Film Prize, I love you.
There, I said it, and I it feels pretty good.
It’s hard to describe how much I’m enamored with the Film Prize and all that has come from it. While I feel like I’ve certainly done worthy things in my life (I have a wonderful wife and two kickass kids who make me proud everyday), this endeavor has taken a high position in the things that I love dearly.
But why is that? Has it made me (or my team) rich? Not by a long shot (but Chris Lyon still holds out hope for a Tesla). Has it brought us fame and notoriety? Except for those who are focused on indie filmmaking scene, our immediate surroundings and our impact on it, I would say “no” (though Sabrina is certainly holding out hope for a Twitter war with Angela Jolie).
My love for the Film Prize is rooted in the change and transformation that it has brought upon the filmmakers who participate and the community where the filming takes place. While this sounds wonderfully conceptual, I’ve had the extreme honor of interfacing with a number of filmmakers who have been transformed by the Film Prize. To give a real world example, I’ll use two filmmakers: Drayden Dunn and Colby Doler.
Drayden is an aspiring filmmaker who made a film called “Swinging Diamonds” last year. The film didn’t get into the Top 20, but it was a valiant effort by him and his buddy Brandon Alexander. I recently ran into Drayden, and I could feel his enthusiasm as he recounted how much he learned from the Film Prize experience. The best part was the fact that he was now helping others realize their Film Prize dreams.
Colby is someone who has experienced success with the Film Prize and made the Top 20 twice. He and his partner Corey Hammett earned a Founder’s Circle Grant ($5,000 filmmaking grant) in their freshman effort “Red River Ode,” and, in 2014, made an amazing silent film “The Ninth.” Colby was from Georgia, but he immediately felt the magic of Film Prize and seemed to totally understand what we were trying to create. In February, Colby, his girlfriends Taylor Bracewell, and Corey Hammett moved to Shreveport to make films and to help create the independent filmmaking Mecca that Team Film Prize is focused (nay, obsessed) with creating.
To me, the Film Prize has earned my undying admiration because it is changing the way people think about our community, about themselves and, more importantly, about our future. And if we can create this kind of transformation (in our city and those who are here or want to be here), how could you not fall in love with Film Prize?