Louisiana's Burgeoning Indie Film Scene

This week I’ve been going to all the “Local Shorts” screenings at the New Orleans film festival.

And I gotta say: I’m proud to a part of this burgeoning film community.

Since I started attending the festival in back in 2009, the quality of the local shorts has been steadily on the rise, and more local shorts are screened every year.

Short films are a good barometer for the vitality of an independent film community. It’s a lot easier to write, fund and execute a short film than a feature. Most indie filmmakers cut their teeth on shorts, send them through the festival circuit and then use the festival buzz to leverage funding for their first feature films.

Of course, one of the main factors contributing to the rise in quality and quantity of local short films is Louisiana’s film tax credit program.

The tax credits have brought Hollywood productions to Louisiana, giving local filmmakers the opportunity to work and learn how to make real movies.

But we don’t want to be reliant on Hollywood forever. If we are going to have a “self-supporting” industry—which is the started purpose of the tax credits—we have to start making our own feature films.

And that’s exciting news!!! Many of the most talented filmmakers I know are gearing up to make their first feature films. Here are a some features in the works that I’m excited to see:

Features in the Works

Animal

Construct Films has a short in the festival this year called “Atchafalaya.” It’s a dark thriller, inspired by the old Cajun mythology of the Lugaru (a swamp monster). One stormy day, as a hurricane is descending on the bayou, a Wildlife and Fisheries agent discovers a chain of unsettling clues which lead him to find . . . well, I won’t spoil it for you ;)

Atchafalaya is a concept short, which the filmmakers are working to develop into a feature, titled Animal.

Easy Does It

The folks at Work Light Pictures, who are screening their short “Does God Hear Robots Pray,” are in pre-production for their first feature called Easy Does It, a road trip comedy about two trailer park buddies bank robbing their way from Louisana to California. You can check out their concept trailer here.

Little Lying Wild

Samantha Smith, who’s screening her short, “Si,” is also writing her first feature. A dark fairy tale set in an island village off the coast of Belize (where Sam’s Mom grew up) Little Lying Wild is about a little girl, Carmen, who is so imaginative everyone in her village considers her a pathological liar. When she is the only witness to a murder—and her brother is falsely accused—Carmen embarks on a magical journey to prove that this time her story is not an illusion.

Indywood Believes in Y'all!

I’ve watched all of these filmmaker friends develop their vision and technique over the past few years, and I am totally confident that all these feature films will be as excellent as the shorts playing at the festival this year.

I’m sorry to all of my friends who have features in the works who I didn’t mention in this post—I hope to write about all of your projects in the months to come!

Local Films Page on Indywood.org

And finally, if you want to see many more excellent local shorts, check out Indywood’s new Local Films page! We showcase all the best local films that can be found online.

Thanks to all of you who make and support local film!!!