Everyone is aware of the recent production boom here in the state of Louisiana (it is kind of hard to miss). Studios large and small setup shop in New Orleans and around the state all year round. No one is denying the tremendous boost this influx has had on the local businesses, the economy, and job creation – most productions are stocked full of local actors and crew members.
At the same time, New Orleans has a terrific indie film scene is emerging. Tons of talented filmmakers (writers, directors, etc.) are using the resources and atmosphere of the city to create great films and showing tons of potential. Yet while both of these camps co-exist quite harmoniously in the city, there is little crossover between the two. Emerging local filmmakers deserve a better shot at working on the studio film and television productions, instead of them bringing in directors and such from LA or NYC.
Part of the misconception that local filmmakers are not up for the bigger challenge stems from the area’s relative newness on the production scene, but also a perceived lack of training and development of young talent (at least in comparison to LA or NYC). In order for the film and television business to stay and grow even more in New Orleans, local talent needs to be involved in areas of production from start to finish – and that does mean grooming and preparing film-interested youth through education and experience. Some organizations like the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) and New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC) have increased their outreach to kids across the metro area who have an active interest in film and desire to learn more.
A brand new youth-centered film event is set to kick off this weekend at UNO. As a celebration of the area's young filmmakers, the 1st Annual NOLA Youth Film Festival showcases a collection of the finest films from the media departments of New Orleans-area high schools and youth media programs. The lineup includes documentaries, fictions films, music videos, and animations from Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Newman, and St. Charles Satellite Center among others. Many of these schools and programs hold their own events throughout the year, so it was time to bring them all together for one large, area-wide event.
The NOLA Youth Film Festival is spearheaded by Chris Jeansonne, a member of the NOFS administrative board and Media Arts teacher at Lusher Charter School.
“As a teacher, there's no better way to impress upon students the value of what they're learning than to give them a forum to share their work with the larger community. The students are always so proud to show their work to parents and peers.”
Jeansonne also addressed Louisiana’s growing film industry and the technology-centric future ahead in connection to the festival.
“Its important for students to develop skills that would allow them to participate in a growing Louisiana film industry, and not just the film industry, but all the media-centered industries. Film is a format they know, and it's an exciting one that the young students really get into, but the goal is larger than providing them with vocation skills. It's going to be important to have media creation skills no matter what field you go into.”
The NOLA Youth Film Festival will be held at the University of New Orleans’ Robert E. Nims Theatre in the UNO Performing Arts Center (2000 Lakeshore Drive) on Saturday, June 9 at 7:00 p.m.
A panel discussion with local film industry professionals and educators will also take place during the event, as well as filmmaker Q&A’s will follow the screenings. Come out and meet the next generation of homegrown filmmakers who are currently receiving national recognition for their work.
The event is FREE for students / $5 general public / $3 NOFS members.
It co-hosted by New Orleans Film Society and UNO Department of Film, Theatre, and Communications Arts. For more information, please visit the NOFS website.
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