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2021 Film Prize features variety of new, veteran filmmakers

On the 10th anniversary of Prize Fest, this year’s Film Prize category is remarkably unique....
On the 10th anniversary of Prize Fest, this year’s Film Prize category is remarkably unique. The films selected as part of this year’s Top 20 come from a wide variety of filmmakers, many new to the movie scene.(Adria Goins)
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 8:18 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - On the 10th anniversary of Prize Fest, this year’s Film Prize category is remarkably unique.

The films selected as part of this year’s Top 20 come from a wide variety of filmmakers, many new to the movie scene.

“This is my first year actually entering a film into film prize and this is my first year directing,” said Mark D. Bonner, a Shreveport native who directed the film title Shreveport Son. “The movie is basically about two high school friends who reunited from living in Shreveport. They get back to that bond that they had when they were children, to senior year, to everything that’s unfolding as their adult years.”

Bonner said he has been passionate about acting and filmmaking for years but it’s the first time he actually wrote, acted, produced and directed a film.

“It was a lot of work, a lot more than I thought.”

Jacob and Jaya McSharma are no strangers to Film Prize, entering short films in 2018, 2019 and 2021. All three times the married duo ended up in the Top 20.

This year they explored a different route with their movie.

“This film is called Nana Ki Dum, which translates to ‘his grandfather is his favorite,’” Jaya said. “It’s basically about the relationship between a new mom who was raised in America and her very stereotypical Indian traditional father. They have very different ideas about childrearing. Just kind of exploring the tension between those things and how it can either end up bringing someone closer together or not.”

Jacob McSharma said he was able to direct this film after acting in the previous two.

“It changes progressively from the script phase where it was a bit more comedic,” he said. “It had a few more jokes and punch lines that you would’ve heard in our last shorts. But even as we were on set it just started to feel like that’s not the right tone and then even more so once we got into edit, it’s like the story started to reveal itself.”

First-time filmmaker Melissa Goslin, whose movie MOMento made the Top 20. She entered after a bet she made with her son.

“My son does stock motion animation and he’d always wanted to do something bigger so I told him to enter Film Prize Junior. He said if he entered then I had to enter Film Prize. He did Film Prize Junior and won and now our film is in the Top 20.”

Matthew Carona is also a first-timer to Film Prize. He shot, edited and directed a short named “Independence” based on his hometown of Independence, Louisiana.

“Our idea really came out of the community of the town Independence. The town, when it first started, was known for its Italian settlers,” Carona said. “The movie follows a man who just lost his father and he’s dealing with the steps after that and he’s also reminiscing on how he’s losing his town.”

Online viewing of the Top 20 films has already begun but Film Prize takes to the streets of Shreveport on Friday and Saturday, October 1-2. The winner will be announced Sunday, October 3.

Remember Prize Fest wants to make sure everyone is safe this year so they’re asking for a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination from everyone. If you prefer watching online, click here.

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