LAFAYETTE — The Southern Screen Film Festival is slowly becoming a staple in the South’s growing film community as local filmmakers blend the sophistication of internationally acknowledged films with the intimacy of a small town screen.
From Thursday until Sunday, a wide spectrum of films — from animated shorts to fantasy featurettes and award-winning docudramas — will be shown at venues that include the Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Center.
“Some of these films wouldn’t normally come to Lafayette,” said Julie Bordelon, Southern Screen’s executive director, “so whenever we decided the name, it was mostly about bringing the films to the ‘southern screen.’ We also wanted to show our own southern filmmakers alongside those big-name and award-winning films.”
The cost of tickets and passes range from $5 to $40.
Students who sign up on the festival’s website will be able to attend all daytime events for free with their student IDs.
The festival — now in its fourth year — will begin on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the LITE Center, with an Alex Ross Perry film, “Listen Up Philip,” premiering at 8 p.m.
The film co-stars Jason Schwartzman, known for his roles in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Moonrise Kingdom,” and Elisabeth Moss, who is best recognized for her role as Peggy Olson in the popular AMC series, “Mad Men.”
Schwartzman plays a writer who struggles for stability and eventually finds a sense of contentedness after separating himself from his chaotic life.
Another prominent film this year is the Australian documentary, “I Am Eleven.”
For six years, director Genevieve Bailey navigated her way around the world, weaving together childhood portraits of 11-year-olds and addressing what it means to stand on the cusp between childhood and adolescence through their eyes.
Bailey and other crew members will be in attendance at the festival and will speak about the film at its premiere.
“I love seeing the passion in independent and smaller filmmakers,” said Erin Marietta, a member of the festival’s board of directors. “That’s what I’ve been the most impressed with. If it’s a short, I love being blown away by the creation of it.”
At least 10 films accepted into this year’s lineup belong to local filmmakers.
One University of Louisiana at Lafayette student found his comedic short film, “Candyland Police Department,” scheduled alongside Sundance award winners and seasoned filmmakers.
Matthew Trenchard, a sophomore moving image arts major, described the short film he co-directed with UL-Lafayette alumnus Jared Landry as “a dark comedy making fun of the darker side of Candyland.”
“It’s basically a long line of bad puns,” he said.
Allison DeHart, the festival’s program director, worked alongside local director Lucy Hanke on “The Lisa Kirsch Slater Story,” a short documentary centered around Berlin-born — and Lafayette resident — Lisa Kirsch Slater, who served as a teletypist in Hitler’s Wehrmacht.
“A lot of times when you make a film, you’ve been working on it for the past four years of your life,” DeHart said. “We think it’s important for filmmakers to stop and celebrate all the work they’ve done and show them there is a community of people who appreciate their work.”
However, Marietta stressed, the festival isn’t just about viewing films. Workshops and mentor sessions will also be available to those interested in the intricate processes of filmmaking.
“It’s not just the acting or directing,” she said. “We have workshops that teach people how to be great line producers. We also talk about (other) areas, like the distribution of films, which is extremely important.”
Michael Lyle, an Emmy award winner and Golden Reel award winner who has worked on television series like “Chicago,” “House” and “Law & Order,” will conduct a two-hour workshop on the art of sound effects, and how to improve or create their own.
With the support of major businesses, like Whole Foods, as well as the Lafayette Entertainment Initiative, the festival is expected to surpass last year’s record of 2,000 attendees.
For information on films, scheduled events or how to sign up, visit www.southernscreen.org.