Issue. She also went on to win a number of impressive awards in 2013 including the African American Film Critics Association for Breakthrough Artist Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Performer, Hollywood Film Festival New Hollywood Award, and the Women Film Critics for Best Youth Performance. Since Beasts, Wallis has been keeping busy. In 2013, Wallis joined the cast of the animated ISSUE SIX
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Quvenzhané loves dogs and was wonderful with Sandy on set.
movie adaptation of Khalil Gibran’s iconic worldwide best-selling book The Prophet which was produced by Salma Hayek and recently premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival in France. She also has a small role in the Academy Award winning ﬁlm 12 Years a Slave. Additionally, she was also recently named the face of designer line Armani Junior. On December 19, 2014, Wallis’ latest ﬁlm Annie is releasing in theaters nationwide. A modern update on the Broadway classic, Annie became a pet project for Will Smith when he originally set up the project for his daughter, Willow, to be in the leading role. When Willow passed on the project, Wallis’ acclaimed performance caught the attention of the Annie ﬁlmmakers. “She’s amazing,” says Annie’s director Will Gluck of Wallis.
“She’s such a real, authentic actor that every time she says these lines or sings, your heart just breaks for this ten-year-old girl who’s speaking from the heart. We were very speciﬁc when we wanted to do this movie that we didn’t want a child actor who could be on Broadway; we wanted someone who felt real. We lucked out in Quvenzhané in that she can sing, she can act, she’s a joy to be around, but most of all, your heart just comes into your throat every time she plays a real emotion. That’s a once-in-a-generation skill.” “I loved playing Annie,” says Wallis. “She has spunk and does everything with a smile, no matter what life throws at her.” Wallis has had her share of curve balls in the last couple of weeks in the wake of the Sony hack. In addition to a ﬁle of the movie Annie being pirated, the hackers have wreaked havoc on her press duties for Annie. For example, promo spots that she had pre-recorded for Wheel of Fortune had to be re-recorded live after ﬁles were destroyed in the hack along with other press materials. Like Annie, Wallis was all smiles as she did her intros live on TV. “What is cool about Annie is that she teaches the adults what matters in life,” says Wallis of her title character. “I think all kids feel like we have something to teach grownups.” Both before and during ﬁlming, vocal producer Matt Sullivan worked very closely with the actors, many of whom, like Wallis, were not necessarily known as singers. Wallis, for example, who was nine years old when she ﬁrst started taking voice lessons for Annie, had only sung at home or in the car with her family before landing the lead role of the musical comedy. Likewise, much of the cast including Wallis did not have experience as a profession-
John Ashker • I worked on my ﬁrst picture in New Orleans in 1986. • I moved to Los Angeles on the encouragement of the L.A. based stunt crew I worked for. I continued to work for them for several years until in 1989 they were asked to go to South Africa to do a six picture deal for then Cannon Films. I spent the next 6 years establishing myself amongst the best stunt men in the business. • In 1996 I was called back to New Orleans to work on the USA series The Big Easy. In 1997 I was offered the Stunt Coordinator Position on that show. When the show wrapped at the end of that year I was offered the coordinator position on a picture called Fait A’ Compli. I moved to Los Angeles after that picture wrapped and continued to work. • In 2006 I decided to move back to New Orleans to offer my talent and service to producers shooting locally. The local stunt talent has grown since those early days and nearly 100% of your action can be accomplished with the local stunt people to help maximize your tax rebate dollars. A very small percentage might need an outside hire from Los Angeles or New York.
firstname.lastname@example.org • 818-430-8208 20 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE
al dancer; however, choreographer Zachary Woodlee credits the actress with a natural ability. “She has musicality and rhythm,” Woodlee explains. “As long as you have those sorts of things, you tailor things to what works in her body.” Assistant choreographer Brittany Parks started working with Wallis a few months before ﬁlming began. “I worked with her two hours every other day, and we just did dance numbers,” Parks says. “We danced to Beyoncé and Michael Jackson, and we just danced around and got to know each other.”
“It was really fun to be with Quvenzhané—she was totally elated while we were singing and dancing,” adds actress Rose Byrne who performs the number “I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here” with Wallis. Wallis says she’s a fan of the original version of the movie, Annie. “It’s my favorite,” she says. “I like to sing and dance along with it. So I love that I got to sing and dance in the movie for real this time.” When Wallis is not acting or walking the red carpet, she maintains a normal life in Louisiana where she enjoys reading, dancing, cheerleading, gymnastics, volleyball and music. Be sure to check out Louisiana’s own Quvenzhané Wallis in Annie this holiday season. LFV
Quvenzhané Wallis sings Opportunity, a new song written for the ﬁlm by music superstars Sia and Beck.
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Wallis and Foxx have great chemistry on screen in Annie.
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THE HUNT FOR MONEY AT AMERICAN FILM MARKET STORY BY W. H. BOURNE PHOTOS BY ALEXANDRA WYMAN / AP INVISION ADDITIONAL EASE PHOTO BY ODIN LINDBLOM
AFM Pitch Conference Panel.
his year’s American Film Market (AFM) saw an increase in buyers coming from over 70 different countries. Of the 794 registered buyer companies, 90 were new to the AFM. The market saw a 3% increase and an uptick in overall buyers from last year with a notable growth in buyers from Latin America which was up by 34% and Asia which was up 8%. Despite the increase in buyers, there deﬁnitely appeared to be a decrease in ﬁlmmakers as evident by the sparsely ﬁlled hallways and open spaces on the opening day of market. “Where are all the independent ﬁlmmakers?” asked former IFTA president Lloyd Kaufman. While there have always been a large number of foreign productions up for grabs at AFM, this year there seemed to be American Film Market day one. fewer American produced ﬁlms offered at market. The exception to this were the projects with big name actors from the larger companies vying to sell off territorial rights either before or after the ﬁlms have been made. A great example of this was the ad sales for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. For the past few years, AFM has been a signiﬁcant marketplace for established companies to obtain ﬁnancing through pre-sales on packaged ﬁlms. Strong interest in pre-sales is often noted as a sign that the market is strengthening and that there is a demand for content. Lately, strong pre-sales are also indicative of a ﬁlm package that includes not only a great script but a notable cast. This year, everyone seemed to be chasing Chinese dollars. Earlier in the morning on the opening day of AFM, EASE held their fall tax incentive seminar. Lonnie Ramati, EVP of Business Affairs at Nu Image/Millennium Films, talked about Chinese investments and shooting in China. “They’ll promise you many things, but it won’t happen,” said Ramati. “It’s a place where ‘No’ means ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’ means ‘No.’ Go to Louisiana! At least there, you know what you’re getting!”
Since Louisiana was recently proclaimed the movie-making capital of the world, more producers were interested in learning about the attractive tax incentive package that continues to lure productions to the Bayou State. Louisiana dominated the morning with CPA Clint Mock of Mock and Associates, CEO Leonard Alsfeld of FBT Investments Inc. and FBT Film and Entertainment, and Executive Director Chris Stelly of the Louisiana Ofﬁce of Entertainment Industry Development on hand to answer questions about the tax incentive which includes a 30% credit on Louisiana spend and an additional 5% incentive for local labor on qualifying productions. While California tried to promote their new tax incentives to lure productions back to the Golden State, California Film Commissioner Amy Lemisch admitted that the increase in funds available for the tax credit was still not enough to cover all the productions wanting to shoot in state. “Yes, we will run out of money,” said Lemisch. “So when we do, you should go talk to Chris (Stelly).” As studios make fewer ﬁlms, more producers are having to ﬁnd creative ways to ﬁnance ﬁlms including the use of soft money from Executive Director Chris Stelly of the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development at the EASE Fall Tax Incentive Seminar
LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE 25
tax incentives. Because of this, the role of the producer has become forefront at AFM. For the second year, AFM has run a special producers’ forum designed to mentor up-and-coming talent. The program is free to the ﬁrst 400 qualifying attendees at Market. “Transparency from producers is most important,” said Paradigm’s Emanuel Nunez who specializes in ﬁlm ﬁnance. “Relationships with ﬁnanciers and producers are essential. You help us; we help you,” said UTA agent and producer Rena Ronson. Ronson went on to explain the importance of packaging a project and the fact that you need more than a great script. She stressed ﬁnding the correct foundation on which to build the package for your project. “Actors attract other actors,” explained Ronson. “You need an anchor.” There was excitement at AFM about HBO’s recent announcement to launch an OTT service. Many believed OTT would increase the demand for content. “There are so many buyers out there right now—that’s why content is king,” said director and producer Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Jersey Boys). “Being in the content business is incredible business.” “In any line of Richard Klubeck and Brett Ratner. work in the ﬁlm
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industry, you’re always pitching, PGA president and it’s very helpful to have an idea Hawk Koch. that is concise, that is electrifying and original; you always want to be able to have some sort of angle so that you can convince people who are very, very busy, quickly, that this is worth paying attention to,” said Tobin Armbrust, president of worldwide production and acquisitions at Exclusive Media Group. Of course the challenge is getting the ﬁnancing to create the content for the buyers. It’s very difﬁcult for indie producers to get presales these days. Armbrust (End of Watch, Rush) had some of the best advice for young producers trying to secure ﬁnancial backing. “You’re going to go up to someone and say, ‘Lend me $1,000 to do it and I might get you $500 of that back.’ It’s not something you’d do in your personal life,” explained Armbrust. “You have to treat the ﬁnanciers as if they’re people—who, wherever their money’s coming from, it’s extremely personal to them, and you have to make a cogent argument as to why you think at the very least they’ll break even, or hopefully make some proﬁt.” As the market continues to be in a state of change, next year’s AFM Producer’s Forum might be a great option for those planning to attend market. Remember to register early so you can be one of the lucky 400. LFV
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HOW A CHILDREN’S BOOK BECOMES A FEATURE FILM:
AN UNLIKELY JOURNEY FOR DONKEY OTIE AND ITS AUTHOR (PART 2 OF 3)
onkey Otie’s Forever Birthday Story author and publisher, Vicky Branton, recently made a “whirlwind” tour in the Land of Oz, also known as Hollywood. Her goal? Relationships that would see Donkey Otie’s animation dreams come true.
“California is not the only state where deals are made, but the industry’s history and experience draws the masses,” remarked Branton. In November 2014, the annual American Film Market drew from 80 countries over 8,000 attendees, including Branton. AFM was only one of four events Branton attended while in L.A. The ﬁrst stop was the World Animation & VFX Summit sponsored by Animation Magazine. Executives from major studios and independents Donkey Otie discussed the latest trends in animation and special effects. Among featured guests were Disney’s Rob Minkoff and notable franchise leaders like DreamWorks’ Bonnie Arnold and Mattel’s Julia Pistor. The Lego Movie’s creative team members, How to Train Your Dragon 2 director Dean DeBois, and Richard Taylor of RGH Themed Entertainment shared technologies that stimulate live audience appeal. Others showed clips explaining unique aspects of their projects. Eight days at the American Film Market included conversations and conferences with ﬁlmmakers and dealmakers from around the world. Branton attended sessions about ﬁnance, distribution and publicity. The pitch demonstration was a deﬁnite highlight for her. The winning pitch, Blind Courage, was based on a true story of faith. Good news for Donkey Otie since his story is also about a walk by faith. Encounters with newfound acquaintances brought lively discussions about common bonds with potential for future collaboration. “The market was a buyer’s game with the majority of interest in completed live action ﬁlms,” Branton admitted. “Yet consistently, the message was ‘content is king.’ Donkey Otie has content.” Between the two major conferences, Branton joined Chris Stelly, executive director of Vicky Branton with the Korean delegation.
Louisiana Entertainment, at a two-panel seminar hosted by EASE Entertainment. The panels included multi-state government ofﬁces, and interested participants, touting their states’ tax incentives. The buzz about shooting movies in Louisiana spiced up every event Branton attended. However, the incentives workshops brought a steady stream of accolades for Louisiana. So, how does a children’s book become an animated movie? Well, if only it was as simple as clicking ruby slippers. It still takes someone else believing in the project as much as its creator. Overnight success only happens after years of advance preparation, introductions to the right people, and timing. Many new California connections, plus rekindling of old, brought hope to the journey of Donkey Otie. December is Donkey Otie’s showcase month and 2014’s proof-of-concept events carried the story back to California into Tennessee and throughout Louisiana, expanding awareness of the project. What are the “take-aways” from two weeks in Hollywood? First, there’s no place like home. Louisiana may not currently have the infrastructure for Donkey Otie’s development to be completed in-state, but every year Louisiana gets closer. With introductions and connections forming globally, Branton is ISSUE SIX
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optimistic that the New Year will bring success for Donkey Otie’s animation launch. LFV For more information on Donkey Otie, contact Vicky Branton at Doc@DonkeyOtie. com. Further information on the impact of AFM can be found at www.ssninsider. com/breaking-down-the-trends-at-afm-2014-the-vod-disruption-hot-genresthe-territories-on-the-rise.
Vicky Branton with Danita Patterson.
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GOLD STAR FILMS: HOMEGROWN HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS I
t’s not really a zombie movie,” says Jarred Bradley, president of Gold Star Films, of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next ﬁlm, Maggie. “It’s a psychological thriller where there happens to be some action with zombies.”
He adds, “Though we always have high expectations, we do have high expectations for Maggie, which is being released in late spring of 2015 by Lionsgate.” The year 2014 has proven to be pivotal for Gold Star, a Louisiana-based production company. In addition to completing production on Maggie, they recently shut down both the Earhart Expressway and, for the ﬁrst time in history, the Huey P. Long Bridge for the Halle Berry vehicle Kidnap. Originally with Sony Pictures, Kidnap was overtaken by the team at Gold Star and will release in October 2015 with Relativity Media. The team at Gold Star is primed for the year ahead. “We have eight or ten projects we are making offers on,” says Gold Star executive Joey Tufaro. “And we are negotiating with several A-list actors that all independent ﬁlmmakers dream of working with, such as Clooney, Wahlberg, Streep, Pitt, Tatum and Bale. The key for us has been to align our productions with other well established Hollywood-based companies, such as Lotus Entertainment, CAA (Creative Artists Agency) and Lorenzo di Bonaventura.” Gold Star is particularly proud of their life-long connection to Louisiana. Tufaro went to Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, while Bradley went to Jesuit, making them high school rivals. The third partner in Gold Star Films is its chairman of the board, Todd Trosclair, who attended St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace. “Our goal is to expand the local economy by employing as many people from our geographic area as possible,” says Trosclair. “We are the only born-and-raised-in-Louisiana production company here that are actually making movies,” Tufaro remarks. At ﬁrst, Gold Star began small. “We started by putting money into a couple National Lampoon movies,” remembers Tufaro. “We didn’t go to school for this. We are MBAs, lawyers and local businessmen who have paid our dues and look at this fast-growing industry as a way to expand our business acumen in this new industry we call ‘Hollywood South.’” Ask the cast of Gold Star how to break into the movie business, and you’ll hear ‘go to business school.’ Bradley went to law school and not ﬁlm school, which helps Gold Star with the state tax credit. “We’re normal people,” Tufaro goes on to say. “We aren’t going to change. I’m a New Orleans guy. I just want to make sure we support the local economy, help the ﬁlm industry and make killer movies.” Gold Star’s intent is to produce independent movies at the studio level. “I’m not shooting anywhere else,” says Tufaro. “It’s in the greater New Orleans area or we don’t even look at it.”
Not surprisingly, Gold Star has developed extensive contacts. “We have an unofﬁcial co-production deal with longtime Hollywood insider Colin Bates, who owns Silver Lining Media Group and is currently producing ﬁlms under Fubar Films,” adds Tufaro. “They have an ofﬁce on Poydras Street [in New Orleans], where all they do is develop scripts. Colin’s physical on the ground post-production and production. Now that we are getting bigger, we are doing things together.”
Luke Zeringue (Locations/Kidnap), Joey Tufaro (Executive Gold Star), and Jarred Bradley (President Gold Star). Omitted is chairman Todd Trosclair.
However, Tufaro readily admits that picking the scripts, developing the projects, hiring everyone, and everything else that goes into moviemaking isn’t simple. “I’ve probably read well over 700 scripts in the last year,” he notes. “We are really producing, not just putting up money. We are physically producing and helping put the talent together.” And just because Gold Star is independent doesn’t mean the projects are small or low-risk. “It doesn’t make sense to do smaller ﬁlms that we aren’t excited about because you’re doing just as much work on a smaller ﬁlm as a bigger ﬁlm,” notes Bradley. “You still have to put the deals together and it’s the same type of situation except you aren’t making any money.” “We want commercially viable projects with big stars that have a chance to explode,” explains Tufaro. So on Kidnap, Gold Star is working with not just star Halle Berry, but also Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who produced the Transformers series, among other tent-pole titles. “Having Lorenzo di is a huge asset,” says Tufaro, “because he comes in as former president of Warner Bros. and says ‘I want this guy, this guy, this guy,’ and they all say ‘sure.’” Tufaro admits that the company has recently passed on several Academy Award-nominated ﬁlms “because the ﬁnancial structure of the ﬁlm just did not ﬁt our model. Not all ﬁlms will work for us due to one reason or another.” “We’re making our money back. We pick good projects. And we know before we accept it that we are going to make our money back,” says Tufaro. “One of these movies is going to hit. We don’t know which one is going to be the Black Swan but if we keep doing two a year, one is going to hit. And all you need is one and you’re set… forever.” LFV ISSUE SIX
LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE 33
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HOLLYWOOD SOUTH LEGAL
FILMING IN HOLLYWOOD SOUTH? TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR SETTING UP SHOP IN LOUISIANA STORY BY MEG ALSFELD KAUL, KEAN MILLER LLP
o, you’ve decided to shoot your ﬁlm in beautiful, unique Louisiana. What’s next? In order to earn tax credits on your in-state expenditures, you should address the following matters prior to production.
SETTING UP SHOP In order to qualify for the Louisiana motion picture incentive program, you must form an entity in the State of Louisiana. Most producers choose to create a limited liability company (or “LLC”) due to the ease of formation, the limited liability for its members, the flexibility of control, structure, governance and management of the company, and the general lack of corporate formalities. However, some producers opt to form Louisiana corporations, generally, due to the centralized management, transferabilit y of interests, and unlimited types or methods of financing through the public markets. The tax credit application formerly suggested that producers form both a “production entity” and an “investment entity”; however, producers can elect to set up only one company, through which expenditures are made. It is beneficial to consult an attorney when making the decision on whether to form an LLC or corporation, and whether to set up two entities or one. You will also need to find local production office space so that your Louisiana entity will have an in-state address. If you elect to create a Louisiana LLC, you will file your Articles of Organization and Initial Report with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office. The filing fee is approximately $100. This may also be done online. You should retain local counsel to draft an operating agreement for the company, which will outline items such as allocations and distributions, the rights and obligations of the members, and any limits of authority of the managers of the company.
BANK LOCAL Once your local entity is established, you’ll typically obtain a federal employer identiﬁcation number (“EIN”) for the entity, which can be obtained online through the IRS website. Once you have the corporate documents and an EIN, you should look to establish a production bank account with a local bank.
FILE YOUR APP In order to be eligible to receive tax credits, you must ﬁll out an Initial Tax Credit Application on the Louisiana Entertainment website through their FastLane online portal. The application asks for information such as a detailed preliminary budget, a distribution plan, your script and synopsis, including principal cast and above-the-line, and the anticipated number of local hires. It is important to list the ﬁrst date of your expenditures accurately on this form. If you come to Louisiana and spend money scouting locations, or start paying crew who are in Louisiana working on production-related matters prior to production, you want the application to capture this time so that you can earn tax credits on those in-state expenditures. For example, if pre-production is expected to commence in November, but you came to New Orleans several times to scout and set up your ofﬁces starting in January, you would want to list January as the start time on your application. Once the application is complete, the project will be evaluated for eligibility. If the Louisiana Entertainment Department (“LED”) determines that the project meets the eligibility requirements, LED will issue an “Initial Certiﬁcation” letter that provides guidelines on the expenditures for your project.
The Initial Certiﬁcation letter should be returned to you from LED within 60 business days of submitting your application.
HIRE A REPUTABLE CPA You should have an experienced production accountant address all of the expenditures made throughout production to help ensure that your audit goes smoothly. It is also important to engage an independent, local and experienced CPA as soon as possible. Typically, upon the completion of principal photography, you will submit your production expenses to your CPA, who will perform an independent audit of the expenses and generate an audit report. You will submit this report to LED, who will review it and ask questions. You’ll want to respond promptly and honestly to these questions to help expedite the certiﬁcation of your tax credits. Then, upon the state’s ﬁnal review and approval, they will issue a “Final Certiﬁcation” letter of your tax credits. Your tax credits can now be sold back to the state or a third-party broker, or used to offset your Louisiana tax liability. LFV This article is provided for general information only. The material contained in the article may not reﬂect the most current legal developments. Such material does not constitute legal advice, and no person should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information contained in this article without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice on that person’s particular circumstances. ISSUE SIX
LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE 35
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Keynote conversation between (L - R) Robert Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment, chairman, and Harry Jessell.
LIVE TV: CREATING A NEW “EVENT” GENRE? STORY BY WÉLAND BOURNE
t Live TV: LA, a series of seminars with TV executives recently held in Los Angeles, you would never have any clue that television ratings are down. Sports viewership is at an all time high; according to NBC, the Sound of Music Live is the singular most successful live broadcast outside of football on the network since 2004. So what does “live” have that regular TV doesn’t? And more importantly can it save TV from its enormous ratings slump?
It used to be that much more of television was live. As more and more shows switched to tape, live programming became exclusive to predominantly sports, news, special events, and talk shows. According to NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt, this resulted in live TV becoming “an event,” an event which NBC gambled $9 million scoring big with viewership well over 18 million for Sound of Music Live. As a direct result, NBC is hoping lightning will strike twice with Peter Pan Live in 2014 and another musical production in 2015. There is no doubt that the musical following of Carrie Underwood
played a huge part in the success of Sound of Music Live. “She (Carrie Underwood) has close to 9 million Twitter followers so we ﬁgured we’d get at least 9 million views,” said Greenblatt. Yet that comes nowhere close to the 18 million in viewership. Greenblatt believes that what really got people watching was, “The feeling that what they were watching could only be seen now,” even though NBC had plans to reair the recording of the event. The surprising statistic they found was that a huge number of cord cutters were watching the program. Greenblatt indicated that 2014’s Peter Pan Live will really put the live theory to the test. If successful, it will prove that people have a real hunger for quality live events and scripted hybrid theater. Hybrid theater is a relatively new concept that mixes a theater production like Sound of Music Live with a more cinematic approach for television audiences. With so much change going on in the TV industry as networks look at OTT services, the only prediction that anyone can make is this: for the moment sports TV and live “event” TV continue to hit their marks while other television content falls by the wayside. With productions like Sound of Music Live and Peter Pan Live, a new TV genre may soon be emerging which could make up for the decrease in TV ratings. For a state like Louisiana known for its rich musical heritage, “event” TV could provide new creative opportunities for the industry in the state. LFV
LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE 37
SPOTLIGHT ON NORTH LOUISIANA
SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER OUTLOOK FOR 2015 STORY BY PAM GLORIOSO SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER FILM OFFICE
ith the end of 2014 nearing, the Shreveport-Bossier Film Office, a virtual office that is composed of Arlena Acree from the City of Shreveport’s Mayor’s Office and Pam Glorioso of the City of Bossier City’s Mayor’s Office, looks to 2015 for new projects and the continuation of projects. These two ladies have worked together since 2005 to market, promote, educate and grow the ﬁlm industry in North Louisiana. Both have achieved the title of “Certiﬁed Film Commissioner” from the Association of Film Commissioners International, making their office the only ﬁlm office in the state to have two AFCI-certiﬁed commissioners.
Currently, the area is seeing the making of the Hank Williams biography I Saw the Light, written, directed and produced by Marc Abraham, and starring Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams and Elizabeth Olsen as Audrey Williams. The ﬁlm is set to release in 2015 and is being totally produced in Shreveport-Bossier City. The excitement of the television drama Salem will be coming back for its second season on WGN-America. This 17th century-set series, inspired by the witch trials of Salem and starring Janet Montgomery and Shane West, was renewed for a 13-episode second season for 2015. Shreveport-Bossier City has been fortunate to have in the area Moonbot Studios, which in 2012 won
an Oscar for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. This creative group is now looking forward to 2015 for a second possible Oscar for The Numberlys, created by William Joyce and Christina Ellis. From the sleepy North Louisiana that was faced with being thrown into the storm of the ﬁlm industry in 2005, the area has proven that Shreveport-Bossier can bring ﬁlmmakers a world of locations, from low-budget independent ﬁlms to animated ﬁlms to major studio productions. The Shreveport-Bossier Film Ofﬁce is ready to work with productions to help make that mere script into a reality of ﬁlm, maybe even an Oscar contender. LFV
LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE 39
SPOTLIGHT ON NORTH LOUISIANA
THE LA FILM PRIZE:
A FILMMAKER’S PERSPECTIVE STORY BY NICK SAVIDES
n October I attended the Louisiana Film Prize, a shortﬁlm festival that happens once a year in Shreveport. It is named after the $50,000 prize that is awarded to the top ﬁlm at the festival, an honor that is determined by a mix of audience votes and evaluations from industry professionals who are asked to serve as judges.
That’s a captivating organizing principle for a festival, and I had heard good things about the LA Film Prize, but I still wrestled with the prospect of attending. I had submitted Trent’s War, a short ﬁlm about a soldier battling PTSD, and it did not get accepted. Trent’s War was the most challenging short ﬁlm that I’ve directed to date. It was also a story that was close to my heart, and we made it speciﬁcally for the ﬁlm festival, so it stung quite a bit when we did not get accepted. Why should I spend a few hundred dollars to attend a festival and be reminded of that setback, I wondered. Would it be worth it? The LA Film Prize is appealing to ﬁlmmakers for a few reasons. The ﬁrst reason is obvious enough: $50,000 is a substantial amount of money for a short ﬁlm to win. I haven’t seen any other festival in the world that offers a bigger prize to short ﬁlms. Shorts are an art form unto themselves and can provide training for ﬁlmmakers who go on to make bigger projects. Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and George Lucas all started off making shorts. Clearly shorts have value, but the more polished ones take some resources to undertake. While shorts do not cost the same as feature ﬁlms, they can still involve a sizable investment, and moviemaking is a notoriously bad investment, at least from a business perspective, since the vast majority of ﬁlms made don’t earn back their budgets. The statistics are even worse for short ﬁlms. And so every venue that offers even the possibility of making money back on a short will catch the attention of emerging ﬁlmmakers. Of course winning the LA Film Prize is still a long shot, but it nudges the conversation towards action. “I have no idea how we’re going to make our money back” becomes “I have no idea how we’re going to make our money back
unless we win the LA Film Prize!” That’s a start, and starting is sometimes the hardest part. It’s sort of like deciding to go for a run in the cold. The elements at hand provide some resistance to the idea, but once you get started and focus on taking one step after another, you get acclimated to the environment. Another appealing, but less obvious, aspect of the festival is that it provides an opportunity to work with a higher caliber of talent. Actors and crew are sometimes willing to work for deferred payment or for lower rates if given the chance to work on a project that will get enough attention, and the LA Film Prize is one venue that can provide that attention. Before getting to my festival experience, I should clarify that making a short for the LA Film Prize is more involved than just shooting a short and submitting it. You have to shoot the ma-
SHORTS ARE AN ART FORM UNTO THEMSELVES AND CAN PROVIDE TRAINING FOR FILMMAKERS WHO GO ON TO MAKE BIGGER PROJECTS. jority of the ﬁlm in the Shreveport-Bossier area, and that means tailoring your story to the locations that are available there. It also adds travel and lodging expenses to the ﬁlmmakers who don’t live in the area. This requirement is a smart way for the festival organizers to ensure that the festival pumps noticeable amounts of money into the local economy, and that is sure to help them raise the money they need for the prize and for running the festival. At the end of May we traveled to Shreveport to shoot Trent’s War, had some adventures, and then traveled back home. I spent the next few weeks editing and then submitted a rough cut to the festival. A few weeks later the top 20 ﬁlms were announced, and we were not included. That hurt, but I had already taken the days off for the festival, and I was curious to see what the festival experience would be like. After some hand-wringing, I decided to attend. As I drove through Interstate 49, I considered the possibility that I was about to spend much-needed vacation time being miserable by immersing myself in the source of recent heartache. ISSUE SIX
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I arrived in time to attend the end of the Louisiana Music Prize, a music competition run by the same group behind the LA Film Prize. (They also run the Louisiana Startup Prize. Gregory Kallenberg, the festival organizer, and his team are to be commended for their commitment to supporting and expanding the economy of the Shreveport-Bossier region.) An LA Film Prize pass also provides access to the LA Music Prize performances, so after I got my festival badge, I took the opportunity to hear some live music. Then I saw the ﬁlms. As with almost every other festival I’ve attended, there were a few ﬁlms I did not like, but there were also some good ones, and a few of them were exceptional gems. Many of them involved Louisiana-based ﬁlmmakers and performers, and it was encouraging to see such vibrant displays of creativity from artists in the region. Plus, the festival gave me the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and I met a few people whom I hope to collaborate with in the future. Since audience choice plays such a big part in who wins the LA Film Prize, the festival organizers encourage the ﬁlmmakers to engage the audience by providing a $500 stipend to each of the 20 ﬁlms that get selected. Some ﬁlmmakers opted to use this money to host parties at various venues around town. Others opted to set up a tent in the festival’s common grounds, called Festival Central by the LA Film Prize, and give away promotional items. I haven’t attended every festival out there, but I’ve attended some of the big ones like Cannes, Tribeca and SXSW, as well as a few of the smaller ones. From those experiences, I can attest to the uniqueness of the common grounds at the LA Film Prize. Every festival has a VIP area where the ﬁlmmakers congregate, and many of them do panels where you can hear from the ﬁlmmakers during a Q&A session, but I haven’t been to another festival where various members of a ﬁlmmaking team are accessible to everyone and throughout the festival. Some of the ﬁlms even had a presence during almost every hour of festival activity. For example, one of the gals at the True Heroes tent told me she had put in about 12 hours at their tent. The ﬁlmmakers are willing to do that for the same reason that a politician attends a town hall meeting: to sway popular opinion and gain votes. In exchange for being lobbied, festival attendees get to have informal conversations with the ﬁlmmakers about how they made their ﬁlms and why.
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As a ﬁlmmaker, I understand how encouraging it can be to get recognition from a festival, so I took seriously my responsibilities as a voter. After watching all of the ﬁlms, I made a list of the ﬁlms I was considering and sought out all the festival interviews relating to those ﬁlms. For me the most memorable moment of those interviews came from James Merrick, the director of Action Movie 3: The Sequel. I enjoyed parts of that ﬁlm, but it wasn’t a ﬁlm I was going to vote for. Still, I was curious to hear what the director had to say. His interview responses were mostly lighthearted and amusing with a few witty one liners spread throughout, in keeping with the style of his film, but when asked why people should vote for his film, his tone changed. He became emotional, almost to the point of tears, and urged the audience to vote for the film that was the most meaningful to them, even if that meant voting for another film. He then went on to talk about how much films mean to him and how special it is when someone can work on something that matters to them. His impassioned remarks and his generosity to his competitors and fellow filmmakers reinforced the sense of community that I was starting to feel. His response will stay with me long after I’ve forgotten about all the plot points in the festival’s films. After some deliberation I voted for Based on Rosenthal. Overall it was the ﬁlm that I felt had the most compelling mix of strong performances, depth, scope and technical polish. It did not win the grand prize, but it did receive $3,000 from the Founder’s Circle, which provides some validation to the ﬁlmmakers while helping the production to recover some of its expenses. True Heroes won the top prize. It was in my top five and a polished Hollywood-style crowd-pleaser. Some of my friends worked on it, so I was happy for them. Shortly thereafter, the festival came to an end. I sampled blackened catﬁsh at the Blind Tiger, a Cajun restaurant in town, and talked to an aggressively opinionated, but mostly charming, bartender. It was an appropriate coda to my LA Film Prize experience and a reminder that Shreveport is full of personality. Attending the LA Film Prize wasn’t entirely painless, but I’m glad I went. Would I consider attending again? Absolutely. LFV
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THE 25TH ANNUAL NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL NOFF IN REVIEW
Black or White producer Todd Lewis and wife Claire Lewis.
Actor Jay Huguley makes an opening night appearance.
STORY BY HALEY SUMMERS
e really want to celebrate the rich history of the last 25 years,” said Jolene Pinder, executive director of the New Orleans Film Festival.
Although simple, the statement made on opening night best illustrates the atmosphere of the entire 2014 festival. The last two and a half decades have given the event—described by MovieMaker Magazine as “a happy blur of daiquiris and alligator nuggets, passionate, intelligent filmmaking and bizarre bouncy castle encounters”— time to establish itself as one of the most reputable regional film festivals in the country. Held every October by the New Orleans Film Society, the New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) allows for new and established ﬁlmmakers to debut their latest works. Mike Binder’s New Orleans-shot ﬁlm Black or White shows why the city, so rich in history, creates a dynamic backdrop desirable to a lot of ﬁlmmakers. The ﬁlm, which was screened on opening night, stars Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer and New Orleans native Anthony Mackie. Binder spoke about New Orleans and his original feelings about ﬁlming in the city. “At ﬁrst, I wasn’t sure about the location, but after a lot of cajoling by the producer, Todd Lewis, I realized that New Orleans truly was the best choice and I’m very happy that we ended up here.” Moments before the Black or White screening began, Pinder voiced the New Orleans Film Society’s appreciation for directors like Binder. “We realize that the willingness of ﬁlmmakers to ﬁlm in our city allows for better festivals,” she said. “We couldn’t be happier or more proud of the growth in our city’s ﬁlm production because, without it, the NOFF would cease to exist.” The Big Beat: The Story of Fats Domino and His Band is best described by director Joseph Lauro as a documentary about “how Fats’ music became rock ‘n’ roll and how it effectively broke down the color barriers that paved the way for racial integration through music.” Pinder expressed enthusiasm about the project during the festival’s closing night. “Tonight, having the world premiere of The Big Beat is a dream come true for us. We’ve worked very hard at producing a great festival that honors 25 years and we believe that screening a documentary that’s
Black or White actor Anthony Mackie.
so indicative of New Orleans is the best way to do that.” The theme of Lauro’s ﬁlm, in conjunction with Binder’s Black or White, made the opening and closing nights symmetrical, rounding out the festival in a very cohesive way. Alexa Georges, president of the New Orleans Film Society, thanked everyone by making an unorthodox, but well received announcement. “In 2007, the society created something called the Celluloid Hero award, which was given to an outstanding member in the New Orleans film community. This year, the award goes to everyone in the community, because without them, none of this would be possible.” New Orleans Film Festival is a nonprofit, cultural organization dedicated to providing all audiences access to a diversity of local, national and international film and video. The festival also presents a series of mentor sessions, workshops and panel discussions featuring industry leaders. LFV ISSUE SIX
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46 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE
ISSUE SIX 2014
LFV DRAWS A CROWD AT NOFF
NOFF IN REVIEW
STORY BY COREY VAUGHN
ctober proved to be a highlight in the world of Louisiana ﬁlm. With the New Orleans Film Festival, several new and independent movies were showcased that put a giant spotlight on what some of the best and brightest in the state were working on. Films like Black or White and The Big Beat premiered at the Carver Center and Prytania Theatre, both of which contained a great blend of big name talent working on thoughtful, local subjects. The party at the Westin showcased a veritable who’s who of the Louisiana ﬁlm scene, with an eccentric mix of actors, directors and producers all in line to enjoy the fun and festivities. Actor/director John Schneider garnered the attention of partygoers, along with actor Dwight Henry of Beasts of the Southern Wild, who brought some specialty treats from his bakery. The fun was warranted, however, because there was much to celebrate. Not only were industry leaders in for the New Orleans Film Festival, but the event even served as the
In the midst of this success came an opportunity for local ﬁlm lovers and industry execs to network with other people who shared a common passion for Louisiana ﬁlm. Nowhere was this more evident than on the top ﬂoor of the Westin hotel, where a get-together brought a number of local talent for a night of celebration and meet-and-greets. The event, sponsored by none other than Louisiana Film & Video Magazine, brought out one of the best aspects of the New Orleans Film Festival: the tangible feeling for fan and professional alike that Louisiana is quickly becoming one of the most exciting places to be for ﬁlm and cinema. ISSUE SIX 2014
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after-party venue for one of the most promising independent ﬁlms in the festival, Love Land. In the ﬁlm, director Josh Tate explores the complex relationships of people with mental disabilities in a small Texas town. The ﬁlm traverses some admirable and important subject matters, and even showcases the talents of several actors and actresses who have intellectual disabilities of their own. After the premiere of the ﬁlm, the cast and crew were all in attendance in order to celebrate its release. “The main message of the ﬁlm is that people with developmental
disabilities can represent themselves on the main screen. They have the talent, they have the ability and the stamina, and it puts on a layer of authenticity that you just can’t get from other actors who try to play those roles,” said Tate. Lead actor Skyy Moore added to Tate’s point by explaining the unusual circumstances involved in shooting this particular film. “We shot in some pretty creative places, and lived out of an abandoned
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ISSUE SIX 2014
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mental institution for a few months, which was pretty creepy. There was a lot of negative energy, but we put a lot of positive energy in there,” said Moore. Love Land is only one of many films experiencing the incentives that Louisiana has to offer filmmakers. With the combination of good exposure and a good time, the New Orleans Film Festival (and Louisiana) is proving itself as a great space where new artists can expose their craft to a dedicated fan base. Said Tate, “It’s wonderful; this is the first festival that I’ve been to as a director and I’m totally spoiled now.” Louisiana Film & Video Magazine would like to thank all those who attended, as well as our sponsors: American Roadshow Catering, Lakehouse Catering, Wink’s World Famous Buttermilk Drop, Wrapture, Last Looks, LACopterCam, and the City of New Orleans Office of Police Secondary Employment. LFV
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NOFF IN REVIEW
“SCREENWRITING AND THE SHORT FILM”
STORY BY CAROL ANN SCRUGGS
he New Orleans Film Festival celebrated its 25th year in 2014 thanks to the New Orleans Film Society, a core group of over 1,200 dedicated members. Its mission to engage, educate and inspire through the art of ﬁlm reaches over 33,000 people annually. Its continued growth is no surprise with the already booming ﬁlm industry in Louisiana.
The festival offers a myriad of ﬁlm screenings, workshops and panels relating to the ﬁlm industry. One of popular interest was the panel presented by Women in Film and Television (WIFT). WIFT is dedicated to advancing professional development and achievement for women working in all areas of ﬁlm, video and digital media. WIFT Louisiana is the local chapter of a global network made up of over 40 chapters of Women in Film worldwide with over 10,000 members. WIFT was well represented at the festival. Film screenings included Bayou Maharajah, directed by Lily Keber; Fettuccine, starring and produced by Shanna Forrestall with production design by Cindi Knapton; and Smothered, starring Forrestall and produced by John Schneider. Forrestall, an actor, writer and producer, has produced and starred in two other ﬁlms at previous New Orleans Film Festivals, Where Strippers Go to Die and Homelicide. In addition, WIFT presented “Screenwriting and the Short Film,” a panel that discussed the early stages of screenwriting and how screenplays are conceived and shaped. The room at the Contemporary Arts Center was packed awaiting the prestigious panel. Cindi Knapton, acting president of WIFT, introduced the panel and Roberta Munroe moderated. Munroe served as a ﬁlm juror for this year’s ﬁlm festival. She is a producer, writer/direc-
tor and managing partner of her ﬁlm production and consulting company. She also worked as the founding artistic director of the Blackhouse Foundation and a programmer for Sundance. The panel was comprised of two award-winning ﬁlmmakers, Frances Bodomo and Annie Silverstein. Bodomo premiered her last two short ﬁlms, Boneshaker (NOFF 2013) and Afronauts (NOFF 2014), at Sundance. Bodomo is a native of Ghana. She was the 2014 NOFF Jury winner for Narrative Short for Afronauts. Based on a true story, it’s set in July 1969 when America was landing on the moon. It’s a story about a group of Zambian exiles who wanted to beat America and Russia to the moon even though they didn’t have the resources to do it. The ﬁlm discusses the idea that it’s not about the lack of resources to go to the moon, but rather why people dream about doing it in the ﬁrst place. Boneshaker stars Oscarnominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis. It follows a Ghanaian immigrant family taking a road trip to a Pentecostal church in Louisiana to cure their violent daughter. When asked about the difference in writing shorts versus a feature ﬁlm, Bodomo had this to say: “I end up writing scripts that are very detailed and may follow a certain structure, but knowing what story follows in the script and then shooting it is about keeping the essence and moments in the script that tell the story. These are the ones that we hold on to. I write about desires that seem impossible to reach. There’s not enough time for a three act structure.” Also on the panel was Annie Silverstein, a ﬁlmmaker and media educator based out of Austin, Texas. She won the 2014 NOFF Special Jury award Narrative Short for her ﬁlm Skunk. Her ﬁlm also was awarded ﬁrst prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation. Skunk tells the story of when her pit bull is stolen by an amateur dog ﬁghter and 14-year-old Leila is forced to stand up for herself, at the cost of her own innocence. When asked what prompted her to make the ﬁlm, this is what ISSUE SIX
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Silverstein had to say: “I was a youth worker, essentially a social worker, for 10 years prior to going to ﬁlm school and being a documentary ﬁlmmaker. I started to experiment with ﬁction, and all of the stories I write about had themes from the world I was working in.” On writing short ﬁlms, she said, “Writing shorts is ﬁnding a transformable moment in someone’s life and focusing on that moment. Don’t try to cover too much ground. You just don’t have that much time. Be simple. Simplicity is the key.” Following the panel discussion, WIFT hosted a Women in Film and Television (Louisiana and International) Celebration of Women Filmmakers reception. All attendees and participants had the opportunity to meet and network with other attendees and ﬁlmmakers. LFV
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CHEWING THE FAT WITH NOLA CATERER go.â€? He began taking catering assignments in Louisiana in 2008. As the movie business picked doing on-location catering: â€œOn Wild Things, we passed food up in Louisiana and Chicago onto a sailboat 30 miles offshore in a speed boat. They were slowed down, Haines ďŹ nally consuper far out to get the right color of the water.â€? sidered a permanent move. â€œIn February 2011, we came down here and had two years straight of two shows at a time,â€? Haines Haines has been in the business of providing ďŹ ne cuisine under remembers. â€œThe last couple years itâ€™s been very consistent.â€? the rigors of moviemaking for 19 years. â€œWeâ€™ve worked in all weathHaines credits his success with ďŹ lm crews to his quick adaptability er: freezing cold in Chicago to the Amazon. We can travel anywhere on-set. Film productions frequently have large head counts, and make and handle any amount of people.â€? last-minute changes, but â€œweâ€™re extremely accommodating,â€? Haines His IMDb biography lists no less than 76 credits, including says. â€œOur customer service, what we do for the individual, and caBatman Begins, 2 Guns, The Amityville Horror, and Terminator: tering to special needs is what separates us. We never have a problem Genisys. During the New Orleans Film Festival, he kindly catered doing special requests, moves... any situation we can handle.â€? Louisiana Film & Videoâ€™s Saturday night networking event. American Roadshow maintains a commitment to being environHaines owns American Roadshow Catering, which has been mentally friendly, despite these challenges. It uses eco-safe cleaning located in Elmwood since early 2012. â€œPeople like food here,â€? he products and compostable plates, cups and utensils. Recycling says. â€œIf you can make something here and people like itâ€Ś then itâ€™s whenever possible, all their mobile kitchens and support vehicles are good. Because people down here have grown up with great cooks self-contained. Their website says, â€œARS will always search out sustainand know good food.â€? able products to better serve you and our community as a whole.â€? LFV Originally from New York, Haines catered for a Chicago TV show, and ended up living there for 12 years. He ďŹ rst came to Louisiana in 1995, where he worked as a chef at Commanderâ€™s Palace, â€œuntil all For more information on American Roadshow Catering, visit www.americanmy stuff got ďŹ‚ooded in a bad rain storm and I went back to Chicaroadshowcatering.homestead.com.
hef P.J. Haines remembers one of his biggest challenges
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LOUISIANA SCREENS AT SUNDANCE 2015 BATON ROUGE-SHOT ZIPPER AND NEW ORLEANS-SHOT MISSISSIPPI GRIND TO PREMIERE
mong the showcase of highly-anticipated world premieres at this year’s 2015 Sundance Film Festival are two of Louisiana’s own: Zipper and Mississippi Grind.
Directed and co-written by Mora Stephens, Zipper stars Patrick Wilson as a family man who has it all until he risks losing everything due to his inability to fight off his obsessive temptation for other women. Among the film’s producers are Darren Aronofsky (director of Noah, Black Swan, The Wrestler), R. Bryan Wright and Amy Mitchell-Smith, who produced The Butler, another Louisiana-shot film. Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (co-directors, It’s Kind of a Funny Story), Mississippi Grind was shot partially in New Orleans and follows Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn), down on his luck and facing financial hardship, who teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what’s been lost. John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “Filmmakers in the Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections, many of whom are returning to the Festival, do not shy away from controversial, challenging and provocative subject matter. Their work enrages, engages and entertains audiences, shining a light on issues and people we thought we knew.” A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year, in addition to Zipper and Mississippi Grind, include: Brooklyn / United Kingdom (Director: John Crowley, Screenwriter: Nick Hornby, based on the book by Colm Tóibín) — 1950s Ireland: Eilis must confront a terrible dilemma—a heartbreaking choice between two men and two countries, between duty and true love. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent. Digging for Fire / U.S.A. (Director: Joe Swanberg, Screenwriters: Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg) — The discovery of a bone and a gun sends a husband and wife on separate adventures over the course of a weekend. Cast: Jake Johnson, Rosemarie Dewitt, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick. Don Verdean / U.S.A. (Director: Jared Hess, Screenwriters: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess) — Biblical archaeologist Don Verdean is hired by a local church pastor to find faith-promoting relics in the Holy Land. But after a fruitless expedition he is forced to get creative in this comedy of faith and fraud. Cast: Sam Rockwell, Jemaine Clement, Amy Ryan, Danny McBride,
Leslie Bibb, Will Forte. The End of the Tour / U.S.A. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriter: Donald Margulies) — This story of the fiveday 1996 interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Zipper Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace explores the tenuous yet intense relationship that develops between journalist and subject. The two men bob and weave, sharing laughs and also concealing and revealing their hidden vulnerabilities. Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, Mamie Gummer, Ron Livingston. Experimenter / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Almereyda) — Experimenter is based on the true story of famed social psychologist Stanley Milgram, who in 1961 conducted a series of radical behavior experiments that tested ordinary humans’ willingness to obey authority by using electric shock. We follow Milgram from meeting his wife through his controversial experiments that sparked public outcry. Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder, Jim Gaffigan, Kellan Lutz, Taryn Manning, John Leguizamo. Grandma / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Paul Weitz) — Self-described misanthrope Elle Reid has her protective bubble burst when her 18-year-old granddaughter, Sage, shows up needing help. The two of them go on a day-long journey that causes Elle to come to terms with her past and Sage to confront her future. Cast: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Sam Elliott. I Am Michael / U.S.A. (Director: Justin Kelly, Screenwriters: Justin Kelly, Stacey Miller) — The controversial true story of a gay activist who rejects his homosexuality and becomes a Christian pastor. Cast: James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts. I’ll See You in My Dreams / U.S.A. (Director: Brett Haley, Screenwriters: Brett Haley, Marc Basch) — A sudden loss disrupts Carol’s orderly life, propelling her into the dating world for the first time in 20 years. Finally living in the present tense, she finds herself swept up in not one, but two unexpected relationships that challenge her assumptions about what it means to grow old. Cast: Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliott, Malin Akerman, June Squibb, Rhea Perlman. Last Days in the Desert / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: ISSUE SIX
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Rodrigo Garcia) — Ewan McGregor is Jesus—and the Devil— in an imagined chapter from his 40 days of fasting and praying in the desert. On his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis, setting himself up for a dramatic test. Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ciarán Hinds, Ayelet Zurer, Tye Sheridan. Lila & Eve / U.S.A. (Director: Charles Stone III, Screenwriter: Patrick Gilfillan) — Lila, a grief-stricken mother reeling from her son’s murder, attends a support group where she meets Eve, who urges her to take matters into her own hands to track down her son’s killers. They soon embark on a journey of revenge, but also recovery. Cast: Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez, Shea Whigham, Julius Tennon, Ron Caldwell, Aml Ameen. Mistress America / U.S.A. (Director: Noah Baumbach, Screenwriters: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig) — Tracy, a lonely college freshman in New York, is rescued from her solitude by her soon-to-be stepsister Brooke, an adventurous gal about town who entangles her in alluringly mad schemes. Mistress America is a comedy about dream-chasing, score-settling, makeshift families, and cat-stealing. Cast: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke. Seoul Searching / U.S.A., Korea (Director and screenwriter: Benson Lee) — Seoul Searching is a comedy set in the ‘80s about a group of foreign-born Korean teenagers who meet at a
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Seoul summer camp to learn what it means to be Korean. The three boys, from the U.S., Mexico, and Germany, then meet three girls who rock their world. Cast: Justin Chon, Jessika Van, In-pyo Cha, Teo Yoo, Esteban Ahn, Byul Kang. Sleeping With Other People / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Leslye Headland) — Jake and Lainey impulsively lose their virginity to each other in college. When their paths cross twelve years later in NYC, they realize they both have become serial cheaters. Bonding over their chronic infidelity, they form a platonic friendship to support each other in their quests for healthy romantic relationships. Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet, Jason Mantzoukas, Natasha Lyonne. Ten Thousand Saints / U.S.A. (Directors: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman, Screenwriters: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini) — Based on the acclaimed novel, Ten Thousand Saints follows three lost kids and their equally lost parents as they come of age in New York’s East Village in the era of CBGB, yuppies, and the tinderbox of gentrification that exploded into the Tompkins Square Park Riot of 1988. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Asa Butterfield, Emily Mortimer, Julianne Nicholson, Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch. LFV For a list of the Documentary Premieres and the rest of the Sundance schedule, visit www.sundance.org.
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HOLLYWOOD GOES GREEN AT SECOND LINE STAGES INSIDE THE ECO-FRIENDLY NEW ORLEANS STUDIO
econd Line Stages president/CEO Susan Brennan remembers the ﬁrst big ﬁlm production she had in November 2009. “It was The Mechanic remake with Jason Statham. Our very ﬁrst movie, and they were blowing up stuff. I was like, ‘Ah, we just built this place.’ But it was ﬁne; they knew what they were doing.”
Since providing a home for The Mechanic, followed by Green Lantern in January 2010, Second Line Stages has been the site of many major ﬁlm and television productions. They’ve worked with Sony Pictures, with 20th Century Fox on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and with The Weinstein Company on Django Unchained. Says Brennan, “A friend of mine was in The Royal Orleans Hotel
at the bar and she called me. She said all the sound guys working on Django were there bragging about sound quality at Second Line. If Quentin Tarantino’s people say it’s good, then I think it’s good. They said, ‘Susan Brennan did it right.’” Weinstein later returned to Second Line for The Butler, and recently called Brennan to check on its availability for an upcoming project. Weinstein isn’t alone in wanting to make use of Second Line. Brennan notes, “We have American Horror Story in now, which originally was our ﬁrst television show. They stay a long time. And it’s a repeat so you get to see the same people and same cast and it’s nice.” Right now, Second Line’s dance card ﬁlls very quickly. “We have had a lot of calls,” Brennan says. “Even commercial work. I’ve been recommending people right and left. There’s a lot of stages that are full right now, so not a lot available.” Second Line has three separate stages with a total of 37,000 square feet of space. Their location in the Lower Garden District ISSUE SIX
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neighborhood of New Orleans puts them within walking distance of the Warehouse District, close to Uptown, as well as the French Quarter. Stage One is 18,000 square feet, a pretty standard size for stages in Los Angeles. “Stage One was purpose-built. It’s the only stage in the state that has a catwalk,” Brennan points out. “We have huge chillers letting us cool the area to 60 degrees in a matter of minutes. It’s a real Hollywood stage and that’s one of the reasons people come here. They walk in and say, ‘This is a real stage.’” The other two stages are renovations of historic buildings. The entire facility was constructed to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Certification standard, awarded to structures that achieve superior environmental performance. Re-use and recycling have been a part of Second Line’s identity from the beginning. “I think that everyone who builds these days should be building smart and green,” Brennan says. “When you have a huge ofﬁce building or stage, you use a tremendous amount of energy. We try to be very cognizant of the environment.” Second Line promotes biodiesel use, and has composting
stations by their refrigerators. Carpets are made from recycled materials. Second Line’s website has links to green vendors and tips on keeping energy use low under a “Sustainability” tab. Water is specially ﬁltered and chilled. “If you’ve got any kind of allergies you could probably work here without having your eyes bother you,” Brennan states. “So that’s a good thing, too.” In addition to being the home of ﬁlm and TV productions, Second Line has become the home to a number of long-term tenants who support the ﬁlm industry. Hollywood Trucks, Hertz, Kyotocolor and Storyville have ofﬁces on the fourth ﬂoor. Several casting directors, including Meagan Lewis and Brent Cabellero, occupy the second ﬂoor. Second Line has also expanded its ofﬁce space to a ﬁve-story building on Constance Street, which includes a number of businesses, such as Jon Vogl’s Apex Post, Glorioso Casting and Coulon Casting. For larger productions, Brennan also created a big 5,500-square-foot costume room. LFV For more information on Second Line Stages, please visit their website at www. secondlinestages.com.
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HOTEL STORYVILLE: A RELAXING RESPITE IN THE FRENCH QUARTER
nnkeeper Barbara Ann Locklear says her boutique Hotel Storyville, located on historic Esplanade Avenue near the French Quarter, is well suited to meet the needs of ﬁlm and video productions—including comfortable lodging, secure parking and expansive gardens for receptions, shoots and other business or social functions. “Hotel Storyville is a sweet little gem just two blocks from the edge of the Quarter,” she says. “I think we offer the best of both worlds… the charm of the Quarter and its world famous restaurants and nightlife, as well as proximity to street and other working scenes being shot in the area.” The peaceful inn offers a place to relax and unwind after a day on the job, with one- and two-bedroom suites and a studio apartment. Each non-smoking room includes a fully equipped kitchen— down to the corkscrew—that provides the perfect lodging for a short or extended stay. Each also offers free Wi-Fi and cable television. Smoking is permitted in the garden or on the porches and balconies. Meanwhile, the hotel’s large gardens offer space for relaxing, holding large and small events—the gardens are already a popular venue for weddings and receptions—or hosting business clients. “This lush tropical garden with fountains and a beautiful pond are perfect for anything, from feeding a couple hundred crew, parking food trucks, shooting scenes, hosting wrap parties, and as a music venue,” says Locklear. Such was the case October 20, when the hotel gardens played host to the “Magic Under the Stars”
open house party for members of the industry and others during the New Orleans Film Festival. The garden was transformed by Event Design NOLA and Fat Cat Flowers, which enhanced the jazz band, magician, stilt walker, photo booth by TapSnap, and lots of happy guests thanks to the food provided by Secret Chef Nola, says Locklear. The hotel’s garden can accommodate 300 people for a party with two nice restrooms and a great speaker system, while the gated parking lot can accommodate 16 cars, she says. Adds Locklear, “The Tiki Bar and Mermaids Lounge provide welcome and intimate space to gather with crew and friends or clients, whether for a glass of wine in the evening or a cup of coffee with a copy of Louisiana Film & Video Magazine in the morning. And if you prefer to ‘people watch,’ you can rock away on the balcony and will no doubt see a cast of interesting characters pass by.” Perhaps a place to spot that perfect extra for your next project. LFV For more information, contact Barbara Ann Locklear at 504-9484800 or visit www.hotelstoryville. net.
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EVENT PLANNING SERVICES FOR NOLA FILMMAKERS
can literally build a party for people if that is what they are interested in,” says Kari Shisler of Event Design NOLA. Event Design recently had an open house with Hotel Storyville, a boutique inn on Esplanade Avenue, to introduce their companies to the Louisiana ﬁlm industry.
The well-attended event included Fat Cat Flowers, Secret Chef, and, in Shisler’s words, “a variety of people who were interested, such as wedding planners, along with a lot of people in the ﬁlm industry.” Shisler reﬂects, “I feel like there were a lot of cards being exchanged and good networking taking place.” Shisler spent 20 years in ﬁlm production, “starting out as a PA and went all the way up, producing the last ﬁve or six years of my career.” But her present focus is larger corporate events, working with Party Planners West, who are ranked in the top 50 of event planners. “I’ve done larger shoots: parts of features, commercial shoots with budgets of over a million dollars and crews of 100 people,” says Shisler. “And because of that, I’m kind of parlaying my past ﬁlm experience into events that host 500 or more people.”
Locally, Shisler did lead logistics for the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival for three years. The popular Uptown November festival had 50,000 people attending. She also handled the Crescent City Classic Party. Speaking of her work the last few years with Party Planners West, Shisler observes, “We do the Super Bowl every year. We do NFL tailgate, and NFL Experience, which last year gained a lot of notoriety because they actually manage to close down 12 whole blocks surrounding Times Square.” For the Philadelphia native whose career has been spent mostly in San Francisco and New York, Party Planners West “are a model of what I want to do. They don’t really have a presence here in New Orleans, so that’s what I’m trying to bring and do.” Shisler believes all this experience gives her a genuine connection to her clients. “I can work with ﬁlm people. I speak the same language. I know who the players are. And I feel like I can craft a great wrap party within their budget that would be unique and take the effort and responsibility out of the hands of producers of the ﬁlm.” Asked if there’s something that clients don’t consider for large events, Shisler points to design. “I have a lot of aesthetics,” she says. “A part of the lagniappe you get with my company comes from a love for design. I can tailor a ISSUE SIX
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design to my client, so that’s sort of the unique thing I can include.” She also has contacts who can quickly turn the immaterial aspect of design into concrete features every event needs. “I have access to people who can do fabrication. Everyone says ‘customize,’ but I have access to furniture that I can customize to ﬂip covers to actually fabricating just about anything with wood, upholstery or steel.” In today’s corporate business environment, Shisler ﬁnds this wealth of resources vital. “I draw on my ﬁlm experience of knowing what clients from different areas will expect of me. I use that same knowledge of expectations for people coming to the events I prepare for my clients. Whether it’s for clients in the entertainment or music industries, this uniqueness factor is what I can offer them.” For more information about Event Design NOLA, visit www.eventdesignnola. com or call 504-913-2330.
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FRYBIZ: THE BATON ROUGE STUDIO FOR THE INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER
e are trying to ﬁll the void in Baton Rouge for people that want to get their ﬁlm produced but don’t have the money to get it done because of equipment costs,” says Dr. Lucas Fry of Frybiz, LLC. “All the local guys charge anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 per day for their studio and then you have to bring everything in. I rent my studio for $2,000 a day and you get four cameras, a complete audio set-up, a working set, lighting and a director to assist. So it’s very affordable.”
Dr. Fry built the studio three-and-a-half years ago in cooperation with WLST television, “which was a local church television station that needed some help and we formed a joint operation where I brought in all the equipment and we partnered up.” The studio is a 60’ x 30’ space in Baton Rouge, well suited for television talk shows, documentary interviews, and similar activities. “We aren’t going to get the next big action ﬁlm,” says Dr. Fry, “but for someone who is trying to do an independent ﬁlm on a budget, we’re a good alternative for them.” Frybiz offers access to the high-tech equipment that serious independent ﬁlmmakers need. Red and Black Magic cameras are available, as are the dollies and grip equipment ancillary to their professional use. A full green screen exists, as does a special Harley Davidson motorcycle ﬁtted with image stabilization to get action shots. “We have the only Ride On crane in Louisiana,” boasts Dr. Fry,
“and we even offer drones.” For Dr. Fry, offering certain special equipment for ﬁlmmakers has personal signiﬁcance. “I have a special needs daughter,” he reveals, “and wanted to design something for her. I actually have a
“WE AREN’T GOING TO GET THE NEXT BIG ACTION FILM, BUT FOR SOMEONE WHO IS TRYING TO DO AN INDEPENDENT FILM ON A BUDGET, WE’RE A GOOD ALTERNATIVE FOR THEM.” power wheelchair complete Ronin gimbal system so someone who is handicapped can actually shoot a ﬁlm. It goes about 10mph so they can operate it and get the shots they want.” Frybiz can also bring equipment to your location, and in the words of its website, “travels to your production with everything needed to insure our rental products are set-up and working. Our self-contained coach provides power charging and a customer service lounge to plan your production.” Dr. Fry looks back with pride at the full-service studio that “had nothing in it” before he came and made the effort to properly equip it. He’s excited about the prospect of helping independent ﬁlmmakers who come to Louisiana to fulﬁll their dreams. “Now you have all these ﬁlmmakers who want to be the next Steven Spielberg but normally couldn’t afford to produce their movies,” he says, “and Frybiz is ready to help them.” LFV For more information about Frybiz, visit www.frybiz.com.
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Leonard Reynolds Location Manager
Positive One Productions 504.606.4110
New Orleans, LA 70117 Pitch Perfect 2 • 21 & 22 Jump Street • Dallas Buyers Club • This is the End
A GIFT HORSE PREMIERES IN BATON ROUGE
IC Media Solutions hosted a VIP red carpet premiere screening of its ﬁrst feature ﬁlm, A Gift Horse, on November 9. Hundreds of people gathered at the AMC Mall of Louisiana to attend the complimentary screening, substituting the cost of a ticket with canned goods to donate to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
Audience members were given the opportunity to walk the red carpet with lead actor John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard), as well as several other cast members and ﬁlmmakers involved in making A Gift Horse a success. The movie will be available for purchase on DVD and Video On Demand in early spring of 2015. “The ﬁlm, attendance at the event and the response on our BMS Facebook page created a great experience,” said BIC Media Solutions’ Earl Heard. “Everyone had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the movie!” LFV
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BRIEFS LOCAL FILM WINS BIG
Congratulations to the cast and crew of 1959, which took home four awards at the Lake Charles Film Festival this fall. From director John Swider and starring Eric Roberts, 1959 won Best Homegrown Film (Louisiana), Best Feature Film, and Best of Show. Plus cast member Michelle West won Best Actress. The ﬁlm was written by Jim Jackson with Aaron Jay Rome, John Swider and Rory White. Executive producers were Jackson, White, Willem Burgers and Felicia Stallard, and producers were Wayne Douglas Morgan and Murray Anthony Roth.
NEW ORLEANS FILMMAKER TEAMS UP WITH BLACKFISH CO-WRITER
New Orleans ﬁlmmaker Topher Jones has teamed up with the co-writer and associate producer of the hit documentary Blackﬁsh, Tim Zimmermann, to produce a feature-length documentary about the Maui’s Dolphin titled Popoto: The Race to Save a Species. Jones and Zimmermann will be working together to write the project and Jones will be serving as the ﬁlm’s director. The ﬁlm will begin shooting in the spring of 2015 in New Zealand and will feature world freediving record holder William Trubridge; former Whale Wars star and current star of the Pivot Network show The Operatives Pete Bethune; marine scientists Dr. Barbara Maas and Dr. Liz Slooten; and more. The ﬁlm will follow the attempts being made to save the smallest and rarest dolphin in the world, the Maui’s Dolphin (Maori: Popoto) from extinction. With less than 55 left, the Maui’s Dolphin is on the brink of extinction. The decline of the species can be directly attributed mainly to gillnet and trawler ﬁshing off of the west coast of the north island of New Zealand. With protected areas being opened up to oil exploration and drilling, conservationists fear that the species may be driven to extinction very soon. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/popotomovie.
HOLLYWOOD TRUCKS SIGNS EXCLUSIVE DEAL WITH MISSISSIPPI FILM STUDIOS
Louisiana-based Hollywood Trucks has signed an exclusive ﬁveyear deal to provide production vehicles at Mississippi’s largest studio facility, Mississippi Film Studios (MFS). Under the leadership of CEO Andre Champagne and his partners,
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Hollywood Trucks has ﬂourished in Louisiana, serving approximately 90 percent of ﬁlm and TV series recently ﬁlmed in the state. Hollywood Trucks’ specialized expertise and innovation in eco-friendly ﬁlm transportation services led to their expansion into Georgia with Pinewood Atlanta Studios in May of 2014, and now Mississippi Film Studios. “The Hollywood Trucks team is excited to partner with one of the newest members of the growing ‘Hollywood South’ family,” said Champagne. “Our expansion into Mississippi indicates the tremendous growth of the southern region’s ﬁlm industry in recent years. This new platform has enabled Hollywood Trucks to continue to focus on eco-friendly ﬂeet innovation, while growing our brand in exciting new locations like Mississippi Film Studios. Our team looks forward to a long and successful relationship with Rick Moore and MFS.” For more information, please visit www.hollywoodtrucksllc.com.
HOLBROOK MULTI MEDIA OVERSEES POST-PRODUCTION FOR THE SHELTER
The Shelter, ﬁlmed in Louisiana, has reached the end of post-production and writer/director John Fallon is working with Holbrook Multi Media to oversee all the ﬁnishing touches. Actor Michael Paré stars in the psychological thriller as Thomas, a homeless widower, who stumbles across a vast and inviting, but puzzling house that lures him in and...sorry, wouldn’t want to spoil it! Holbrook completed production for the ﬁlm in early 2014, and shortly after, Fallon made the decision to award post-production to the Lafayette-based production company. Said Fallon, “Being that their work ethic was bar none and that they understood the project, I decided to go with them in terms of post-production on the picture. I couldn’t be happier to complete this journey with them.” Holbrook’s production manager and the ﬁlm’s director of photography Bobby Holbrook doubled as the ﬁlm’s editor and colorist. He noted, “It made sense for us to be involved in both sides of the ﬁlm process since this is a unique story and needed to be woven together in a particular way, with many scenes requiring a different look. I shot with a Canon C300 using Ziess CP2 prime lenses, capturing everything wonderfully—from beautiful, wide lake shots, to cramped grimy alleyways, and the editing process consisted of ﬁne tuning the look and feel John wished to convey. ” The Shelter is slated for release in 2015. For more information about Holbrook Multi Media, visit www. HolbrookMultiMedia.com.