The winner of the 6th annual Louisiana Film Prize was announced in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd on the rooftop of the Remington Hotel in Shreveport, Louisiana on Sunday, October 8th. The Film Prize’s top award of $50,000 cash – judged by a mixture of audience and celebrity judges – went to EXIT STRATEGY, directed by Travis Bible. The sci-fi short focused on a young genius’s attempts to manipulate time in order to save his brother’s life.
“As the Louisiana Film Prize continues to grow each year with the quality of films, larger and more discerning audiences and an increasingly impressive roster of judges comprised of film industry tastemakers, the mandate for the winning the Film Prize becomes more and more significant,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Founder and Executive Director of the Film Prize Foundation. “Travis delivered a film that balanced a technically ambitious sci-fi story with a message that ultimately touched the heart of the voters.”
The films that rose to the Top 5, among the 20 finalists that screened over the weekend before a record 3500 attendees this year, were; Taylor Bracewell’s CANDYLAND, Bible’s EXIT STRATEGY, Kyle Clements’s MY FATHER’S SON, Mark Blitch’s SCOUNDRELS, and Jonnie Stapleton’s STAG.
Herbert Russell won Best Actor for his performance in Stapleton’s STAG, as an unlucky-in-love guy, who finds unlikely redemption by taking a couples’ dance class by himself after his girlfriend breaks up with him. Best Actress went to Danielle Wheeler for her performance in Blitch’s SCOUNDRELS as a small-time grifter who teams up with a rival grifter for a big score with romance also possibly in the air. Russell and Wheeler each received prizes of $1000 to go with their trophies.
Before announcing the films chosen for the jury prize’s $3000 Founders’ Circle Award Grants, Kallenberg was informed that the judges had selected 7 films instead of the traditional 5 to be honored. The Founders’ Circle Grants are given to the chosen films to create projects for consideration for next year’s Film Prize competition. Those films included; Alexander Jeffrey’s AN ARIA FOR ALBRIGHTS, Bracewell’s CANDYLAND, Bible’s EXIT STRATEGY, Raylee Magill’s INCREDIBLY SMART, SEXY, COED NAMED DEBORAH, Blitch’s SCOUNDRELS, Christine Chen’s SHAKESPEARE ON THE RANGE, and Stapleton’s STAG.
Suzanne Racz’s WILLLOW received the Kodak Golden Reel Award, presented to the best film shot on celluloid, and Bracewell’s CANDYLAND received the Outstanding Visual Effects/Title Sequence, sponsored by the Digital Media Institute. Sunday’s ceremony marked the first presentation of that award.
The Film Prize’s growth through each edition continued this year with a record number of film projects shot in Louisiana and submitted for consideration. This year’s competition also included an astounding figure of 45% of the films directed by or produced by women or minority filmmakers.
Louisiana Film Prize is a competitive film festival where filmmakers must create a short film (5-15 minutes) and the production must be shot in northwest Louisiana. This year, the Film Prize had over 120 registrations from all over the nation with 2/3 of the entries being from outside of Louisiana. The participating films utilized over 1,000 individuals in cast and crew. In the process of making those films, over $10 million has been injected into the area over the past 5 years (through the payment of cast, crew, food, lodging and equipment).
Visit www.lafilmprize.com to learn more information about the Louisiana Film Prize contest and festival.