Thursday, October 15, 2020

The 2020 Louisiana Film Prize announces Lorna Street Dopson’s UNTITLED POST-BABY PROJECT as the winner of the $25,000 Grand Prize

 Top 5 trophies went to Anne Nichols Brown’s AWAY, Paul Petersen’s DOUBLE DATE NIGHT, TOPHERSIMON’s IMMINENT, Michael Landry’s NICE TO MEET YOU, and Dopson’s UNTITLED POST-BABY PROJECT

Garret Kruithof (THREE MILE HELL), and Teri Wyble (NICE TO MEET YOU) were named Best Actor and Best Actress

Shreveport, LA (October 13, 2020) – The winner of the 9th annual Louisiana Film Prize was announced this evening in a virtual broadcast from the Film Prize headquarters in Shreveport, Louisiana during a presentation that was viewed by film fans all over the world for the first time in the celebrated film festival/film competition’s history. The Film Prize's top award of $25,000 cash – determined by a mixture of audience votes and top film industry judges – went to Lorna Street Dopson’s UNTITLED POST-BABY PROJECT. 

In addition to directing the film, Dopson also wrote and starred in UNTITLED POST-BABY PROJECT. The New Orleans resident’s film is a heartfelt meditation of a young mother struggling with her feelings of inadequacy, inability to fit into her pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, and other thoughts of not measuring up to images of super-motherhood she sees online. Dopson’s win marks the first time that a woman director has taken the big check.

The films that joined Dopson’s UNTITLED POST-BABY PROJECT in the Top 5 this year were; Anne Nichols Brown’s AWAY, about a troubled teenager who attempts to save his little sister from what seems to be an abusive home; Paul Petersen’s DOUBLE DATE NIGHT, where two roommates find the intimate meaning of friendship through the trials and tribulations of preparing a stay-at-home dinner for their dates; TOPHERSIMON’s IMMINENT, in which a hardworking, everyday man is startled by an unknown, imminent threat that stands between him and his family; and Michael Landry’s NICE TO MEET YOU, which focuses on a recently separated couple who meet up at their favorite bar, and find the reunion awakens feelings of bitterness and love.

All but one of the top five filmmakers are Louisiana-based. Along with Dopson (New Orleans), Brown is from Monroe, Petersen is from Shreveport, and TOPHERSIMON is from Baton Rouge. Los Angeles’ Landry is the sole out-of-state filmmaker to crack this year’s Top 5 group. This was the first year – as a response to difficulties, challenges, and restrictions placed on filmmakers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that filmmakers were allowed to shoot and produce their films in locations throughout the state of Louisiana (as opposed to the confines of the Shreveport, Northwest Louisiana area).  

Garret Kruithof won Best Actor for his performance in Jeremy Enis’s THREE MILE HELL as a haunted man forced to face the consequences of his troubled past. He will have to walk the Three Mile Hell once again – this time to set things right. Best Actress went to Teri Wyble for her performance in Landry’s NICE TO MEET YOU, as a woman conflicted over the finality of her relationship and the fact that her partner has moved on with someone new. 

“Due to the extreme challenges brought about by the pandemic, this year forced both our competing filmmakers and our entire Film Prize staff to find another gear – which they all did. It was inspiring to see the creativity, innovation, and absolute refusal to yield to the difficulties that were laid out for everyone involved in our Film Prize world,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Founder and Executive Director of the Film Prize Foundation. “And the result was unleashing this juggernaut of entertaining cinema and promising filmmakers on the world.”

 The Louisiana Film Prize expanded this year from the traditional weekend of screenings and events in Shreveport, to an 10-day virtual spectacular which was made available to a worldwide audience for the first time. Broadcasting from the Film Prize’s office building throughout the week and a half, the 20 filmmaking finalists, and jury members comprised of film industry veterans and taste makers, participated in a seemingly never ending show hosted by multiple members of the Film Prize staff.

 In that time, over 45,000 streams/viewings took place. Film lovers tuned in from 37 states (including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin), watching the Film Prize films and broadcasts and voting for their favorites. 9 countries around the world also participated in the Film Prize phenomenon this year, including; Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, United States, and the United Kingdom. 

Those joining in to see the Film Prize world saw a virtual “red carpet” where Film Prize hosts interviewed the filmmaking finalists, Film Prize University panels and roundtables featuring several of the jury members, live broadcast announcements, updates, and interviews with the competing filmmakers. In a year beset by challenges roadblocks and restrictions for filmmakers and film audiences, the Louisiana Film Prize successfully brought its one-of-a-kind film festival/film competition hybrid to the world, which might very well bring the world to Shreveport and Louisiana next year to make more films and compete at the next Film Prize.

The judges for this year’s Louisiana Film Prize included:

Melanie Addington (Executive Director, Oxford Film Festival)

Carlos Aguilar (Journalist, Los Angeles Times, Variety, New York Time)

Kevin Arbouet (Writer/Director, BENJI THE DOVE)

Sharon Badal (Vice President, Filmmaker Relations, Shorts Programming, Tribeca Film Festival)

Xander Berkeley (Actor, The Walking Dead, The Mentalist)

Kimberley Browning (Hollywood Shorts Film Festival Director, HBO All Access)

Jim Brunzell (Festival Director, Sound Unseen)

Milan Chakraborty (Producer, PLUS ONE, ASSASSINATION NATION, MY FRIEND DAHMER)

Steve Dollar (Journalist, Wall Street Journal, Filmmaker Magazine)

Colette Freedman (Writer/Producer/Actor, MILES UNDERWATER) 

Christina Kim (Festival Director, Silicon Valley Film Festival)

Kristina Klebe (Actor, HELLBOY, HALLOWEEN)

Tara McPherson (Hugh Hefner Professor of Censorship Studies and Chair of Cinema + Media Studies in USC’s School of Cinematic Arts)

Jennifer Merin (Journalist, Alliance of Women Film Journalists)

Linda Campos Olszewski (Shorts International)

Jude Prest (Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin)

Jennifer Prince (Director, MILES UNDERWATER)

Shawn Quirk (Program Director, Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival)

Kevin Rahm (Actor, NIGHTCRAWLER)

Paul Sloop (Festival Director, Cleveland International Film Festival)

Mary Sweeney (Producer, INLAND EMPIRE, MULHOLLAND DRIVE)

Harold Sylvester (Actor, AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, Married With Children)

Marcus Tamkin (Music Department, US)

Jhennifer Webberly (Producer/Editor, MILES UNDERWATER)

Visit www.lafilmprize.com to learn more information about the Louisiana Film Prize contest and festival.

About the Louisiana Film Prize 

The Louisiana Film Prize invites filmmakers across the country to make a short film between five and fifteen minutes long to compete for the largest short film cash prize offered in the world. The chief requirement is that the films must be shot in Louisiana. The top twenty films that have been submitted are then screened for audiences and judges in October and a winner is chosen based on the voting from those two factions.

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