An organization that promotes education, workforce development, film festivals and mentorship programs for Louisiana filmmakers of all ages is the latest recipient of a grant from Louisiana’s new Entertainment Development Fund. The Prize Foundation will receive a $203,050 grant to expand its annual Louisiana Film Prize and develop a film training program in Louisiana high schools.
Based in Shreveport, the Prize Foundation operates six ongoing initiatives: Louisiana Film Prize, Film Prize Junior for Louisiana middle school and high school students, Startup Prize, Food Prize, Music Prize and Fashion Prize. Each initiative incorporates engagement with economic and cultural resources and includes educational and workforce development components. The nonprofit organization was founded in 2012, and it partnered recently with the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association to promote the Louisiana Film Prize and Film Prize Junior programs.
“The Prize Foundation has been a creative force in Northwest Louisiana for several years now,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “The Louisiana Film Prize is nationally recognized for celebrating our state’s innovative feature and documentary filmmakers. The development of Film Prize Junior in Louisiana schools is an exciting addition to this worthy endeavor. We look forward to the advances the Prize Foundation will make with this award from our new Entertainment Development Fund.”
The grant will support both the Louisiana Film Prize and its student offshoot, Film Prize Junior. The goal of both programs is to develop a sustainable, indigenous filmmaking community in the state while stimulating economic development in Louisiana’s Northwest Region. The Entertainment Development Fund, administered by Louisiana Economic Development, was launched earlier this year.
“This grant is a benchmark moment for the Louisiana Film Prize and Film Prize Junior,” said Executive Director Gregory Kallenberg of the Prize Foundation. “This is a validation of our decade committed to energizing the creative economy in our beloved state, and these funds will further help women, men and students create films and bolster the Prize Foundation’s dream of building an indigenous filmmaking community across Louisiana.”
The grant will be used to provide hands-on training, resources and mentorship opportunities with industry professionals as well as a strong curriculum to provide developing directors and producers the skills needed to manage and organize cast and crew teams. In addition, the grant will fund scholarships for student and professional filmmakers.
“This grant is an investment in Shreveport’s future and will create new opportunities for workforce development and youth job training,” Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins said. “Through the use of innovative learning tools, Film Prize Junior gives students the experience of working alongside industry professionals to gain skills that can be applied to long-term career goals.”
“We are very proud to have partnered with the Prize Foundation to help secure this grant,” said President Trey Burvant of the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association. “The film industry and LFEA are committed to seeing that students and young filmmakers across the state are getting the tools and guidance needed to have a successful career right here at home.”
The Prize Foundation grant is the second award from the Entertainment Development Fund. In March, a $220,372 workforce training grant for entertainment industry jobs in Louisiana was awarded to a partnership of the New Orleans Video Access Center and Local 478 of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. The two organizations have partnered to create new employment opportunities for hospitality industry workers who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to respond to increasing motion picture production in the state.