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The 2017 Louisiana Film Prize Announces 20 Finalists  to compete for this year’s $50,000 Grand Prize (October 5-7)

$15,000 in filmmaking grants and $1,000 “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” awards will also be distributed in one-of-a-kind filmmaking competition

Judges for this year’s competition include noted filmmakers,
film journalists, film industry veterans, and film festival


Shreveport, LA (September 18, 2017) – The 2017 Louisiana Film Prize announced the 20 finalists that will compete for a $50,000 grand prize at the 6th edition of the Louisiana Film Prize in Shreveport, Louisiana. Each of the Top 20 films will compete at The Prize Fest Festival Weekend (October 5-7) which are determined via a rare combination of voting from audience and film and industry judges.

Louisiana Film Prize also announced this year’s roster of judges – an eclectic mix of filmmakers, film journalists, film industry veterans, and film festival programmers – all set to arrive in Shreveport, Louisiana with the express purpose of helping to determine which of the 20 finalists will take home the check for $50,000.


“The Film Prize has never seen this amazingly high level of work from all of the filmmakers,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Founder and Executive Director of the Film Prize Foundation. “It’s immediate and tangible proof that everyone can see on the big screen of the talent, both local to Louisiana and from all over the country, that is continuing to grow and to film here in Louisiana.”

The Film Prize’s growth through each edition continued this year with a record number of 127 film projects shot in Louisiana and submitted for consideration. This year’s competition also included an astounding figure of 45% of the films directed by or produced by women or minority filmmakers.

Aside from the one $50,000 grad prize winner, the top Louisiana Film Prize films will receive distribution through Shorts International on iTunes and will also screen at various festivals across the country, including at large invites from critically acclaimed festivals like the Oxford Film Festival. The Film Prize will also distribute $15,000 in filmmaking grants and $1,000 “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” awards.

The impressive and wide-ranging list of film makers, journalists, film festival veterans, and film industry tastemakers making up the roster of judges for this year’s edition of the Louisiana Film Prize include:


  • Filmmaker and author Kim Adelman (Making It Big in Shorts)
  • Entertainment journalist Carlos Aguilar (Indiewire, MovieMaker Magazine, Filmmaker Magazine, Variety Latino, AmericasQuarterly, Remezcla)
  • Florida Film Festival and Enzian Theater Programming Coordinator Tim Anderson
  • Tribeca Film Festival’s Vice President of Filmmaker Relations and Shorts Programming, Sharon Lee Badal
  • Actor Xander Berkeley (“The Walking Dead”)
  • Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Programming Director and journalist Jim Brunzell
  • Filmmaker Rainy Kerwin (THE WEDDING INVITATION)
  • Screenwriter and director Destri Martino (“The Director”)
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Cinématek publicist Maureen Masters
  • USC’s Associate Professor of Critical Studies Tara McPherson
  • Shorts International’s Linda Campos Olszewski
  • Show runner and producer Gerald Jude Prest
  • Entertainment journalist Kristy Puchko (Vanity Fair, Time Out New York, Vulture, PajibaSpinoff Online, and Cinema Blend)
  • Cleveland International Film Festival programmer Paul Sloop
  • Filmmakers Alliance president, and filmmaker Jacques Thelemaque (TRANSACTION)

The award-winning Louisiana Film Prize is a competition where filmmakers must create a short film (5-15 minutes) and the production must be shot in northwest Louisiana. This year, the Film Prize had over 120 registrations from all over the nation with 2/3 of the entries being from outside of Louisiana. The participating films utilized over 1,000 individuals in cast and crew. In the process of making those films, over $10 million has been injected into the area over the past 5 years (through the payment of cast, crew, food, lodging and equipment).


Visit to learn more information about the Louisiana Film Prize contest and festival.“

The 2017 Louisiana Film Prize Finalists 


Director: Travis Champagne
Trying to find his place in the world, a mysterious mask introduces a boy to a monster.

Director: Tamzin Merchant
A man who has been mysteriously declared dead has to unravel the truth behind his situation while being pursued through town by a masked man to whom he owes money.

Director: Alexander Jeffrey
Young, precocious opera singer, Anne Albright, gets stuck with her auto mechanic uncle, Nate, for the afternoon leading up to a talent show performance.

Director: Taylor Bracewell
Two men make their last stop for the night to check in on Grimley Grocery and have a few words with the management.

Director: Deborah Stone
When a young research scientist working in the Brazilian Rainforest comes across the possible cure for cancer, will her supervising doctors allow this knowledge to be known to save countless lives, or will their desire for power and wealth, kill her research and possibly, the young doctor.

Director: Joshua E. Munds
It could be today. It could be 25 years from now. But like others before him, if he gets the text, Kevin will know the day and month, though not the year, of his death. With mortality at the forefront of daily living, Kevin’s mom warned him not to leave his front door. But today, he’s going outside.

Director: Travis Bible
A man living the same day over and over again must team up with his brother to prevent a fire.

Director: Baron Creighton
Bronson is forced to deal with the demons of having an abusive father while his wife’s in labor. The question is: what will he become?

Directors: Jeremy Enis, Helen Buck Chapman
Two hit men take a mark into the woods for execution, but once the gag is removed, he unleashes a revelation that changes everything.

Director: Travis Mills
Based on true events surrounding the first female college West of the Mississippi,
HER CALLING tells the story of a young female student forced to give up her studies and become a nurse during the Civil War, always holding true to her passion.

Director: Raylee Magill
An actress fights to figure out who she is, while being everyone else.

Director: Kyle Clements
On the verge of his biggest show to date, successful photographer, and soon to be father, Asher Van Zandt, must return to his roots when he learns of his estranged father’s death.

Director: Catherine Hatcher
Death. Life. Popcorn. Chocolate. And a cactus.

Director: Mark Blitch
An inexperienced grifter teams up with a jaded con man to pull off the scam of her life

Directors: Jency Griffin Hogan, Tarhonda Bazille
This is a story about a mother’s love for her son. A love that transcended racial and social boundaries, overcame fear, and faced a justice system that was stacked against her. Belle had faced a lot of hardships on her life, but nothing had prepared her for finding out her six-year old son had been illegally sold South.

Director: Christine Chen
A group of lifer inmates at a maximum security prison find introspection through the words of Shakespeare.

Director: Jonnie Stapleton
After getting dumped by his fiancé, a lonely, middle-aged man proceeds to take the couple’s swing dance class he signed them both up for.

Director: Haven Nutt
The lost footage.

Director: Matthew Ramsaur
It’s the little things that can save the world, or end it. Well intentioned advances in
nanotechnology prove to be the key to curing every disease known to man, as well as the key to the end of man’s existence.

Director: Suzanne Racz
After a fragmented childhood colored by loss Willow, a girl in a bunny suit, sets off on a path of self discovery when she by chance accepts an invitation that changes the trajectory of her lonely life.

About the Louisiana Film Prize 
The Louisiana Film Prize invites filmmakers across the country to make a short film between five and fifteen minutes long to compete for a cash prize of $50,000. The chief requirement is that the films must be shot in northwest, Louisiana. The top twenty films that have been submitted are then screened for audiences and judges in October and a winner is chosen based on the voting from those two factions.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.