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Shreveport-based Louisiana Film Prize to add Natchitoches to film shooting territory

Kate Archer Kent

Organizers of the Louisiana Film Prize kicked off the fifth year of the contest Tuesday at Artspace in Shreveport. The Film Prize, with its hallmark $50,000 purse, is expected to continue to grow in the independent filmmaking world.

Founder Gregory Kallenberg says there’s a geographic rule change this year. Crews will be allowed to shoot their short films in Natchitoches. This expands the northwest Louisiana seven-parish footprint for production eligibility. Kallenberg says it gives crews more visual options.

“There has been a request from filmmakers for the past couple years because [Natchitoches] has such a beautiful main street. There are people who want to do period pieces that they can’t find exactly what they’re looking for in Shreveport and Bossier City,” Kallenberg said.

The Film Prize concept has spun off in recent years. Kallenberg added the Startup Prize for entrepreneurs, a Music Prize for bands, and most recently, a Food Prize for chefs vying for the Golden Fork with its $5,000 grand prize. Kallenberg says the mainstay is film. Last year, a record 127 short films were submitted -- many came from out-of-towners.

“The Film Prize is doing about $3 million of economic development, and that’s just creative types doing their thing,” Kallenberg said. “That’s people from Los Angeles coming in and hiring local cast and crew. That’s everyone eating at restaurants or staying at hotels. We’re starting to become an economic engine.”

The Film Prize organization has added a slate of national sponsors, Kallenberg says, like CenturyLink this year. The top 20 films also compete for five smaller grant awards worth $3,000 each.

Rough cuts must be submitted by July 12.

The Film Prize festival takes place Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 in downtown Shreveport.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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