It’s summer again, which pretty much means intense heat in New Orleans, but there’s been a strange wind the last few days. Along with cooling things off a bit, it’s been a reminder of that dreaded storm season that’s just around the corner, and a reminder that no matter how constant things appear… we are always pretty much guaranteed change.
Louisiana’s film industry appears strong. We are still setting records on the number of projects coming to the state, but my thoughts are continually drawn to the future of the industry, and what we can do to sustain the growth and infrastructure.
It’s exciting to me that Louisiana’s own filmmakers are fired up and producing quality work. There is a surge of short films, Web series and low-budget features on the go, and I believe this is part of the key to sustained longevity of the production industry in our state. However, local filmmakers on the whole still haven’t found a way to access funding for their work.
While projects may be lining up to shoot here, the funding tends to come from or through Los Angeles, which seems to keep Louisiana’s own from tapping into the resources that are available. So it’s nice to know that some of Louisiana’s industry resources are focusing on providing more training, networking opportunities and eventually funding opportunities for local “movie makers.”
Shanda Quintal, founder and director of the Expo, is adding a new filmmaker’s day to the annual Expo in September, which will feature panels, networking and useful information for local directors, producers and more. Chesley Heymsfield of LIFF (Louisiana International Film Festival) is creating opportunities for local filmmakers to learn from industry legends, and to pitch their work to local, national and international production companies. The New Orleans Film Festival is as strong as ever, offering special events like “Louisiana Day” during their annual festival to showcase homegrown work.
It is a new season, and with Louisiana-based work winning Oscars, critical acclaim, and awards at Sundance and Cannes, it’s a great time for a new crop of indigenous filmmakers to rise to meet the challenges of a modern production industry. And yes… I believe we can handle it—especially if we all work together.
Executive Editor & Associate Publisher