If feature films and short films came to mind when you heard that the Southern Screen Festival gets underway Thursday in downtown Lafayette, then you’d be just about 100% correct in your thinking.
Someone, somewhere, please, commence with a polite golf clap for the near miss.
As it is, however, Southern Screen is more than screen gems. There’s myriad workshops, and some are related to music in film and music itself and different aspects of film and filmmaking, creative’s intellectual rights, production design, tax incentives and more.
“It was mainly just because we wanted to expand,” said Julie Bordelon, executive director of Southern Screen Festival. “The workshops are pretty mixed this year.”
Don’t panic. Celluloid will be front and center as the festival runs its course at Acadian Center for the Arts and Cite des Arts Thursday through Sunday. “Still Life” makes its world premiere, while “The Wolf Hour” (with Naomi Watts), and “Light From Light” have their Louisiana premiere, and “Lost Bayou” makes its hometown premiere.
Live music, too, gets a nod — how can it not? — with performances at Downtown Alive! (Royal Teeth, Jelly Toast), Acadian Superette (Soul Creole), Blue Moon (Clinton Broussard, Mike Broussard & Nu Edition Zydeko) and The Pearl (Dustan Louque and Margaret Hebert).
I’ve got to hand it to Bordelon. With all of the out-of-towners coming in, why not expose them to our homegrown music fare?
“We’re pretty booked with our schedule, but it was like, why don’t we just take an hour-and-a-half break and people can leave the theater, go outside, have a drink or whatever and go back for the next film,” Bordelon said, referring to DTA! at Parc International Friday evening.
Louisiana will also make a splash (again) on the Big Screen with “Lost Bayou,” noted highly at the Tribeca Film Festival.
“They’re really excited. They’ve been screening it all over the place but, of course, this is where all their family is,” Bordelon said, adding that those behind and in front of the camera will be in town. “A lot of their crew is from Louisiana in general.”
Even the film’s soundtrack composer, Grammy winners Lost Bayou Ramblers, make it to film with “On Va Continuer, The Lost Bayou Ramblers Rockumentary.”
But about the workshops. If you think about it, they deal with issues related to any creative. The Creative Intellectual Property workshop covers important issues, “like how to protect yourself, how to make sure that all of your stuff is intellectual property,” said Bordelon.
Understanding the Louisiana Entertainment Tax Program is another helpful workshop.
“They’re going to discuss both film and music and how people can utilize the tax incentives” and other available options, according to Bordelon. “They’re not super difficult, but it’s definitely overwhelming when people think about going and filling out the paperwork. I feel like a lot of musicians don’t really use the incentive program.”
The Production Design workshop will be led by Joe Stewart, “he’s actually from here, but he’s been living in California for probably over 20 years,” Bordelon said, noting he worked on “Friends,” “Big Bang Theory” and “he’s done the Academy Awards. He does a lot of multicamera stuff.”
There’s also an abundance of short films on tap.
“We had 56 shorts this year, which is a lot. We normally do about half of that,” said Bordelon. “So it’s definitely a long shorts program, but it’s jam packed full of really awesome films. And they’re from all over the place. We have filmmakers from New York, Australia and Japan. They’re really coming out for it.”
At nine years, Southern Screen’s agenda remains the same.
“For us, it was a way to see and do things," she said. "It’s films and workshops, things that we wanted to be a part of that we wanted in our community. A lot of these films, we never would see otherwise. Even the bigger ones. They may go to New Orleans, but they wouldn’t necessarily screen here.
“We still enjoy that cinematic experience and so it was a way for us to do that. It’s better than watching it from you computer."
So, there’s that and “giving space to creatives to be able to showcase their work as well,” she said. “And not just filmmakers, we want to keep growing and do more music and more live performance pieces where it’s not just about film, but it’s about storytelling and giving people a voice and a stage to do it.”
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If feature films and short films came to mind when you heard that the Southern Screen Festival gets underway Thursday in downtown Lafayette, t…