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Filmmaker emotions run high on eve of LA Film Prize

Filmmakers in the running for the Louisiana Film Prizeare beginning to assemble in Shreveport to promote their films during the weekend festival. Twenty short films are vying for the $50,000 cash prize. Memphis filmmakers Christopher Raines and Candace McGowen caravanned to Shreveport with a crew in June to shoot their film “5iveCourses.”  Now in the finals, McGowen said, she’s feeling a gamut of emotions.

“There are moments of sheer fear, and there are moments I still can’t believe we’re there. It’s almost like a dream, waking up some days going, wow, this is real," McGowen said.

Christopher Raines has been writing and directing short films for less than two years. He says the LA Film Prize stretched him and improved his soft skills in understanding how to market a film. He says “5ive Courses” is gaining traction in his hometown. It will be included in next year’s On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Fest. Regardless of the outcome here, Raines is satisfied that he’s put his best product forward. And he knows he’s not alone.

“We know the competition is going to be very fierce because of we’ve seen a lot of the trailers. A lot of people are having parties, and that’s kind of exciting from a marketing perspective. We’re going to be doing the same thing. But there’s some uncertainty as well," Raines said.

Another aspect of the festival, the Louisiana Music Prize, gets underway tonight at 7 p.m. The slate of films opens for viewing Friday at 2 p.m. at several downtown Shreveport venues. The festival grand prize winner is announced during a Sunday brunch at artspace.

To get a vote, the moviegoer must see all 20 short films – the equivalent of a double-feature. The festival attracted more than 1,700 people in its first year. Organizers expect the turnout to double this year.

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