IN THEATERS: ‘Tomorrowland’, ‘Poltergeist’

by Arthur Vandelay on May 22, 2015

Tomorrowland

Director Brad Bird tackles the tall order of following up Pirates of the Caribbean by creating a film franchise out of a beloved Disney theme park attraction. Travel into a futuristic world with George Clooney as your guide. 130 min. Rated PG.

Poltergeist

Rosemarie DeWitt and the always awesome Sam Rockwell star in this remake of the Tobe Hooper directed horror classic. 93 min. Rated PG-13.

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In the fall of 2014, I chaired a Kickstarter campaign called “Here’s My Two Bucks” with the Louisiana Film & Entertainment Association. The goal was unusual: we wanted to raise $50,000 to fund an economic impact study of how the film industry impacts Louisiana’s economy. After sixty days, we not only met that lofty goal, but exceeded it. 589 backers donated a total of $55,818 to fund the study. The study was completed a few weeks ago and you can now read it in its entirety at sceneent.com.

Because of our combined efforts, the results of the study are now available for Louisiana lawmakers to review, just in time for the 2015 session of the Louisiana legislature. It’s a fiscal session, which means that legislators will be looking closely at all financial matters affecting the Louisiana state government’s budget. The Legislature is in session now and will conclude in mid-June.

The key to our successful Kickstarter was widespread support, both inside and outside of the film industry. And one of the backers was especially important. With a little more than a week until the end of our campaign, Sandy Parker pledged $10,000 and selected the biggest reward: a short film.

“I scrolled down and saw that for $10,000, you’d get your short film produced basically from start to finish, all the way through editorial and help submitting to film festivals. That actually seems crazy low!” Sandy told me. That’s an observation only a filmmaker would make. And Sandy is indeed someone who has not only worked in the film industry as a script supervisor, but who has a great story of how Louisiana’s film incentive program helped influence her to relocate to Louisiana.

Only a few years ago, Sandy was in Portland, Oregon, where she first made her way into the film industry doing craft services. She eventually made her way over to the script supervisor’s chair, right next to the actors and the director. After going back and forth between Portland and Los Angeles, Sandy found herself at a crossroads. “When The Levees Broke, that Spike Lee movie was on HBO,” she remembers. Lee’s documentary is a four-hour opus chronicling the impact of Hurricane Katrina on South Louisiana. “About an hour in, it was like I had a revelation. Why was I trying to move to Los Angeles when I could move to New Orleans? I would be two hours away from my parents in Mississippi and I could actually work in the film industry!”

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“I sold my house in Portland and moved here,” Sandy says. “I came here in October of 2006, I joined the union and they were happy to have me.” After relocating to New Orleans, she worked on films including Killer Joe, Meeting Evil, Now You See Me, Jurassic World and American Horror Story.

Nearly ten years of employment in Louisiana’s film industry has allowed Sandy to lay down roots. In addition to purchasing her own home, she’s also a great example of how people that come to Louisiana to work on film end up branching out into other areas of the economy. “I’ve bought two rental properties,” she says.

Sandy directed her short film Creatures of God from her own original script. During the process, she was aided by a team of professional filmmakers who brought their well-honed skills to the table. Trey Burvant was the project’s lead producer. He got development rolling by connecting Sandy with veteran screenwriter Chris Poché. Together, the two made some key changes that streamlined the story. Meanwhile, producer and production supervisor Will Greenfield prepared a budget for the film. Casting took place shortly after, drawing from Louisiana’s maturing talent pool.

After shooting over the course of two days in April, we’re now in post-production on Creatures of God. You can follow that process in more detail at heresmytwobucks.com. We also need your help during the next two months. Go to lfea.org for more information on how to contact your legislators and support film.

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Southern Design Week With Founder Andi Eaton

by Micah Haley on May 19, 2015

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Andi Eaton is the founder of Southern Design Week, the premier fashion event that takes place twice yearly in New Orleans. We spoke at Second Line Stages just after the conclusion of the Fall/Winter 2015 season. You can listen to our conversation in its entirety on The SceneCast at thescenecast.com.

Micah: Andi! Tell me about how this spring’s week of fashion kicked off.
Andi: We kicked off the week with a brunch celebration at Tivoli & Lee at the Hotel Modern. It was hosted by Flying Fox, which is a local New Orleans handbag line that designed the NFL-approved clear purses last year. The founder’s name is Tiffany Napper: her brand really exploded after that product came out. Now she’s moved into really beautiful leather bags. She did an opening presentation during the brunch and had some amazing folks there.There was some great food, a lot of Instagrams from bloggers going on. Just some really great folks getting to meet-and-greet with some of designers that were showing throughout the week.

M: Everything moved to Gravier Street Social next?
A: We had two shows there on Sunday night. The first was Megan Mitton, an emerging designer going to school in Alabama. She’s from Shreveport so she wanted to come home and show her senior collection. Her garments were absolutely beautiful and she is going to be a star. After Megan’s opening show, we had local songbird Robin Barnes perform. She just launched her own clothing line. It’s called Fit By You and it’s athletic wear. Robin created a line after having some pretty serious health issues about a year ago. She had Miss Louisiana as one of her models, some local on-air celebs as some of her models. It was a really fun, high energy close to that day.

M: Where were you at on Tuesday?
A: We were at the Transportation Revolution, which is the Ducati and Triumph Dealership. We really got excited about using that venue. Their showroom is just absolutely beautiful. The products they offer stand out. We had two designers that evening. We opened with an emerging designer named Destani Hoffman. She did some wildly cool avant garde dresses. A lot of black and white conceptual pieces that really went well with the motorcycle showroom. And then, the headliner of that night was Stevie Boi. He was actually in all week long and he kicked off the first big runway show.

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M: He’s kind of a big deal.
A: Stevie Boi is a big deal. He’s actually from Augusta, Georgia. He’s a Southern boy at heart. When he was sixteen, he was making custom sunglasses and he had a pair picked up by Italian Vogue. Not only did they run a photograph with the glasses, they ran them on the cover of the magazine. So he went from being a kid in Augusta, Georgia to being hired immediately by Lady Gaga to become one of her costume designers. He has been doing a lot of styling work for Madonna. He just styled the cover for Cosmopolitan featuring Madonna. So he’s just had some really, really big successes. Stevie is a very hard worker. He’s entrepreneurial, super smart and really down to Earth. He’s just a lovely gentleman doing really cool stuff.

M: What happened on Wednesday, March 18?
A: Wednesday was presented by Mignon Faget, who’s a local jewelry superstar. Mignon has stores all around Louisiana and does beautiful work herself. Mignon wanted to sponsor a night that was about local and up-and-coming artisans. So, Wednesday night was a mash up of sorts. There was a market, which featured three local makers: Beneath the Bark, Edge Studios and Hunt Collective. All are local jewelry or apparel designers. So those three presented their work in a market format. You could come in and shop, try things on, meet the designers and have some cocktails. with those folks and really just kind of have an experience of those brands.

Next was a the collection presentation by Krystal Frame. Her line is called K Frame. She’s been around Southern Design Week for quite a few years. She’s just a little superstar. She’s twenty-one years old and is really about to make it really big. She presented her collection and then the night closed with music from Ships of Fools, which is a collective of musicians from Baton Rouge.

M: Thursday’s up next. March 19th. Where were you?
A: We were at the Mallory Page Studio, which is Mallory Page Rodrigue’s gallery on Julia Street. Mallory’s a painter who does absolutely beautiful work, and she launched a book called The Alchemy Never Starts or Stops. It’s a collection of her paintings and writings, a beautiful coffee table book. The night closed with the collection presentation of Courtney Marse, who does engineered prints. So she’s got an MFA in textile design from LSU and she takes photographs or illustrations and deconstructs them, creates her own prints and then creates garments using those prints. Really cool stuff. This is her second collection and she’s hit the ground running, focusing on specific styles so that she can rotate in new prints every season.

M: And wrapped up the week on Friday, March 20th at the Joy Theater.
A: There were six designers that showed on Friday, paired with three local DJs. The energy was high and there was dancing in between each collection presentation. It opened with C-Major by Anne Cassidy and then went to the incubator group from a company called the Wild Life Reserve, which is run by Tabitha Bethune. Tabitha has four designers that she’s working with in the incubator program right now and those four designers all showed their collections in that show on Friday night. Those lines are Ottilie Broadmann by Elsa Broadmann. She does women’s wear that’s super sophisticated. NOLA Grown, which is a t-shirt line that Tabitha’s consulting with through the incubator program. And then, there’s a line called Lady Ann which is specifically absolutely gorgeous garments specifically designed for women that are taller. She started with one product, which was leggings, and now she’s moved to denim, skirts, dresses and all sorts of beautiful things for taller gals. The fourth line is called Onyii & Co. What she’s done is taken indigenous textiles and created really cool women’s contemporary wear using more indigenous, tribal type textiles. Those four showed their collection together in the incubator group and then Tabitha’s line the Wild Life Reserve closed the night.

M: What’s next for Southern Design Week?
A: This summer, we’ve got a teen fashion camp with the Contemporary Art Center. I’ll be the lead instructor but I’ll be having all sorts of guest educators coming in. The students are all fifteen to seventeen year old high school students that are electing this program because they have an interest in potentially going into either fashion design or styling or fashion production when they go to college. So that’ll be a lot of fun. We’re going to be doing some history of fashion with them and then also fashion production. They’re going to put on their own show. We’re going to do fashion photoshoots. We’re going to take them and do an editorial shoot, get them to work that shoot and see where how that whole process works.

Find out more about Southern Design Week at southerndesignweek.com. And follow Andi Eaton on Twitter and Instagram at @Ouiwegirl.

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Principle photography began Monday in South Louisiana on The Long Night, also known as Deepwater Horizon. The film has an awe-inspiring cast including Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, Kurt Russell, Dylan O’Brien, Gina Rodriguez and Kate Hudson.

Lionsgate released our first look at the film, featuring an oil-drenched Mark Wahlberg in character as a worker on the rig that imploded only a few years ago off the coast of Louisiana. Several men died in the accident and it resulted in millions of barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf. Wahlberg will play Mike Williams, an electronics technician who outlived the Deepwater Horizon rig and acts courageously in the event that killed eleven and injured seventeen others.

The film, which is directed by Peter Berg, will shoot in and around the New Orleans area, including St. Bernard Parish. The project is a big one, but big is Berg’s specialty. He previously directed Battleship in Baton Rouge, Hancock and The Rundown, which is one of the best action adventure films of the last twenty years.

We’ll be watching this film closely.

 

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RECAP: New Orleans Saints Rookie Mini Camp

by Jordan McGuire on May 18, 2015

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The Saints Rookie Mini Camp was held over the weekend in the Saints’ indoor practice facility on Airline Drive. With nine draft picks and 13 additional undrafted free agents, the Saints opened their Rookie Mini Camp to many others trying to lock down a spot on a NFL roster. Below we will look at the notable performances of rookie standouts, things to take away looking forward and is Garrett Grayson, the future of the New Orleans Saints.

Andrus Peat

The 6’7 300 pounder is quick on his feet and displays tremendous fluidity for his massive size. Peat hails from Stanford University and was the Saints’ first selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. He is a physical presence and will be a pusher in the run game. He is currently a right tackle but don’t be surprised to see the Saints coaching staff rotate him around at either guard positions and even a shot at the coveted left tackle position. Sean Payton and staff have really liked his football IQ and his intelligent demeanor throughout the post draft process.

Delvin Breaux

A New Orleans native, Delvin Breaux is a graduate from McDonaugh 35. In high school, the Ron Eagle defensive back had an offer from LSU to play football. After a critical injury left him with broken vertebrae, he was forced to be sidelined for six years. He went through the rigors of minor league, arena league and finally landed in the Canadian Football League. Breaux is now regarded as one of the premiere corners in the CFL and was a CFL All Star in 2014. He signed with the Saints in January and could get valuable playing time behind other New Orleans native Keenan Lewis and newly acquired Brandon Browner.

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RJ Harris

Pictured above, the 6’0 wide receiver from New Hampshire could find himself on the Saints roster. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed and a knack for finding the end zone. The Saints are incredibly talented when it comes to finding small school diamonds in the rough, i.e. Marques Colston from Hofstra University. After watching a couple of high light reels from Harris’ senior year, it is easy to see that this guy could fit into Sean Payton’s offense quite well. Like Brandin Cooks, Harris runs well with jet sweeps and other short screens. He follows his blockers well and catches passes down the middle of the field in an admirably fearless fashion. Expect RJ Harris to find a role on the Saints roster with the recent departure of Kenny Stills.

Stephone Anthony

This guy might become one of the major steals in the 2015 NFL Draft. Hailing from Clemson, the standout middle linebacker has had both Rob Ryan and Sean Payton gushing over his leadership, high motor and work ethic. Expect this guy to be an opening day starter for the Saints’ resurgent defense. Anthony has the size, speed and toughness to start right away for the Saints. He can play outside or middle linebacker and seems to have an exceptional aptness to make plays on the ground or through the air.

Antonio Johnson

Johnson was signed only a number of hours ago following the Saints Rookie Mini Camp. He is a 6’5 300 pound offensive tackle from North Texas University. The former North Texas star was a four year starter who has shown some significant promise is shoring up the depth on the offensive line.

Hau’oli Kikaha

This is the guy who has had nothing but great things said about him since he was selected in the second round by the New Orleans Saints. Kikaha led the nation in sacks last season playing for Washington University. He has been praised for his high motor and contagious work ethic. The former Husky will add depth to either the defensive end or outside linebacker positions and can be an effective pass rusher. Kikaha has suffered two knee injuries but you can expect him to be packaged in defensive situations under the tutelage of Rob Ryan.

Things to take away from this past weekend is the now budding battle in the corner back ranks. From the starters to the cutting floor, Saints have beefed up the corner back competition tremendously. PJ Williams and Delvin Breaux will be immediately competing for the first corner back off the bench but don’t count out other rookie and Georgia alum Damian Swann nipping at their heels.

Some rookies who can expect immediate playing time are the first round selections Andrus Peat and Stephone Anthony and the New Orleans native Delvin Breaux. Andrus Peat has versatility that will allow him to play at either tackle position and could potentially find his way at either guard position. His football intelligence and superior size will greatly impact his playing time. Stephone Anthony could solidify himself as the main focus towards the future of the defense. He will have enormous shoes to fill after the departure of Curtis Lofton but the coaching staff is taken aback by the Clemson star linebacker. Finally, Delvin Breaux was considered a shutdown corner back in the CFL and will hopefully provide a physical presence lining up against either slot or wide recievers.

Finally, is the third round pick Garrett Grayson the future of the New Orleans Saints? I don’t think this is an Aaron Rogers behind Brett Favre situation that many have alluded to. I do, however, believe that the man from Colorado State will serve as the incumbent to future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. He does have a long throwing motion that needs some re-tooling but executes mature throws and is able to throw receivers open. He told the media that he was “a deer in headlights” when he first met Drew Brees and explained that this is a dream come true to learn and play behind Brees. It’s going to be interesting to see his progression under Sean Payton and Drew Brees and maybe 4-5 years down the line he will step in and become the new face of the franchise.

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Matt Bomer Comes to Baton Rouge for ‘Magnificent Seven’

by Jordan McGuire

Matt Bomer will return to Louisiana (Baton Rouge, specifically) for the reboot of Antoine Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven. The cast is literally getting better and better as the weeks go by and the White Collar star is continuing that trend. The first-rate cast already includes Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Wagner Moura, Luke Grimes, Haley Bennett, […]

FIRST LOOK: New Orleans-Shot ‘American Ultra’

by Jordan McGuire

The Adventureland adolescent romantic duo is teaming up for the Nola-shot film American Ultra. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart play pot heads who watch TV together and have plans to get married. Eisenberg wears a long wig in the film and fits the mold of the slacker stoner pretty well. He’s about to propose and WHAM! he’s […]

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Sequel Has a Title

by Jordan McGuire

James Franco was on the Rise. Jason Clarke was there at Dawn. Now, there will be War. Dawn director Matt Reeves says the third installment set to hit theaters in 2017 will be called War of the Planet of the Apes. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ended with Caesar preaching about a budding war between the apes and the […]

TRAILER: ‘Scream Queens’

by Jordan McGuire

The first real trailer for Fox’s Scream Queens is upon us, and it’s a “Good evening, idiots.” Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) greets us and her pledges in the opening scene. The New Orleans-shot horror/comedy anthology series is created by Glee architect Ryan Murphy. The teaser trailers for the show featured pink bubble gum, knives and blood. You can check out those teaser trailers […]