Make a Short Film in Northwest Louisiana for a Chance to Win $50,000

Last year, 86 teams competed in the first annual Louisiana Film Prize, and one lucky team walked away with $50,000. Now, the 2013 iteration of the LAFP has just kicked off, and once again they're offering a cool $50,000 for the best short film shot in the northwestern section of the Bayou State, as well as $500 prizes for each of the 20 finalists. Here's the details on the competition's rules and how to enter:

The Louisiana Film Prize is a short film competition where filmmakers from all over the country come to Northwest Louisiana to make their films during the filming window, complete them, and return after post-production to participate in a winner-takes-all battle for votes and recognition during the festival weekend.

Once you’ve made your film and submitted a rough cut for consideration by midnight (the night of Tuesday, June 11th, 2013), you will have just a few short months to complete post-production. If your film is selected as one of twenty battle films, you will receive an award of $500 and be invited to return to Shreveport, LA to attend Louisiana Film Prize Weekend where your primary job will be to convince an adoring public and a jury of creative experts that your film is worthy of the grand prize. When the votes are tallied and a final decision is made, one filmmaker will walk away with a check for $50,000.

Competition Rules:

  • You may register your film idea and pay the $50 submission fee any time during the shooting window, January 9th 2013 - June 11th 2013. One film submission per director.
  • Before you shoot your film, you must check-in at an official LAFP "Check In" station.
  • All production must be shot in the Shreveport-Bossier area (including Caddo, Bossier, Webster, DeSoto, Bienville, Claiborne and/or Red River Parishes, La.) and you must be able to prove production was shot in the area.
  • All post-production, music and effects may be executed elsewhere.
  • Principal photography must stop by the day of the rough cut deadline: Tuesday July 9th, 2013.
  • All qualified entries must be independently produced and financed.
  • You must have the rights to all materials appearing in your film, visual or auditory.
  • Total run time of your film should no less than 5 minutes and no more than 15 minutes, including titles and credits.
  • Only live-action narrative films of any genre are eligible. Documentary and animated films will not be accepted.
  • Films should be submitted on DVD-Video disc (preferably DVD-R).
  • Final films must be turned in by Friday, September 13, 2013, and should be submitted in QuickTime Apple ProRes 422 (Standard ProRes, not HQ or Proxy) in their native resolution (up to 2k) on a data disc.

The LAFP website also has further info on putting together proof of having shot in northwest Louisiana, as well as information regarding permits and production resources, hotels, lodging, local restaurants and watering holes.

For some readers, this competition might be in your proverbial backyard, and for others it might be more of a journey. For those in the latter category -- instead of thinking of this as an obstacle -- think of it as a challenge to streamline your production process and make a film in unfamiliar territory. At best, you could win one of the cash prizes, and at worst you take a working vacation and make a short film. Either way, you're bound to get something good out of it. Good luck!

Link: Louisiana Film Prize

[via Filmmaker Magazine]

Your Comment


This is a cool idea, but who has the money to just take off a week of work just to shoot a short if you don't live nearby? Maybe I'm in the minority, but if I missed a week of work I wouldn't be able to pay rent. Wish they had something like this in Jersey.

January 13, 2013 at 1:38PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Dana Yurcisin

Maybe vacation time? Not ideal, definitely a sacrifice, but I guess you have to decide if the sacrifice is worth the end game.

January 16, 2013 at 9:42AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I was excited about this contest when I first heard about it, as Louisiana is my hometown, and home base, but I'm in Southern Louisiana. I really don't know why they're trying to push Shreveport with this contest as it is a bleep-hole.

It would take the better part of a grand to travel to Shreveport with a small cast and crew to film there just for a weekend. But that's unrealistic as any crew would have to travel there at least once to scout out and secure locations.

This contest only really benefits those who live in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.

January 13, 2013 at 7:09PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Some Guy

Hey there, I'm from the new orleans area/suth louisiana. Myself, my motley crew of volunteers and a cast from all around are ganging together to attempt to make a film for this project. Feel free to contact me if your interested in joining us we will most likely need more hands on 'set'! (See what i did there,)
Facebook on our Picone Films Pagem

January 15, 2013 at 10:56AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Do it! Make sure to reach out to the LAFP team when you shoot. They will come document your production and help you get the resources you need.

January 17, 2013 at 9:47PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Gotta spend money to make money. 86 teams disagreed that it wasn't worth it last year. Teams from across the country came - from L.A. To Chicago, Baltimore, Sarasota, Wichita, Austin, New Orleans and more. If $50,000 isn't worth it to you, you're a fool. The winning film was shot on a weekend.

And Some Guy hasn't been to Shreveport in a while, apparently. Last year, Millennium Studios gave LAFP participants free run of their studio space, production offices, props and wardrobe houses and many tool advantage. Shreveport has an extremely diverse look and has been host to dozens of studio features including Battle: LA, Texas Chainsaw 3D, Drive Angry, Straw Dogs, W., Olympus has Fallen, and is the home of moonbot Studios which made the Oscar-winning animated short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Shreveport has RED cameras, a full grip and electric rental house, full-size studio spaces, capable crew, talented players, and a city hungry for - and open to - film production.

Beyond the production phase, there is a narrowing of films to the Top 20 which compete for the big prize. The grand prize is determined by judges and audience equally. Audiences and judges MUST see ALL THE FILMS in order to vote. We sold thousands of tickets. How many film festivals can you say give shorts such a dedicated audience? Then there are judge/filmmaker mingle spaces where aspiring Top 20 finalists schmoozed with respected critics (Hank Stuever, Washington Post), academics (Tara McPhearson, USC), authors (Pat Hazel, Brian McDonald), and filmmakers (Academy-award winning director Brandon Oldenberg, producer Alissa Kantrow, director Blayne Weaver). It's really a special opportunity. Between the films and the music, and the southern food, it's one of the most unique and definitely one of the coolest film contest experiences I've ever heard of, much less been a part of.

January 17, 2013 at 9:46PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Chris, the first contest (last year) was won by a team of three guys that were from Shreveport, and lived in Shreveport. So anyone from Shreveport obviously has an extreme advantage in this contest. Furthermore Louisiana gave out three $3,000 grants to Louisiana film makers for participating in the contest to help pay for costs. This year that number is up to five. This is great for Louisiana film makers, but once again, does not help out anyone from out of the area.

If someone NOT living in the Shreveport area had won for the inaugural contest, then perhaps my concerns would have been assuaged, but there is an obvious advantage and possible bias for those already living in the Shreveport area.

Amazon Studios was giving away a $100,000 a month, for year, then a million dollars at the end of the year for the best test films from all over the world. Most of the winners each month put almost zero money into their "test films." So it doesn't always require money to make money. Sometimes it's just being in the right place at the right time.

Also, Chris, the scenario you are presenting from last year isn't represented on the contest website. How is anyone supposed to know that Millennium Studios gave "free run" of their studios and offices? How would anyone not living in Shreveport know of that a major studio was giving away this space?
On the website it currently states:

"Register with the LAFP and contact one of the fine folks over at Millennium to find out what they can do for you! "

Doesn't sound like "free" to me. Sounds like a sales pitch.

Also, it's great that Shreveport has RED cameras, grip trucks, and talented crews, but this is not relevant to the contest. It's not like participants are going to get free RED camera rentals; free grip rentals, and free crew. The only free thing listed on the site was some free meeting space from a local company, which was nice of them.

The odds in winning the contest are about 100 to 1. If I bet on box cars on a craps table with a $1,000 bet, I could win $30,000. $2,000 would net $60,000. And that's only 35 to 1 odds.

I have no issue with the contest being an obvious way to get people aware of Shreveport and its film resources. But I do have an issue with it being called "The Louisiana film prize." I would have much rather had a contest that showed off all of Louisiana, instead of just the south, or the north.

January 18, 2013 at 1:38AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Some Guy

The odds are far better than the Amazon fest. I think there should be info on the site about some of the resources too, that should change. But from what you're telling me, that wouldn't matter to you anyway. You seem to be prettier familiar with last year's festival and I'm not sure why you're so quick to torpedo the contest.

Many of the top 10 as voted by attendees (over 25% were out of region non locals) and the judges (only one of a dozen local) were not from Shreveport. People like good stories and the winner had that. It was memorable and funny. And the next 8 films weren't comedies, which would destroy any misunderstanding that comedy is the only thing people like at a shorts contest. The winners were by no means a hometown favorite. It was their first film. I would wager most people didn't know it was shot by locals or even know who they are.

Anyway, the point isn't worth arguing in my view. Someone is going to win $50,000 and it won't be anyone who stays at home griping about what are, in all reality, great odds. It's not thousands to drive to Shreveport unless your driving a Hummer from Alaska. A couple tanks of gas will get most people to town and there are plenty of locals, filmmakers etc that would hike a couch for you for absolutely nada. I would be one of them. And hotels are soon to announce special rates.

As a film school teacher once said in his commencement, if you're sitting around not out making films, you're not a filmmaker.

The odds are great, the community is growing, and... Shit dude... It's $50,000.

January 18, 2013 at 6:06AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Actually, the name of the contest should be changed to the "Probably totally rigged LA film prize."

I just noticed this little blurb in the "about" section on the website:

"A panel of celebs and film experts will account for 50% of the vote. The audience will determine the other 50%. If you’re a finalist, you’re invited to stack the votes in your favor. Convince (or, heck, pay) your friends, family, colleagues and anyone else you want to bring to Shreveport-Bossier to vote for your film. If you want to make it happen, you can own half the vote."

So sure, you can drive all the way to Shreveport, spend thousands of dollars to put you and your crew up, make an incredible movie, a movie that -should- win, but you WON'T WIN unless you stack the audience deck with more people than the other local filmmakers.

Let's say there are three really good movies that totally stand out at the LA Film prize contest. Two of these films are made by "outsiders" from other states, and one is made by filmmakers in Shreveport. Even if all of the three films score exactly the same; maxed out scores with the judges, the filmmakers from Shreveport will win BY DEFAULT because they're able to stack the deck with locals.

The audience vote counting 50% is incredibly stupid as the audience will always ONLY vote for their own team's films. I'm sorry the audience vote counting 50% is a total disservice to the filmmakers. What the contest organizers are essentially saying is, "It doesn't matter how good your film is, even if it maxes out in the judges scores, the only way you're going to win is if you stack the deck in your favor by Astroturfing the audience!"

I'm sorry, this is total and utter Bulls****

The proof is in the pudding. Who won the very first LA film prize? Shreveport locals.
Who'll win the next LA Film prize? Shreveport locals. The odds are totally against non-Shreveport filmmakers.

February 25, 2013 at 1:36AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

some guy

If you say so. Sounds like you have a bone to pick. If you don't want the chance to make it, that's fine. This year, we're offering more than one prize. We're offering opportunities for 10 prizes (Out of 20 films to choose from). Had we had these opportunities last year, several non-Shreveport films would have won distribution deals with Shorts International and seen automatic festival play across the country.

March 12, 2013 at 2:17PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


So, that said, there's even less reason not to compete. If you don't and you have the means to get here (there are people that will put you up, and there are plenty of qualified crew that will work for free or next to nothing) then you have a shot. There's a lot more at stake in 2013 and people from all over the country are already here. Memphis, Dallas, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Virginia Beach, Santa Fe, Telluride...

March 12, 2013 at 2:21PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Read this article aaagges ago (well, in January, going by the post date). It absolutely jumpstarted my short film. I had a script kicking around for a while, and this competition seemed like a perfect way to light a fire under my butt. I banged out the script, went down and shot for 3.5 days, and edited furiously. Now I'm in the top 20 competing for the big prize! I am an out-of-towner, so I get the reservations about the popular vote weighing the competition more in the favor of local filmmakers. However, I had a conversation with the folks at the film prize, and they directly addressed this. Now, everyone who votes has to vote for 5 films or their vote doesn't count. I think this does a good job of leveling the playing field somewhat. You'd have to be horrendously organized to game this system (as in, choose all of your "lackeys" votes for the popular vote).

Also, there are a TON of prizes for this festival. $500 for the top 20, a $20k editing prize (you have to edit a music video for the Louisiana Tourism Board [I think]), distribution deals galore, and a bunch of founders grants to shoot a film for next year. Not to mention the $50k.

Anyhow, I'm stoked to be top 20, and can't wait to get down there to compete for the top prize.

August 24, 2013 at 9:17AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM