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Southern Screen wins Entertainment Development Fund Award for filmmaker training

BATON ROUGE, La. – Southern Screen, a Lafayette-based nonprofit that supports independent filmmakers, is the latest recipient of an award from the state’s Entertainment Development Fund. Southern Screen will receive $28,000 to be used for a new workforce training and mentoring program. The organization has been developing Louisiana’s filmmaker community through educational seminars, training sessions and public events since 2011.

Southern Screen will use the EDF award to launch five intensive hands-on classes to educate and mentor Louisiana filmmakers. The funding will help to pay for Southern Screen to develop and host the courses and for experienced film industry educators to teach.

“Southern Screen is doing exceptional work in developing the next generation of artists in Acadiana, which is a major source of cultural creativity for south Louisiana,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “As we had hoped when we created this program a few short years ago, we have seen that the awards from the Entertainment Development Fund are very useful. These funds are allowing us to play an important role in building and nurturing a self-sustaining film industry in Louisiana. We look forward to the programming Southern Screen will develop with this EDF award and we are confident the results will support and enhance Louisiana’s creative economy.”

The Entertainment Development Fund supports the state’s entertainment workforce through customized education and training opportunities. Southern Screen will use the award to hire film industry professionals to teach and mentor Louisiana filmmakers through essential steps of filmmaking such as story development, producing, fundraising, distribution and pitching.

“Southern Screen is looking forward to offering a five-part film development intensive and mentorship program with the help of the Entertainment Fund and Lafayette Economic Development Authority,” said Julie Bordelon, the organization’s founder and executive director. “This program aligns with our mission to foster the art and education of Louisiana artists.”

This is the 15th Entertainment Development Fund award announced by LED since the program was launched, and the sixth in 2023. Previous awards were made to higher education institutions and nonprofit community programs in Shreveport, Natchitoches, Lafayette, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

“Lafayette has demonstrated time and again that our community is a competitive location to do business, particularly for creative economy industries such as film production,” LEDA President and CEO Mandi D. Mitchell said. “The Lafayette Economic Development Authority is committed to facilitating new economic opportunities for artists and creatives. As such, we proudly support Southern Screen’s training and mentoring program – a program that will help grow our local film production talent pool to support both local content creation and larger film productions.”

The Entertainment Development Fund initiative earned top honors at the 2023 International Economic Development Council Awards ceremony in September, receiving a Gold Award for Innovative Programs and Initiatives as well as a nomination for Best in Show, recognizing the best economic development program in all categories.