Locally shot short film makes cut for annual Louisiana Film Prize

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Sarah Phillips and Laetitia Leon review footage as they filmed “Supplements” at Oakland Plantation last March.

By Hannah Richardson

In March, a few locations in Natchitoches served as the set for a film shot by a Los Angeles production company. Some of you might remember my first story on them, but if not, here’s a quick summary:

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Phileon Productions, founded by Sarah Phillips and Laetitia Leon in 2014, arrived in Natchitoches in March to shoot scenes for their film “Supplements” as their submission in this year’s Louisiana Film Prize. The Film Prize is an annual film contest and festival, where filmmakers from all over the country submit their short films, trying to make the Top 20, from which the winner of $50,000 is chosen. The all-female crew chose Natchitoches for its specific locations that would be perfect for their film, such as the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest History Museum, Oakland Plantation, the Church Street Inn and more.

Recently, the Top 20 films for the 2019 Louisiana Film Prize were announced and “Supplements” was named among them! “Supplements” is a futuristic science fiction short film that follows a woman and her brother on their quest to help their grandmother, only to be met with unexpected results in the big city of Old Centauri. It’s meant to be a proof of concept for a television show.

The crew said they were so excited when they learned they had made it to the Top 20. “We were so lucky as to be in the Top 20 of the Louisiana Film Prize, and then the Top Five last year, as well as winning a Founder’s Circle Prize, but it does not get old, let me tell you! We are so honored to be coming back again and we want everyone to come up and represent Natchitoches.”

Kris Holland, the Startup Prize Coordinator for the Louisiana Film Prize, said “Supplements” is in fact the first Natchitoches-based production to make it in the Top 20. Holland also said 50 percent of this year’s filmmakers were women, Phileon Productions included as they are an all-female crew. Greg Kallenberg, the founder of PrizeFest, told the crew that while other entries had been filmed in Natchitoches, they were the first to make it to the Top 20. They said they were certainly happy to represent.

Sarah Phillips and Laetitia Leon

Phillips and Leon also reflected on their experiences filming in town. “Right out of the gate, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame was one of the biggest reasons we were there – it has a super modern architecture that director [Phillips] was looking for specifically. Then we were super lucky to find the Oakland Plantation and we had help from Ronnie’s Collision Center, the mayor of Natchitoches, our airbnb host and her neighbor! We will definitely be back to film in Natchitoches; everyone was so helpful. [Leon], the actress and one of the producers, is so good at making friends, so we ended up having a full schedule around filming!” said Phileon Productions. They also shared some fond memories from filming. “We were having a bit of trouble finding this one field and we were driving all over the place scouting, but then we went to lunch and ran into Carolyn Perot, who was just curious about the filmmaking process. As we got to chatting, we mentioned that we were having a bit of trouble locating the kind of field we wanted and she said, ‘Oh well I have a field, you can film there!’ It ended up being the perfect field. We also had a day, our first day in town, where we sort of went around and met a bunch of people (we like to say hi and touch base before we start filming so people can see our faces first) and we went over to Ronnie’s Collision Center, and my mind was absolutely blown by the level of work they are doing on vintage cars over there. Ronnie letting us use a couple of his cars was a make-or-break kind of level of cinematic quality.”

The 2019 Louisiana Film Prize Fest is Oct. 2-6, with screening locations in Shreveport and Bossier. The Top 20 films will be put into two blocks, the Orange and Teal Blocks (the crew said it’s a clever reference to two of the most popular colors in film grading). With each block having 10 films, they will be played back-to-back Friday and Saturday night. For participants to vote, they have to see each block of films, all 20 short films. “It’s pretty easy, and while you could do it all on Saturday, that’s sort of everyone else’s idea and the lines get long, so we usually recommend people come on Friday, take their time, talk to filmmakers and judges (we’re wearing different badges), and soak up the Film Prize spirit!” said the crew. The awards will be announced Sunday, Oct. 6. Phileon Productions said they will definitely be going to other festivals, but Film Prize comes first! During the festival, they’ll be on panels, seeing films and going to the parties hosted at the event.

To see a full schedule and get tickets for the Louisiana Film Prize, visit prizefest.org.