Pandemic makes Film Prize directors get more creative

Prize Fest, which switched to an online format this year because of COVID-19, starts at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 2

Prize Fest 2020: Filmmakers adjust during COVID-19 pandemic

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Life has to be altered every day now due to the coronavirus. It’s how a person reacts to change that will make the most impact.

Film Prize switched to an online format this year because of COVID-19. And filmmakers had to refocus because the virus had significantly impacted their plans. Many were in the middle of shooting their short film for the upcoming film festival.

“We shot in March, actually the weekend of the whole shutdown,” said Steven Esteb, director of “A Cry for Help,” which was selected as a top 20 film. “We thought we were going to lose our whole crew all of the sudden. But everybody stuck it out.”

Hannah Dorsett, whose film "R.I.P. "made it into the top 20 last year, was in the middle of shooting this year’s short film — “Becky’s Big Catch” — when she had to rethink her plans.

“We shot in May when we were still very much in early stages of Phase II, maybe even Phase I. We had big ideas of what was going to be bigger and better, but we were challenged to scale down.”

Christine Chen said she made “Vouée,” her third short to make it into the top 20, on a whim while on a movie set in South Louisiana. “The only reason I was able to do it was because LA Film Prize opened it up to the entirety of Louisiana.”

Chen said the pandemic revolutionized the way filmmakers shot for the Film Prize. “There’s just been a need to be creative. There’s a lot of restrictions about who can touch or interact with each other. It’s cool because I find some of the greatest work comes from limits and restrictions.”

Prize Fest starts at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 2.
Prize Fest starts at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 2. (Source: KSLA News 12)

All three directors agree that being part of the online version of this year’s Film Prize will be important for the community because they have a unique way to show their support for something that’s grown each year, not just at home but throughout the country.

“Short films are about people who love films. And I think if you love films, whether you get to have the downtown Shreveport experience or you get to see them online, it’s for people who love films,” Esteb said. “You’re going to see all kinds of things with all kinds of clever, smart filmmakers trying to figure out how to make films for nothing.”

“I’m able to get people who wouldn’t normally come to Shreveport to watch films who are watching them, who have bought tickets, all over Los Angeles, who can support my lead actress and me and other people who came to help from all over the country and the world. So I’m really excited about this virtual aspect,” Hannah said.

“I think the Film Prize is such an awesome champion for themselves that I will be shocked if the whole world doesn’t know about it.”

Prize Fest did cut its film prize money to $25,000 this year, compared to $50,000 during a typical festival year. It’s still the largest amount for prize money for a short film festival.

Prize Fest starts at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 2. Click here for the schedule.

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Posted by A Cry For Help on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A man gives into his fate and sacrifices for true love.

Posted by Vouée on Monday, September 14, 2020

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