Films with LSU Ties to be Screened at New Orleans Film Festival
BATON ROUGE – As Louisiana has steadily become the “Hollywood of the South,” LSU students, faculty and alumni have become a major part film industry’s grow in the state. From acting to directing to editing and everything in between, LSU graduates are involved in all aspects of the film industry and that will prominently be on display during the 24th annual New Orleans Film Festival, taking place Oct. 10-17.
During the festival, a number of films with LSU ties will be shown, including:
- “Water Like Stone: A Portrait of a Louisiana Fishing Village,” a film by Zack Godshall, filmmaker-in-residence at LSU, and Michael Pasquier, assistant professor of religious studies at LSU, screens on Friday, Oct. 11, at 7:45 p.m. at the Contemporary Arts Center and again on Monday, Oct. 14, at noon at the Prytania Theatre.
- “A Man Without Words,” a short film by Godshall and scored by Shane Monds, a graduate of LSU’s School of Music, will be shown on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 12:30 p.m. at the Prytania Theatre.
- “Father-Like Son,” a film written by LSU graduates Mac Alsfeld and Andrew Megison and includes an LSU cast and crew, premieres on Friday, Oct. 11, at 10:15 p.m. in the Prytania Theatre.
- "King of Herrings," with a complete cast composed of LSU Theatre alumni, will premiere on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 5 p.m. and again be shown on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 3:45 p.m. in the Prytania Theatre.
- "Omitted," a film by recent graduate Kenna J. Moore, will premiere on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 8:30 p.m. at the Contemporary Arts Center.
“Water Like Stone” is an impressionistic portrait of Leeville, La., a fishing village in Coastal Louisiana. It is a story about the people who live in Louisiana’s vanishing wetlands. Through encounters with fishermen, shrimpers and lifelong residents, Godshall and Pasquier profile the cultural consequences of environmental decay due to coastal erosion and the human spirit necessary to live in a dying landscape.
“Residents of coastal Louisiana, more than anyone else in the United States, understand the environmental challenges of coastal erosion, sea-level rise, and wetlands loss,” Pasquier said. “‘Water Like Stone’ is our attempt to listen to the voices and see the faces of those with an intimate knowledge of loss.”
Excited to show the film at the New Orleans Film Festival, Godshall said, “Premiering this film in New Orleans is ideal. Besides the fact that it’s set in Louisiana and made by folks who live here, the film is 100 percent Louisiana-financed.”
Godshall’s short film, “A Man Without Words,” is based on Susan Schaller’s book, “A Man Without Words.” The film re-tells the non-fiction account of Susan Schaller’s encounter with Ildefonso, a languageless deaf man to whom she introduced language some 30 years ago. The film brings Ildefonso and Schaller back to the classroom where they met, where he learned that he and everything has a name, and she learned what it is to be human. The entire film is subtitled in English.
“Father-Like Son” is a raunchy comedy about Clark, a 24-year-old aspiring writer, who upon the death of his father is suddenly faced with a new and overbearing stepdad, Dan, who is hell-bent on raising Clark. The problem is that Dan is 24 years old, as well. The film was written, directed and produced by LSU graduates that have gone through the Film and Media Arts program in the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences.
Alsfeld served as the film’s writer/director/actor, alongside Megison, writer/actor; Grayson Ward, actor/producer; Lauren Claret, producer; and Samuel “Beau” Bebeau, assistant director. Other LSU cast and crew includes Molly Conarro, Will Vocke, Michael Mentz, Chad Zibilich, Chad Naremore and Lauren Gros. Most of these young professionals with varied degrees have focused their careers in film industry and have been successful post-graduation.
The film is a coming-of-age comedy with a lot of heart, along the lines of “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”
“Having my first film world premiere at the New Orleans Film Fest is very emotional for me,” Alsfeld said. “This cast and crew prides itself on being homegrown talent and the NOFF’s recognition of us is one of the greatest feelings in the world.”
"King of Herrings" is an off beat look at four Crescent City layabouts, who dream big in a small change world of cards, women and endless cups of coffee. Their passionate blundering, like their rants, can be at once funny, poignant, ridiculous and heartbreaking. Filmed in black and white, this richly textured character study could be the bastard child of Woody Allen and Tom Waits, brought to life by an ensemble of real-life character actors who have known each other and worked together for more than 25 years. Among the LSU alumni who met at LSU 25 years ago are Eddie Jemison, David Jensen, Joe Chrest, John Mese and Wayne Pere.
In "Omitted," best friends Shelby "Skip" Skipper and Donald "Big Choo" Norris have been in love with New Orleans bounce music for as long as they can remember. Originated in New Orleans, bounce music or "that beat" (as many call it) brought these two individuals together almost eight years ago. Ghost of Elysian Films follows their lives as they dance and perform through the streets of New Orleans during Super Bowl XLVII and Mardi Gras 2013. Constantly battling the growing misconceptions of bounce music, Skip and Big Choo have dedicated their lives to the music. From competing local acts to national competitions, they fight for their placement in the growing worldwide bounce community.
The New Orleans Film Festival
The New Orleans Film Festival, established as one of the most reputable in the country, was named in MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” and by Premium Beat as one of the “15 Fests You Should Enter.” Born in a city known for its eclecticism and artistic vibrancy, New Orleans Film Festival seeks out bold and passionate storytellers. With top-notch programming in one of the world’s most cinematic cities, the festival serves up a dose of southern hospitality that’s hard to beat.
Last year’s festival saw 200 films screened over the course of eight days, and also hosted a number of panels and conversations, featuring representatives from major U.S. distributors and other leaders in the industry. The festival, hosted by the New Orleans Film Society, drew more than 17,000 total attendees, including more than170 filmmakers who attended to show their work. For more information on the New Orleans Film Society, visit http://neworleansfilmsociety.org/.
The Program for the Study of Film and Media Arts
The Program for the Study of Film and Media Arts is an interdisciplinary program in the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences. The program integrates study of the history, theory, and practice of film and media arts. With curricula, faculty, and students from across disciplines, the program provides a liberal arts approach to the study of subjects including history of cinema, national and international cinemas, film genres, film and media theory, video art, screenwriting, media in popular culture, the rhetoric and aesthetics of visual communication and digital video production. For more information, visit www.lsu.edu/fma/FMA_home.html.
The Film & Television Program
LSU offers the Film & Television program through the LSU Department of Theater. The program, a partnership between LSU and Baton Rouge Community College, is designed to provide students with the essential skills and knowledge not only to create and collaborate on and off stage, but on and off camera as well. The program is directly tied to the growing film industry in Louisiana, and its need for highly skilled artists, technicians and administrative personnel. For more information, visit http://wp.theatre.lsu.edu/programs/bachelor-of-arts/film-television/.