‘Plaquemines’ wins $50,000 filmmakers grant _lowres

Photo by CRAIG MULCAHY/NOFF -- From left to right, Scott Niemeyer, CEO/Developer of Deep South Studios, founder of CreateLouisiana; Jolene Pinder, executive director of New Orleans Film Society; Jon Wood; Nailah Jefferson; Miranda Restovic, executive director, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; Sian McArthur, of Deep South Studios and founder of CreateLouisiana.

“Plaquemines,” a story about a disappearing way of Louisiana life, won the $50,000 CreateLouisiana Filmmakers Grant to support its production.

The winner of the grant for making a short film was announced Thursday prior to a screening of the New Orleans Film Festival’s closing film, “Brooklyn.”

“Plaquemines” will be directed by Nailah Jefferson and produced by Jon Wood. Both filmmakers are based in New Orleans.

Representatives of Deep South Studios, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the New Orleans Film Society, the three entities sponsoring the grant, selected “Plaquemines” from among 37 applicants.

“The CreateLouisiana initiative has proved to me that we have an amazing local talent pool,” Scott Niemeyer, CEO and developer of Deep South Studios and co-founder of Create Louisiana, said at the announcement. “No losers here tonight, all winners.”

“I can’t believe it,” writer-director Jefferson said. “Financing is one of the biggest hurdles that you have as a filmmaker, so this is an incredible gift. Fifty thousand dollars for a short film is more than enough to make the film we want to make.”

Jefferson’s 2014 documentary, “Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache,” inspired her fictional “Plaquemines”script.

“Everything I couldn’t fit into ‘Vanishing Pearls’ I put into this film,” she said.

Production for “Plaquemines” will start in March, Wood said.

“We’re just about ready to go, but we can’t start shooting until March because the story takes place during the summertime,” he said.

In the meantime, Jefferson and Wood will work on pre-production and their social media campaign. They’re expected to complete “Plaquemines” within 12 months of receiving the award.

The finished film will be screened at the 2016 New Orleans Film Festival.

CreateLouisiana — led by Niemeyer and Sian McArthur, of Deep South Studios and a co-founder of Create Louisiana — is designed to encourage indigenous Louisiana talent and support the region’s creative industries.