New Program Launches for Local Filmmakers

The Roux Carré Filmmakers Program looks to support filmmakers as not just artists, but entrepreneurs.
Illustrations by Tony Healey
Kimberley Singletary is the managing editor of Biz New Orleans magazine. A 20-year Southern California veteran, she has been surrounded by the film industry for most of her life.

Local filmmakers received a new avenue for support this fall with the kickoff of the Roux Carré Filmmakers Program.

The program is the result of a partnership between two organizations — Good Work Network, which has been providing business development services for women and minority entrepreneurs since its founding in 2001, and #CreateLouisiana, an organization formed in 2015 by Scott Niemeyer and Sian McArthur of Deep South Studios to champion Southern talent in film through grantmaking, development programs, educational initiatives, mentorship opportunities and social media.

The latter is run by Jolene Pinder, who previously served as the director of the New Orleans Film Society for six years before stepping in as the first executive director of #CreateLouisiana in 2017.

“It’s actually such a perfect fit — these two organizations, because filmmakers really are entrepreneurs,” Pinder says. “What we’re looking to do is galvanize them to become advocates for the industry, which of course starts with knowing who they are and where they are. We don’t have that information right now.”

Thanks to funding support from National Endowment for the Arts, the Roux Carré Filmmakers Program began with a film screening and artist discussion on Sept. 20 that showcased “Plaquemines,” a short film written and directed by Nailah Jefferson. The New Orleanian’s 30-minute film tells the story of a father and son trapped in the dwindling fishing town of Plaquemines and trying to navigate life in a dying culture. The film was the recipient of #CreateLouisiana’s first $50,000 Create Louisiana Filmmakers Grant in 2015.

“The film was shown at the 2016 New Orleans Film Festival, but that’s the only time it’s been shown locally, so we had a great turnout,” Pinder says.The event was held at the Central City culinary incubator, Roux Carré on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

The goal is to host at least one more screening before summer 2019.

“We’re looking at doing something where we showcase more of a work in progress,” Pinder says. “That way we filmmakers can have an opportunity to give feedback to the artist. We just have to identify a film that makes sense for that.”

The program will also have two other components: a quarterly independent filmmakers group and a two-day immersive workshop called the Indie Business Plan Primer. The group has had some informal meetings but officially launched around the New Orleans Film Festival Oct. 17-25.

“With the new Entertainment Development Fund we now have $2.6 million in funds dedicated to helping filmmakers and we’d really like to get their input on how they’d like to see it used,” Pinder says.

The final portion of the program, the Indie Business Plan Primer workshop, fall right in the wheelhouse of the Good Work Network, led by executive director Hermione Malone.

“The workshop will take place in the spring and will be a two-day immersive weekend event that covers topics like how to talk to angel investors,” Malone says. “It will be structured around our current tax incentives. This is the same program that Film Independent puts on at the Los Angeles Film Festival and it consistently sells out, so we’re really excited to bring it here. The workshop typically runs a few hundred dollars but we’re looking at basically doing it for the cost of a lunch.”

Pinder and Malone say the details on the workshop will be released shortly and that it will likely be limited to between 25 and 30 participants.

“We really want people to be able to have that personal, one-on-one contact,” Malone says.