LOUISIANA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
ANNOUNCES CALL FOR ENTRIES FOR INAUGURAL FESTIVAL;
FESTIVAL MAKES STAFF APPOINTMENTS
FESTIVAL FEATURES FOUR DAYS OF FILM, MUSIC & PANELS
ALSO SHOWCASES “1963” AN EXHIBITION OF PHOTOGRAPHS BY BOB ADELMAN;
FESTIVAL RUNS APRIL 18-21, 2013 www.lifilmfest.org
Baton Rouge, Louisiana – (December 5, 2012) ––The Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program (LIFF), a brand-new film festival celebrating indigenous and international films with an ambitious Mentorship Program is announcing a call for entries for its inaugural Festival to be held April 18-21, 2013 alongside the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, according to Festival Executive Director Chesley Heymsfield.
The first submission deadline is January 7, 2013. Interested filmmakers can submit films at http://www.lifilmfest.org and at withoutabox.com.
Chesley said, “We founded The Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program to act as a conduit for our state’s ample and untapped creativity. LIFF is more than a film festival; it is a bridge between the local people who dream of becoming filmmakers and those veteran artists who know that mentorship can help to promote social change through direct access to opportunity. The Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program exists to promote Louisiana's budding film industry year-round with mentorship and education while at the same time nurturing the state's international reputation as a place of—and showcase for—artistic creativity. ”
“We’re thrilled to have the amazing vision and experience of a great staff and Advisory Council of The Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program,” Chesley said. “Their joint contributions will help pave the way for both a wonderful slate of films as well as lay a foundation for the year-round mentorship program that underpins this Festival. Many of these people have an extensive background in mentoring. I’m happy to announce our staff appointments and we will announce our Advisory Council prior to the Festival.”
Chesley announced a number of staff appointments for LIFF. Joining the Festival and Mentorship Program as Co-artistic Directors are Jeff Dowd and filmmaker Dan Ireland. As Roger Ebert says about Dowd, “Everybody knows somebody like the Dude - and so do the Coen brothers. They based the character The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges, on a movie producer and distributor named Jeff Dowd, a familiar figure at film festivals, who is tall, large, and shaggy and brimming with enthusiasm. Dowd is much more successful than Lebowski (he has played an important role in the Coens’ careers as indie filmmakers), but no less a creature of the moment. Both dudes depend on improvisation and inspiration...” Dowd was a producer of Ferngully: The Last Rainforest and the Sundance Award-winning Zebrahead. As a marketing maven, Dowd helped introduce “specialized” marketing to the film industry with such films as The Black Stallion, Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, War Games and Hoosiers. Dowd was on the board of the Independent Feature Project and the International Documentary Association. He also helped Robert Redford start The Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival and served on their Advisory Board.
Director Dan Ireland has written, produced or helmed two dozen films including John Huston’s last film The Dead. Dan’s 2006 feature, Mrs. Palfrey at The Claremont took home Audience Awards at Palm Springs and Newport Film Festivals; The Whole Wide World earned nominations at Sundance and Verona and took home an American Independent Special Jury Prize at Seattle. Ireland has been known for launching talent into the mainstream, including actress Renee Zellweger and more recently, Academy Award nominee actress Jessica Chastain, who made her feature film debut in Ireland’s film of E.L. Doctorow’s Jolene. In addition, Chastain won the Seattle International Film Festival Best Actress Award for her performance in the film. Dowd and Ireland have known one another for more than thirty years; they met working on the Seattle Film Festival, which Ireland co-founded and served as co-director with Darryl Macdonald in 1976. Aside from his duties here, Ireland will continue to direct, including his upcoming comedic feature, Mr. Lively for producer Raffaella De Laurentiis. Shooting will commence early next summer, with the cast to be announced at a later date.
She has also appointed recent Baton Rouge transplant Alan V. Abrahams as Music Program Director. Abrahams is an award winning record producer with more than 40 years experience and over 80 albums produced that have topped charts domestically and internationally. His productions have ranged from Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson and Taj Mahal to Jazz legend Les McCann and International superstars Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Abrahams said, "We at The Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program are truly excited to incorporate our rich musical heritage that is Louisiana Music from New Orleans, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and throughout the state as a backdrop to the atmosphere of our festival. Our rich history as the birthplace of Jazz and early Rock and Roll combined with our deep Blues legacy is unique to anywhere on the planet. Combine Zydeco, Cajun, Second Line and Swamp Pop and we look forward to welcoming our attendees with the musical gumbo that is Louisiana and we believe that our inaugural event will be an annual tradition like no other!”
Chesley also appointed Los Angeles filmmaker and photographer Clinton H. Wallace as Strategic Partnerships Coordinator. Wallace will interface between the Festival, its partners and sponsors. Wallace is currently serving as lead producer on the feature drama Blue Dream directed by Gregory Hatanaka and starring Walter Koenig, James Duval and Dominique Swain, and as executive producer on the horror thriller Machete Joe.
Chesley has also appointed New Orleans-based actress and producer Shanna Forrestall, who acts in The Last Exorcism and the upcoming Olympus Has Fallen filmed in Shreveport, to serve as Louisiana Liaison and provide a bridge between local and out of State talent.
The four-day festival, presented by The Louisiana Office of Lieutenant Governor (Louisianatravel.com); Louisiana Technology Park; The Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge and Noesis Data, opens Thursday, April 18th with an opening night and post-premiere party in New Orleans. In the days that follow, festival guests will enjoy: competition screenings competing for the “Spoonbill Award,” named for the colorful bayou waterfowl; a producers’ conference at Raleigh Film and Television Studios Baton Rouge at The Celtic Media Centre; an Earth Day program on film and the environment at the Old State Capitol; a free “Movie on the Mississippi” outdoor screening; performances by Louisiana musicians; a seafood cook-off; and out-of competition screenings of upcoming studio films.
Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said, “The Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program enhances and preserves Louisiana’s thriving film industry. We are thrilled to support this organization that celebrates film production in Louisiana and educates Louisianans, providing them the skills necessary to work in the film industry in their home state.”
In addition to films, LIFF will present a special photo and multimedia exhibition by the renowned Bob Adelman (www.bobadelman.net) titled “1963”. A foremost chronicler of the civil rights movement, Bob Adelman is a world-renowned photojournalist, author, editor, teacher, and book producer. In his late twenties, affected by the burgeoning civil rights movement, he volunteered to take pictures for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), documenting the boycotts, marches, sit-ins, demonstrations, and the work of Malcolm X, James Baldwin, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in Harlem, Atlanta, Alabama, Washington and across the Deep South, including Dr. King's “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington in the summer of 1963.
He took pictures of Andy Warhol for Esquire and Roy Lichtenstein for Life. His photographs have been exhibited at the Smithsonian and are included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. The Festival plans to screen films programmed alongside the “1963” special photo and multimedia exhibition.
Dowd’s vision for the Festival and Mentorship Program is expansive: “The Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program is rising up from a world where uniquely American storytelling and musical forms like blues and jazz were born. Today, we combine Louisiana’s rich culture, a vibrant musical scene and New Orleans Jazz Fest, and the best tax incentive program in the United States with filmmakers highlighting Louisiana's diversity and culture—which has survived in the face of monumental adversity in the last decade. We intend to empower a new generation to be able to tell stories with the oldest and latest tools of the trade. My vision includes job creation within the ‘industry’ and also in the sustainable economy of the future when some of these new artists show what is possible.”
Ireland’s interest in becoming a part of LIFF and the Mentorship Program stemmed from the time he shot his television feature, Living Proof for producers Renee Zellweger, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan in New Orleans, in the summer of 2008. Ireland said, “I was always inspired by the amazing talent in Louisiana. After spending over three months in New Orleans, and falling in love with the people and their world, I knew I was destined to become a part of it. When Jeff Dowd approached me about becoming part of LIFF and the Mentorship Program, I jumped at the chance. Not only was it a chance to start up a film festival, but more importantly it is a way to encourage new talent to emerge and become the next generation of artists that lead the way in our industry, and beyond. After seeing the feature Beasts of the Southern Wild, I knew that Louisiana was ripe with visionaries that have the talent to explore new filmmaking possibilities. To me that’s the most exciting thing about being a filmmaker/artist, being bold, taking risks, and having the will, the determination and craft to expand the way we look at our world.”
# # # #
To become a supporter of LIFF or for more information please visit http://www.lifilmfest.org. Red carpet, meet bayou.
LIFF Festival – Publicity
Press Release from LIFF
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11.6.12
Baton Rouge, LA - (November 6, 2012) - On October 27, 2012 The Louisiana International Film Festival (LIFF) hosted “Movies on the Mississippi” Louisiana Horror! Attendees enjoyed complimentary red carpet photos and screenings of two famous Louisiana-made horror films including the black and white 1964 classic “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte” and the more recent box office smash, “The Last Exorcism.”
LIFF presented “Movies on the Mississippi” as part of its Film Series Program for 2012. The outdoor screening was held in front of the USS Kidd Destroyer Ship with the backdrop of the Mississippi River after sunset. Attendees came in costume to celebrate Halloween weekend and cuddle up with blankets, pillows and loved ones to enjoy the screenings. Local food truck company Sno Dat provided warm refreshments including hot chocolate, chili and fresh jambalaya.
LIFF will soon open up submissions for the first annual festival scheduled for April 2013.
LIFF Website: www.lifilmfest.org - Photos and Video on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Lifilmfest
Shanna Forrestall & Tony Bentley of The Last Exorcism
Alan Abrahams and Chesley Heymsfield
Alan Abrahams and Toon Squad
Event Sponsors:Beard Brothers Lighting, Sno Dat, USS Kidd Destroyer Ship, City of Baton Rouge, Houmas House, Ring Marketing, Toon Squad, Baton Rouge Recycling Office, Sno Dat Nola, American Audio Visual & PSS Sound, Ham’s Radio, Upper Line Event, Dixie Marketing, Lt. Governor’s Office, Event Rental, and Lofton Security Services.
Shanna Forrestall, Telephone: (225) 413-2405, firstname.lastname@example.org
Actors, Filmmakers and LIFF staff in Attendance:
• Shanna Forrestall who played “Mrs. Cotton Marcus” in THE LAST EXORCISM
• Tony Bentley who played “Pastor Manley” in THE LAST EXORCISM
• New Orleans actors Ruben Juarbe and Andrew Voge
• LIFF Executive Director, Chesley Heymsfield
• LIFF Director of Programming, Alan Abrahams
Photo Captions (no credit needed):
1 – Shanna Forrestall & Tony Bentley of The Last Exorcism
2 – Alan Abrahams and Chesley Heymsfield
3 – Alan Abrahams and Toon Squad
Press Release from LIFF
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10.16.12 –
LIFF Announces “Movies on the Mississippi” Louisiana Horror! Double Feature Saturday, October 27th @ 7 p.m. at USS Kidd levee
You are invited to our first “Movies on the Mississippi” Louisiana Horror! Come kick off your boots and help us gear up for the inaugural Louisiana International Film Festival (LIFF) slated for April 18-21, 2013 in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The Louisiana International Film Festival presents “Movies on the Mississippi” as part of its Film Series Program for 2012. With the beautiful backdrop of the Mississippi River after Sunset, the outdoor screening is located in front of the USS Kidd. Open to the public free of charge, general admission seating begins at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm. Bring a blanket and dress for Halloween if you like! LIFF will showcase Louisiana Horror! for a unique movie-going experience with a special screening of the black and white 1964 classic “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte” and a second screening with newly released “The Last Exorcism,” which will start at 10:30pm.
“Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (133 min.): Is a thriller film directed and produced by Robert Aldrich, and starting Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotton and Agnes Morrehead. In 1927, young belle Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis) and her married lover, John Mayhew (Bruce Dern), plan to elope during a party at the Hollis family's antebellum mansion in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. However, after Charlotte's father intimidates him, John pretends he no longer loves Charlotte and tells her they must part. John is then brutally murdered and Charlotte discovers the body. She returns traumatized to the party in a bloodied dress, leading most to presume that she is the murderer. The film received seven Academy Awards nominations.
“The Last Exorcism” (PG-13, 87 min.):
The Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife (Shanna Forestall) and son. Marcus is accustomed to performing fake exorcisms on "possessed" individuals, but when he reads of an autistic child being killed during an exorcism, he comes to realize the potential danger of exorcism. He agrees to take part in a documentary designed to expose exorcism as a fraud, working with a film crew. At random, he chooses an exorcism request sent by farmer Louis Sweetzer (Louis Herthum), who claims his daughter Nell (Ashley Bell) is slaughtering his animals while she is possessed. The team drives to the rural area of Louisiana where the Sweetzers live. The documentary turns out to be very different than the Reverend intended.
The Louisiana International Film Festival previously hosted the screening of “The Big Lebowski” with special guest Jeff “The Dude” Dowd at Manship Theatre and a pre-release screening of Sundance Grand Jury Prize Award-Winning “Beasts of the Southern Wild” distributed by Fox Searchlight with the Cast and Associate Producer in attendance for question & answer.
We would like to thank our amazing and visionary sponsors!
Louisiana International Film Festival Sponsors:
The Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge
In-kind Event Sponsors:
press inquiries only: (225) 413-2405
7117 Florida Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (March 4, 2012) - A movie-like cast of characters came out to celebrate the launch of The Louisiana International Film Festival at The Shaw Center for The Arts. The special guest for the evening was Jeff “the Dude” Dowd, who amused the packed audience with his cult-like status as the inspiration for the main character Jeff Lebowski in the Coen Brother’s hit film, The Big Lebowski. Dowd was central to the launch of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute and is a Los Angeles-based writer/producer, producer’s representative, and a nationally recognized authority on film marketing, distribution and exhibition. Also in attendance were Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne and Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden. Both Dardenne and Holden have championed the film industry’s economic development and are committed to seeing its continued growth.
The Louisiana International Film Festival’s inaugural juried festival is set to debut April 18 - 21st, 2013 with its principal events and screenings located in the revitalized downtown of Baton Rouge. The festival’s founder, Chesley Heymsfield, also a filmmaker, says the theme of LIFF is, “down to earth”. It’s totally reflective of the vibrant soul of Louisiana. Here, the ‘Bayou Meets the Red Carpet’."
Lieutentant Governor Jay Dardenne and Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden opened the evening by noting recent key achievements in the state’s film industry. The highly acclaimed feature film, Beasts of the Southern Wild filmed on location in Louisiana recently received the “Grand Jury Prize" at this year’s Sundance and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore produced in Shreveport by Moonbot Studios received an Academy Award® for “Best Animated Short Film”. Dardenne notes, “It’s been a tremendous week for our state in the movie world. You saw the Academy Awards last week William Joyce from Shreveport winning in the animated film contest… We are one of the top three movie-making states. That is just a tremendous statement.” Mayor Kip Holden added, “We started the week with Pixomondo and we are only the second city in the United States where they will be opening a studio.”
This convergence of talent and opportunity is at the heart of the festival’s creation. The collective vision of LIFF is to contribute to the economic and artistic vitality of the film industry in Louisiana. LIFF was created to help promote the film industry’s indigenous growth along with Louisiana’s international reputation as an artistic and financial force in the global film market. “Our aim is to provide continual events with open forums for discussion where residents of Louisiana may build relationships and develop skills that enable them to play a central role in the film industry”, said Heymsfield. She notes these recent achievements “are a great indicator of what has been done here but, also a reflection of our ever-increasing potential.”
Also in attendance was veteran Actress Laura Cayoutte, who has appeared in many film and television roles, such as Enemy of the State and is remembered for her sultry part as Rocket in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and as Producer on the feature Hell Ride. She is slated to play the role of Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly in the upcoming highly anticipated feature Django Unchained Directed by Quentin Tarantino currently filming in her native Louisiana. “I was very impressed with the direction the city (Baton Rouge) has taken, the variety of activities readily available and how truly picturesque it is… So far, the foundation is focused on the film festival’s premiere next year, but the concept is far larger.”
Dowd mentions, “One of the things I’ve seen in the last 48-hours is the huge potential to build from the ground up here. Things can be created in the image that we want them to be.” Dowd toured through New Orleans and Baton Rouge including a stop at Free Speech Alley on the flagship LSU Camps, Celtic Studios and The Louisiana Technology Park. “There is a grand opportunity. We are in a time of systemic change. The potential is for people to bring new skill sets and put them together and create new environments.”
Dowd praises the many stops on his cultural tour of Louisiana including music concerts by Arlo Guthrie and recent Grammy winning Rebirth Brass Band, “Louisiana is about telling stories and the Blues musicians were the first genuine storytellers. We are going through great change in the world… There is a rich storytelling tradition here that can go into the modern world. I would like to see movies and videos that show what is possible in the future.” Dowd commented on his life-changing experience being able to intern on the set One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. “That can be happening right now on a film set. We can facilitate it. That education I got on the set. And, young people here would love to do that.” Laura Cayoutte comments, “He suggested that Louisiana require that filmmakers add interns to their sets. It would give unpaid labor to the producers and provide people here with the opportunity to get on the job training. I think it’s a great idea.”
Dowd commented to the packed audience, “We are talking about Lafayette, Shreveport and New Orleans. You are talking about the whole state to draw the creative people from. They can all come up through this program. Entrepreneurship can be supported in the new role with whatever film and digital arts can contribute. It can be anything you want it to be.”
The Louisiana International Film Festival would like to thank Partner and Event Sponsors. Partner Sponsors include: The Louisiana Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Noesis Data and The Louisiana Technology Park. Event Sponsors include: The Manship Theatre, The Shaw Center for the Arts, Hollywood Casino, The Steakhouse, Historic Hilton in downtown Baton Rouge, Hotel Indigo, Strobes, Tilt, Don Bergeron and Photomundo.
Louisa Percudani, LIFF
Baton Rouge, LA - February 10, 2012-The Louisiana International Film Festival (LIFF) announces its launch fundraising event with a special screening of THE BIG LEBOWSKI, followed by a movie character themed after-party. Honored guest Jeff “the Dude” Dowd will be in attendance for Q&A and OPEN FORUM discussion about the possibilities and future of the Louisiana International Film Festival.
Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts
March 3, 2012 at 7:00PM
Pre-show drinks and Nintendo Wii bowling championship start at 5:30PM.
After-party will begin at 9:30PM
In Joel and Ethan Coen’s cult classic movie THE BIG LEBOWSKI, the lead character referred to as “the Dude” played by Jeff Bridges is inspired by the real Jeff “the Dude” Dowd. Mr. Dowd was involved in the planning stages and creation of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival.
“Everybody knows somebody like the Dude -- and so, rumor has it, do the Coen brothers. They based the character on a movie producer and distributor named Jeff Dowd, a familiar figure at film festivals, who is tall, large, and shaggy and a boil with enthusiasm. Dowd is much more successful than Lebowski (he has played an important role in the Coens’ careers as indie filmmakers), but no less a creature of the moment. Both dudes depend on improvisation and inspiration...”
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
“A film festival is really about building bridges between artists and audiences while actively involving local and international communities, social networks and the media.” says Dowd, who will emcee an open forum discussion about the foundation of a Louisiana film festival. He willhelp explore ideas for future programming and ways to attract potential filmmakers and share observations about previous and current film festivals and discuss what those involved have done to attract and harness talent in their region.
“We are excited to have Jeff here in our early stages of LIFF since he has been influential in the development of Sundance, Seattle, Toronto and other film festivals. Not only is he ‘the Dude’, but also a marketing guru and a natural at bringing lots of people and communities together”, said Chesley Heymsfield, Executive Director of LIFF. Heymsfield has served as producer on films, music videos and commercials in New York and Los Angeles throughout her career. She plans to have the red carpet meet the Louisiana bayou at the state’s inaugural international film festival in April 2013.
The collective vision of LIFF is to contribute to the economic and artistic vitality of the film industry in Louisiana. LIFF was created to help promote Louisiana’s budding film industry while nurturing the state’s international reputation as an artistic and financial force in the global film market.
“Our aim is to provide an open forum of discussion and education where residents of Louisiana may build relationships and develop skills that enable them to play a central role in the industry”, said Heymsfield. Louisa Percudani, the festival’s managing director, states “We are excited about the response we have received from both the public and private sectors in Louisiana. We are very appreciative of the support from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Louisiana Technology Park, the Manship Theatre and others who make this all possible.”
For tickets, go to manshiptheatre.org/liff or call (225) 344-0334.
For more information, visit lifilmfest.org and jeffdowd.com.
Louisa Percudani, LIFF
The Louisiana International Film Festival hosted "Movies on the Mississippi" Louisiana Horror adjacent to the U.S.S. Kidd in downtown Baton Rouge on October 27. The event is a part of LIFF's Film Series Program for 2012.
With local food truck company providing warm refreshments, friends and family were able to enjoy the 1964 black and white classic "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" and the recent box office smash "The Last Exorcism."
Attendees included Shanna Forrestall, who played Mrs. Cotton Marcus in The Last Exorcism, and Tony Bentley, who played Pastor Manley. New Orleans actors Ruben Juarbe and Andrew Voge were also on hand to enjoy the movie screenings.
The Louisiana International Film Festival was proud to host the complimentary pre-release screening of the award-winning Beasts of the Southern Wild on June 19th, 2012. The film received numerous awards, including the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and the Cannes Film Festival Camera D'Or. In attendance were many of the fim's stars, including Quvenzhané Wallis, Levy Easterly, and Dwight Henry.
The special guest for the evening was Jeff "the Dude" Dowd, who amused the packed audience with his cult-like status as the inspiration for the main character in the Coen Brother's hit film The Big Lebowski. Dowd was central to the launch of the Sundance Institute and is a nationally recognized authority on film marketing and distribution.
Also in attendance were Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne and Baton Rouge Mayor Melvin 'Kip' Holden, both of whom have championed the film industry's economic development. The Louisiana International Film Series was developed specifically to showcase Louisiana-made films and promote indigenous filmmakers. LIFF aims to hold celebratory events leading up to it's inaugural festival April 18-21 2013,
The convergence of talent and opportunity is at the heart of the festival's creation. "Our goal is to be an open door for people who will meet with (local filmmakers) mentor them, inspire them, " Chesley Heymsfield, Executive Director said. "The timing is right. This is a natural progression for the burgeoning growth of film in Louisiana."