• ,

New grant program highlights Louisiana filmmaking talent

Left to right: Scott Niemeyer (CEO/Developer of Deep South Studios, founder of CreateLouisiana), Jolene Pinder (Executive Director of New Orleans Film Society), Jon Wood (Producer, Plaquemines), Nailah Jefferson (Director, Plaquemines), Sian McArthur, (SVP Deep South Studios and founder of CreateLouisiana) and Miranda Restovic (Executive Director, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities). (Photo: Craig Mulcahy/NOFF)

Left to right: Scott Niemeyer (CEO/Developer of Deep South Studios, founder of CreateLouisiana), Jolene Pinder (Executive Director of New Orleans Film Society), Jon Wood (Producer, Plaquemines), Nailah Jefferson (Director, Plaquemines), Sian McArthur, (SVP Deep South Studios and founder of CreateLouisiana) and Miranda Restovic (Executive Director, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities). (Photo: Craig Mulcahy/NOFF)

One of the essential missions of the New Orleans Film Society is to support filmmaking talent indigenous to Louisiana.

Talent like Director Nailah Jefferson and Producer Jon Wood.

The filmmaking team are the inaugural winners of the #CreateLouisiana Filmmaker’s Grant, and they’ll receive $50,000 towards the production of a short film, to be completed over the next 12 months. They’ll get mentorship and professional services throughout the year, providing them with a unique opportunity to showcase their talent and the ongoing strength of the state’s creative economy.

The film that they make will screen at the 2016 New Orleans Film Festival.

A total of 37 filmmaking teams from all over the state applied for the grant, with everything from narrative, documentary and animated projects. The #CreateLouisiana partners - Deep South Studios, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), and the New Orleans Film Society - evaluated the originality of concept; the experience of the director-producer teams; feasibility of the marketing and distribution strategy; and the use of Louisiana talent in front of and behind the camera.

Five finalists were selected and invited to pitch their projects to a panel of industry professionals during the 2015 New Orleans Film Festival, and Jefferson and Wood won for their short film project, Plaquemines, about a town in despair that estranges father and son. They were awarded the grant at a ceremony on the closing night of this year’s festival.

“For nearly 45 years, the LEH has been telling Louisiana’s stories to the world,” said LEH Executive Director Miranda Restovic. “We are proud to join our partners in supporting the inaugural #CreateLouisiana Filmmaker Grant, a project that will shine a bright light on Louisiana.”

The New Orleans Film Festival also announced its 2015 audience award winners. Audiences chose ten films as winners from more than 190 films, which included 68 feature-length and 124 short films. Voting was conducted by completing ballots upon exiting film screenings.

The winner of the Louisiana Feature, Delta Justice: The Isleños Trappers Wars, directed by David DuBos, was awarded a $5,000 rental package from Hollywood Rentals, and the festival’s Louisiana Short winner, The Exceptionally Extraordinary Emporium, directed by Lindsey Philips, was awarded a $10,000 post-production package from Digital FX.

Additional Audience Award winners are included below:

Audience Award: Spotlight Film

Room

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

 

Audience Award: Narrative Feature

Driving While Black

Director: Paul Sapiano

 

Audience Award: Documentary Feature

Harry and Snowman

Director: Ron Davis

 

Audience Award: Narrative Short

Actresses

Director: Jeremy Hersh

 

Audience Award: Documentary Short

Boxeadora

Director: Meg Smaker

 

Audience Award: Louisiana Short

Prize: $10,000 post-production package from Digital FX

The Exceptionally Extraordinary Emporium

Director: Lindsey Phillips

 

Audience Award: Experimental Short

shegetsey betsey

Director: Betsey Brown

 

Audience Award: Animated Short

We Can't Live Without Cosmos

Director: Konstantin Bronzit

 

Audience Award: Music Video

“Connection” by Jambinai Director: Hyunjeong Shin

 

For more information on the New Orleans Film Festival, please visit www.neworleansfilmfestival.org.

Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.