As festival season winds down and darkness descends upon us quicker than even just a few days ago, you know it’s time for the Southern Screen Festival.
Southern Screen Festival, which runs today through Sunday, is predominately held in downtown Lafayette. Most screenings and workshops are at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, 101 W. Vermilion St., and Cite des Arts, 109 Vine St., and the Acadiana Open Channel.
The Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, 537 Cajundome Blvd., also gets in the mix with workshops.
Over four days, there are plenty of film screenings — shorts and features — with titles like “Candyland,” “Last Night in Town,” “Remember Freetown,” “Bending Lines: The Sculpture of Robert Wiggs,” “You Might Be the Killer” and “De Hermano a Hermano.”
There’s also live music, creative writing, live podcasts, community workshops, networking mixers and, yes, parties. If films are the heart of the festival, then the workshops are, I’d say, its blood.
Julie Bordelon, executive director of Southern Screen, is also keen on the workshops and the presenters.
“I always feel super proud of the workshops. I feel like we really bring in people who are industry professionals, people that you wouldn’t normally just otherwise meet in town,” said Bordelon, adding that she wants attendees and the pros to mix and mingle. “As far as people teaching workshops, they get it. They like it. They want to come back; they get what we’re trying to do.”
In a word, that would be accessibility.
“I was trying to create an idea where it’s a little more close-knit and everybody became buddies,” she said. “We just wanted to make it to where it’s just a little more intimate and sort of like a boutique festival where everybody is attainable, where nobody’s getting ushered out the back door so you get to talk to them.”
In the workshop arena, there’s a podcast workshop and Kids Filmmaking Workshop that’ll be held at AOC, which Borderlon considers an asset.
“That’s such a gem that we have in this community,” said Bordelon. “We’re trying, by including them and getting them more involved, that maybe we can help to bring a different audience to them and make people know that they’re there.”
There’s a free Teen Animation Workshop with Academy of Interactive Entertainment at the LITE Center. It will include animation, green screen activity and film-related skills.
“(The academy is) a resource in this town that I don’t think a lot of people know about,” Bordelon said, noting its animation techniques and graphic design courses. “It’s definitely a huge education that people don’t realize they can get here.”
While film is the central narrative of this festival, a first book reading is in the lineup with author Rien Fertel reading from “Drive-By Truckers.” A Q&A and book signing will follow.
Southern Screen wants festivalgoers and locals to become aware of the potential — economically and creatively — of the arts and entertainment industry that we basically swim in daily.
With that in mind, the Louisiana legislative session created a $2.6 million fund to support Louisiana filmmakers that kicks in next year. There’ll be an interactive visioning session that will include information about this new resource with newly formed coalition Alliance for Louisiana Filmmakers.
Another session, especially for the new and growing work world of freelancing, is the aptly titled “Freelancing for Creatives." It takes a look at the business side of a creative freelancer.
Overall, Southern Screen is a festival of different colors.
“We are trying to move into other content, just trying to add other components of media,” said Bordelon. “And that’s our goal — to keep doing that every year. Not just be film, even though that’s always going to be our main focus.
“But just start to venture out a little and we think that that will start to bring in a different crowd of people and a different audience.”
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