The Daily Nebraskan Highlights LAFP’s Winning Filmmakers

The Daily Nebraskan sat down with the 2015 Film Prize winners to discuss their story. Take a look at a clipping:

This year, University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus Alexander Jeffery took the crown at the Louisiana Film Prize Festival with his film, “The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy.”

In its fourth year, the Louisiana Film Prize Festival offers one of the industry’s largest monetary prizes, $50,000.

The film, directed by Alexander Jeffery and written by Paul Pettersen, won best film and best actor, which was awarded to Stan Brown for his performance as Mr. Bellamy.

The short film tells the story of Mr. Bellamy, a homeless man living in the South in the 1960s. Mr. Bellamy discovers an ad for a janitorial position at a local law firm, and after stumbling upon an old, forgotten sewing machine, decides to sew a suit to wear when he applies for the job. However, the more time Mr. Bellamy spends making and designing the suit, the more he falls in love with the craft of sewing and desires a career in the profession.

Director Alexander Jeffery graduated from the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film in 2011 with a bachelor of fine arts in Film and New Media and a bachelor of arts in theatre performance. Born in Canada and raised in Arkansas, Jeffery has studied and worked all over the world, including in Los Angeles, New York, Nebraska and Sweden.

“It’s sort of a cliché filmmaker story,” Jeffery said, describing how he fell in love with filmmaking. “But ‘Star Wars: The New Hope’ was the first live action film I saw in theaters, and that film transformed me. It was magical and launched me in creating these little action figure home movies. After I decided to study at UNL, the works of David Fincher, Alexander Payne and Spike Jonze really influenced me as a filmmaker and inspired me to tell stories about imperfect, beautifully flawed people.”

Read the full article on! Writes: ‘We’re Calling It Now: The Next Big Filmmaker Is Coming From This Festival’

Festival judge and fan Katie Calautti wrote an awesome perspective on what she thinks LAFP means for filmmakers everywhere. Here’s the first few graphs:

So where’s the next big filmmaker starting out? The Louisiana Film Prize in Shreveport, LA. The festival – a city-wide extravaganza feting a competition among 20 short films by directors from across the country – also includes a Music Prize, Startup Prize and Food Prize. Think: a small-scale SXSW, plus heaps of southern hospitality.

The winner of the Film Prize receives $50,000 and – along with the other four highest judge-and-audience-voted films – gets iTunes distribution once their short is done touring various festivals, which sets them on a path for an even bigger honor: the Academy Award (more on that later). And the Prize plays host to surprising talent: this year, one of my fellow judges was actor Kevin Rahm (who you may know as Ted Chaough from “Mad Men“), and actress Tamzin Merchant – whose directorial debut “American Virgin” placed in the top five – currently stars in “Salem.”

After the whirlwind weekend-long festival wrapped, I caught up with some of the Prize’s budding talent: Alexander Jeffrey, who helmed this year’s outstanding Prize-winning film, “The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy,” along with Merchant and fellow top five-placing director Travis Champagne of “Jackdaw,” to talk everything from turning the tables on a former teacher to directing Jonathan Bennett (aka Aaron Samuels from “Mean Girls”) to (literally) putting a price on virginity to seeking influence from the Coen brothers. Prepare to say you knew all this emerging talent way back when a short film festival in Shreveport placed them on the road to the Oscars.

Read the rest on! Writes: ‘This Is Why We Go To Film Festivals: “Bespoke” And The LA Film Prize’

Film expert judge Kristy Puchko wrote a glowing review of this years festival and its films. Here’s a snippet:

For three years I’ve had the great pleasure of being a judge at the Louisiana Film Prize, a short film festival that offers an astounding $50,000 as its grand prize. The first year, LA Film Prize (as its commonly referred) made such an impression on me that I wrote an impassioned plea to aspiring filmmakers to take notice. This year, I saw one such filmmaker take the festival by storm with a short that reminded me why I attend events like this in the first place.

The LA Film Prize is unique not only in its bounty of prizes (that include $500 awarded out the gate to the 20 submissions accepted for the festival), but also in its breadth in displaying the local culture. This year, the film festival extended its Music Prize competition to include celebrity judges, and introduced The Food Prize, which had local chefs compete in a mystery box challenge before a live (and drooling) audience. Essentially, it’s an ever-growing celebration of Shreveport culture, grounded by a Film Prize rule that the submitted shorts must be shot locally.

Despite similar surroundings, the LA Film Prize’s top 20 shorts offered a wide array of settings, styles, and content. Impressive True Detective-style long takes were displayed into two crime films, one a comedy about a chicken lover (“Made Hen”), the other a bank heist thriller (“In Progress.”) An adopted child’s quest for acceptance was spun into a surreal adventure with “Honey and the Hive.” And Salem star Tamzin Merchant directed a subversive and smart coming-of-age comedy called “American Virgin.” There were also tastes of horror, family-drama, and science fiction. But the film that hit me to my core was a 15-minute short called “The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy,” which ultimately won the fest’s top prize.

Read the rest of the article on

Raise Your Glasses! It’s Prize Time!

Taken just before the Louisiana Film Prize's final filmmaker toast.

Exec Director Gregory Kallenberg and Filmmaker Liason Chris Lyon just before the Louisiana Film Prize’s final filmmaker toast.

[This is a reprinting of our Executive Director’s letter in our program.]

There is a toast we do as Film/Music/Startup/Food Prize Nation: “I am the Prize! You are the Prize! We are the Prize!”

This toast is the Rosetta stone that translates why we have all come together, and are doing what we are doing as a united group of independent filmmakers, musicians, and supporters of all the Prize endeavors.

I am the Prize! Sure, this part of the toast is somewhat narcissistic, but, heck, when it comes down to it, you (yes, YOU) are definitely the Prize. You’re one of the ones ballsy enough to make a film or put yourself or your music up on stage. If you’re part of the Prize audience, then you’re, literally, the Prize. Not only is your vote needed to help someone win, your amazing energy and unbridled enthusiasm are essential to the success of this Prize Weekend.

You are the Prize! This part of the toast requests that you say this to a friend or acquaintance or the cute potential mate you want to meet (NOTE: many a Prize romance starts this way). We need to directly acknowledge our brethren in this unique group. It is the collective “you” that has come together and grown the Film and Music Prizes into the creative and cultural juggernaut that it is. In other words, without “you” (our filmmakers, musicians, sponsors and audience), there is no “Prize.”

We are the Prize! This is that Power Rangers moment where we join together to create the brilliantly bright beacon (a veritable Power Ranger Zord) that alerts the rest of the world that awesome things happen HERE and NOW! We (that’s all of us) have joined together to create a moment that unlike any other on the planet. WE are, indeed the Prize!

So, on behalf of the amazing Prize team of Chris Lyon, Sabrina Adsit, Rachael Hansil, Julie Gustafson, Emily Smith, my family (Heidi, Tobias and Daisy) and the phalanx of incredible volunteers, we raise our glasses and, together, we say: VIVA LA FILM PRIZE!

LA Film Prize, I think I love you…

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.

Filmmaker Drayden Dunn

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 Doler and Taylor Bracewell

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?


Why Do We Drink Tequila in the Prize Family?

or “¿Por qué beber tequila en la Familia Prize?”

by Sabrina Adsit

When Gregory came to us and proposed these blog posts, I knew I had better start brainstorming the perfect topics. And, in good ol’ Louisiana Film Prize fashion, I thought, “What’s a good idea if it didn’t spawn from a late night driven by the sweet nectar de agave we like to call… tequila?” It was in that moment that I decided to support a little piece of Film Prize tradition with none other than pure science.

At every event the Film Prize Family hosts, we either begin, or end with a toast and tequila shot. Many of you ask “Why tequila?” Two words: Gregory Kallenberg. A world-renowned tequila connoisseur, he even asked me if I liked the stuff during my first job interview. Of course, like any good interviewee I smiled and politely said “Absolutely!” Of course I was really thinking, “Absolutely… in a margarita!”

So here we are, 4 years later, and I’ve finally realized why Gregory chose tequila to be the official drink of the Louisiana Prize family. Like the Louisiana Film Prize, tequila has been proven to be good for your health. Really, it’s science! From helping lower blood sugar and treating colds, to relaxing you and helping you sleep… it’s everything a filmmaker needs! And alas, tequila has been proven to earn your carrier respect when you show up with a bottle of it to an event. Especially a Louisiana Film Prize event (see #13 in the article I have provided a link to below). Also, neither I nor the Louisiana Film Prize condones or supports the use of #8.

So, while you’re shooting your film, keep in mind one thing: if you get invited back for the Louisiana Film Prize Festival and aren’t a fan of tequila… let’s hope you’ve got room for improvement.

15 Reasons Tequila is Actually Really Freaking Good For You

*Drink responsibly! Get a cab, don’t be a jerk.

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