Lake Charles Film Festival this Weekend

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

The second edition of the Lake Charles Film Festival will be this weekend. Due to increased demand, plans are already in place

to expand next year’s event from two to three days.

“We’ve received twice as many film submissions this year,” said festival founder Patrick Bennett. “The submissions have come

in from across the country, and we have also received international films from countries like Canada, Spain and Mexico.”

The event will include seminars and workshops on directing, acting, animation, screenwriting and other film topics, and it

will feature “tons of film screenings,” Bennett said.

“I think a local festival motivates area filmmakers by giving them a goal, a hard deadline, to have their films completed

by in order to submit it to the next festival,” he said. “It’s also a great place for networking.”

Many of the films to be shown at the

festival have local ties, including “The Man in the Chair,” which was

written and directed

by Ken Henderson and stars locals Gary Shannon and Julie Ann Fay.

Henderson will hold a workshop for beginning screenwriters

at the festival.

“We also have about five student films

produced by locals at the Lake Charles-Boston Academy,” Bennett said.

“There are other

films that have ties to Lake Charles, like the feature film

‘Reservation’ from writer-director Michael McGowan, who is from

Lake Charles and has recently returned to open a movie production

company.”

“Reservation” will be shown at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. It follows a group of college kids who go on a camping trip and desecrate

an Indian burial ground. “The Man in the Chair” will be shown at 4 p.m. It’s about a mother who takes the law into her own

hands and tracks down the drunken driver that killed her only child.

William Katt, star of the 1980s TV

series “The Greatest American Hero,” will present “Sparks,” a superhero

thriller that he

helped produce. Guest of honor is Jackson Bostwick, who starred in

the 1970s series “Shazam.” Bostwick, an independent filmmaker,

will present the workshop “Keep it Simple: The Indie Filmmakers’

Pit Falls.”

Additionally, Dallas-area filmmaker Jim DeVault will talk about low-budget filmmaking, and former Disney cinematographer and

director Frank Zuniga will give a seminar on directing and helping the local film industry grow.

Other events will include a workshop on

collecting movie posters and stills; a seminar on Louisiana film

history; and a workshop

on how to make animated films. Actor Dean West, a Moss Bluff

native, will talk about the reality of the industry and the philosophy

of acting.

A kickoff party will be at 7 p.m.

Friday in Dharma, 329 Broad St. It will feature screenings of several

short films, including

the first U.S. screening of the Canadian film “Cluster,” an

action/thriller inspired by the work of Quentin Tarantino. Tickets

to the party are $10.

The festival will continue Saturday at the Central School Arts and Humanities Center, 809 Kirby St. Workshops will be 9:30

a.m.-3:45 p.m. Film screenings will be 10:15 a.m.-5 p.m. The awards ceremony will be at 6 p.m.

Tickets to the festival are $10. VIP tickets, at $45, provide access to all events, including a private wrap party at Luna

Bar & Grill at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Online: www.lakecharlesfilmfestival.com.