● Published by Christy Quebedeaux
Iberia Film Festival Set For Success
By Shanna P. Dickens
Acadiana is a community with a zealous spirit of celebration when it comes to the arts. From music to paintings, ranking from fine art to folk art, it’s all welcomed and loved. However, one medium that is beginning to receive local recognition is film. Mark Boyance realized that in the city that celebrates everything…his favorite art medium hadn’t found its place in the ranks yet, and he set out to change that with the Iberia Film Festival set for July 28.
“I’ve created short films and entered them in contests in the past, and I’ve always wanted to do one in New Iberia,” Boyance explains. “We have some really talented people here, and a lot of people don’t know about that. Last year, I was at the Teche Classic Movies at the Essanee Theater; I saw the big screen and how the crowd reacted in the theater, and I thought, ‘this is the perfect place to have a film festival.’”
As a film maker, Boyance’s biggest take away from participating in film festivals was seeing the crowd react to a piece of work he created. It was from this that he began to wish his neighbors and friends could have this same experience. After seeing the success of Teche Classic Movies, Boyance began mentioning the idea of a film festival to his peers, and everyone excitedly jumped at the idea. The Iberia Film Festival will be a great opportunity for film makers as well as the community as a whole.
“This will be an opportunity to get the community together,” Boyance reasons. “It will also generate tourism, because I have a few entries from outside of the New Iberia area. I have entries from New Orleans and Nebraska. The festival will be an opportunity to showcase all of downtown, too, from the Essanee to Clementine.”
The Iberia Film Festival will be an explorative experience for all involved. It will allow those from out of town to explore the area as tourists. It will give locals the chance to explore the notion that their neighbors and friends are budding talents in the film industry. And it will give artists the opportunity to explore both film as a medium and Acadiana as a source of inspiration. Phanat Xaname intends to take full advantage of the latter two.
“I know a handful of very talented film makers who come from this area,” he states. “Any festival that brings together creative thinkers and artists to highlight our local talent and stories is a wonderful thing for our hometown. There’s really so many untapped unique narratives around New Iberia. I’m using this opportunity to make a short documentary about the 10 years of life I’ve dedicated to building community in New Iberia. I’ve loved working with other creative people on this project – videographers, TV producers, writers and actors.”
Another area up for exploration is technology. Boyance explains that with today’s technology there are so many great options for film makers to create truly unique pieces of work. He has seen beautiful films entered that were shot on an iPhone. He even has one entry that was created through Power Point.
The Iberia Film Festival will kick off with the Iberia Film Festival Opening Night Gala on July 26 from 6:30-9 p.m. at Clementine on Main. At the gala Becky Schexnayder will premiere her film “Tou’les Jours c’est pas La Meme” (Every Day is not the Same) with an accompanying performance by the legendary Carol Fran. Paul Schexnayder will also be unveiling a new art exhibit inspired by the film festival, “Shex goes to the movies.”
“These parody paintings are like musician Weird Al Yankovich’s work with more of a Cajun flavor,” Schexnayder explains of his exhibit, while adding his excitement for the festival. “The film festival is going to allow artists a new venue to show their vision and creativity on the big screen. It’s just another cool thing New Iberia is offering that exposes more art and talent to all. Hopefully it will spark some inspiration to our youth.”
The Iberia Film Festival will take place on Saturday, July 28. The four categories for submission will be Short Narrative, Short Documentary, Animation and Experimental. For the full schedule, information on submission or tickets, visit iberiafilmfestival.com. You can also follow their Facebook page for updates. The inaugural Iberia Film Festival came together with such ease and is surrounded with such enthusiasm, it’s certainly an omen for a successful reoccurring festival.
“I hope it grows every year,” Boyance concludes. “I want it to be a four-day festival that involves all of downtown New Iberia. This is a great place for this festival, because we have an awesome downtown area, a beautiful theater and some really talented people.”