Imagine going to a movie as a kid and being so awestruck by the magic on the big screen that you just knew exactly what you were going to do with your life.
That’s precisely what didn’t happen to Brian C. Miller Richard, whose feature narrative, “Lost Bayou,” has its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival underway in New York Thursday through Sunday.
“I was working at a Fox TV station doing master control-type stuff,” Richard said of his 23-year-old self.
Then, Ed Bowie, executive director at Acadiana Open Channel, suggested Richard check out the South Louisiana Community College program on film production.
“I signed up for a class and I’ve just taken a class over and over again and kind of fell in love with it,” said Richard. “And then I got working on a couple of features as a production assistant. Then from there, I was like, ‘OK. I think I can figure out how to do this and make my own movies.’ ”
Richard made some shorts, and by the time he was 26, he was hooked.
“I think I’ll try to make a career out of this,” he said and then headed down International Film School of Sydney in Australia.
“And have just been doing it professionally since then,” Richard said.
A director who prefers to go by filmmaker, Richard directed American Advertising Award-winning commercials and short films, including “Atchafalaya.”
“I kind of see myself as more of a filmmaker,” he said. “I just kind of do a little bit of everything. Directing is another thing in there.”
That would include edit and camera work, too. Richard stays in the realm by working on other projects, including operating a camera for TV shows in New Orleans.
“I have a hard time just doing one thing,” he said.
Richard said that includes things like selling the movie and turning a profit on it “to potentially make another movie,” he said. “You know, kind of a graduation as a filmmaker, I guess. That’s what people go to the cinema for: to see the feature films.”
That enabled Richard to go from short films to narrative films.
“It’s just a natural progress, I guess,” he said as he packed for NYC. “Short films, you just know there’s not much of a business in it. It’s more or less just practicing and making calling card-type films. A feature is like the actual business of it.”
A Breaux Bridge native, Richard said he grew up around creatives but didn’t quite take to it.
“My mom has a bunch of artist friends and people who do art who were always a part of my life,” he said. “I was never really good at doing much art stuff, per se. It wasn’t until I discovered making films, or making things with video — putting them together and creating something — that this was a way that I can express myself. OK, cool. I’ll try this.”
For “Lost Bayou,” Richard got up with Lafayette’s Hunter Burke and Nick Lavin, who are “good friends of mine,” he said. “We’ve written like three or four feature films together.
“I came to them with an idea of making a low-budget, small movie that we can shoot on a houseboat. So that’s kind of where the idea came was born. They integrated all kinds of cultural stuff and made it feel like a real story.”
The story is about Gal (Tery Wyble) who’s trapped in a cycle of addiction. She gets a strange call from her faith-healer father (Dane Rhodes), who lives on a houseboat on a bayou.
Shayna Weingast, associate programmer at Tribeca Film Festival, writes: “‘Lost Bayou’ is a hauntingly evocative slice of Louisiana life that traces the fraught journey out of pain and into healing.’”
The film isn’t entered into a competition at Tribeca, but it falls under “Spotlight” category for up-and-coming filmmakers.
“It’s not really a competition or anything,” said Richard. “We’re just hoping to get reviews and stuff about it.”
The word is apparently out. Tickets went fast, and two, then three screenings sold out. So one more was added.
“Yeah, for some reason a bunch of Cajuns were buying tickets, I guess,” Richard laughed. “We sold out the first day that they went on sale — all three screenings — so they added a fourth screening for us.”
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