SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - COVID-19 has impacted a lot of things over these last two months — but for the folks over at Louisiana Film Prize, it’s allowed them to find a way to help more independent filmmakers across the state of Louisiana.
This year the Louisiana Film Prize is expanding its shooting zone from Northwest Louisiana to the entire state of Louisiana.
“Really this is about us doing what we think is best not just for the prize foundation, but for the state and the creative culture as a whole," said Associate Director Chris Lyon. "So the more people that can participate the better.”
Lyon says they began talking about changing this requirement just before COVID-19 began to impact our country, and says this will now allow more filmmakers the chance to register.
“If you have never tried Film Prize before... and one of the gating factors has been travel or time, this is the year,” he said. “Whether you’re in Alexandria, or Natchitoches, or Minden, or if you’re in Ruston or Lake Charles, this is your chance to get out there and show us what you got.”
Along with expanding the shooting zone, the deadline for rough cuts to be submitted has also been extended from July 11 to August 11.
Filmmaker Cam Owen lives in New Orleans but is a native of Minden and was worried he wouldn’t be able to participate this year.
“I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to film because of COVID," he said. "My whole film is set in Shreveport, with Shreveport actors and so it definitely threw a wrench in things and then this news was like the best news that could come out of everything.”
With the shooting zone expanded, he says he can now work on shooting another film for Louisiana Film Prize while he is in New Orleans.
“It’s kind of pushing me to make this film in a way because it’s kind of been on my back burner,” he said. “So now everything has lined up for this so I got to do it."
Owen also sees this is a great opportunity for a lot of New Orleans filmmakers to get a chance to showcase their work too.
“New Orleans is such a great place to shoot and it’s filled with filmmakers and talented actors and film crews," he said. "I just think it’s going to open up the door for a lot of other filmmakers to throw their hat in the ring and I’m so excited about that.”
This year’s festival is supposed to take place in downtown Shreveport on October 2 through the 4 and right now Lyons says they are working to still have it go on.
“Right now we are planning as if Prize Fest is going to be able to happen," he said. "We are continuing to look at the recommendations both at the state and federal level to make sure that we are adhering to all the requirements and best practices that are out there.”
Lyons says they are looking for a variety of different options including a virtual component to make sure film prize along with Prize Fest still happens this year.