Former LC residents collaborate on film-making projects

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

Emily Moss Wilson and Larry Soileau have been making movie magic since they were classmates at Barbe. Later this month, the

duo will have their short film, “Drink” premiere at the Dances With Films Festival at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

The duo both live in Los Angeles now

and began collaborating on the 23-minute movie when Soileau moved to

California three

years ago. The movie is a sci-fi cautionary tale that follows

Alice and her two sons, Clint and Billy, as they flee their

home in the middle of the night. They arrive at an old desert

motel, and it doesn’t take long before Alice realizes she has

a strange connection to this place. A tragedy of the past begins

to reveal secret desires that could send Alice down a path

of freedom or insanity.

Wilson and Soileau co-wrote the movie, which Wilson directed. Soileau served as concept artist for the movie.

The duo first worked together as classmates at Barbe.

“We met in speech class and were on the

speech and debate team,” said Wilson. “It was in the speech classes

that we started

honing our film making skills. Both of us had to direct a film for

a senior project. We made a deal, we acted and did camera

for each other’s movies.”

The duo formed a friendship that still continues

“In high school, even my parents would tease us and say ‘Why don’t you and Larry date?’ and we would always laugh because

we felt like brother and sister,” Wilson said.

“We are kind of the male and female versions of each other,” Soileau said.

The duo kept in touch throughout college over long distances until Soileau joined Wilson in California.

“I spent about eight years in Austin doing short films and things and for television, he said. “It got to a point where we

were working for little pay on small projects. It was time to decide whether I was going to do it as career, make a living

off it. (Moving to California) was a necessity.”

Wilson made the move nine years ago, shortly after graduating from TCU, where she studied film.

“I had interned in Los Angeles a couple of times,” she said.

“I luckily got a job right out of

college working at a film studio. I have had a lot of different jobs

here. On the studio

side I have worked for 20th Century Fox and ABC. I have also have

worked freelance, project to project. I got to work on the

big summer blockbuster “Wolverine” back in 2009. I worked in the

visual arts department as a coordinator on that film. I got

to work on two romantic comedies after that, ‘Valentine’s Day’ and

‘New Year’s Ever.’ Both were Warner Brothers movies and

had big ensemble casts. Between those two, I got to work with

about half the A-listers in Hollywood. I got to see how they

work and got to go to New York and live there for six months.”

Whenever she could, Wilson worked on personal projects.

“Between the bigger stuff you worn on smaller stuff,” she said. “You are always looking for people to collaborate with, always

writing scripts in your spare time. I had produced some short films but always wanted to direct. I had to start saying no

to helping other people to start my own thing. That was just about the time Larry was moving to California. When he moved

here, I wanted him to help me write this.”

Soileau describes “Drink” as “something similar to Twilight Zone and X-Files.” The script was inspired by Soileau reading

about water memory experiments.

When the duo works together, Soileau is usually the concept guy, Wilson the pragmatist.

“I think that is why we work so well

together, our styles align very closely,” Wilson said. “We are into a

lot of the same

stuff, but we have enough differences. For example, Larry likes to

thing way outside the box. He will help me expand my thinking

beyond what I was considering. We balance each other out. He tends

to have the really big ideas where I tend to bring more

structure.”

Soileau said the writing process was easy.

“We had an initial pow-wow where we

laid down what we wanted,” he said. “I wrote a short initial draft,

about 15 pages, then

Emily took it and doubled it. We would read what each other wrote

and talk about it. Then we would each go write another draft

and pick out what we liked.”

The movie was filmed last year after

fund raising that included a Kickstarter campaign. The donations allowed

for higher quality.

“A lot of short films are not super ambitious because of resources,” Wilson said. “It is a labor of love. For us, we made

a choice that we wanted to make a film that was ambitious. We have child actors, a set we built from ground zero, special

effects, makeup, prosthetic pieces and visual effects. We really tried to challenge ourselves.”

The challenge now is to get the movie seen. It will debut at the festival May 31.

“Film festivals are number one

(priority), then local screenings here in Los Angeles,” Wilson said.

Really, we made this to

try to get ourselves more work, get work for our crew. If you can

get work out of it, that is bigger than an award. We feel

what is going to benefit us is sending it out to people we meet

with. We call it a visual business card. We are thrilled to

be premiering at this festival. It is local so our cast and crew

can see it. It us at the Chinese Theater which everyone knows.

It is where all the handprints are, it is an iconic spot. The

festival has gained a good reputation in Hollywood. ”

Wilson added that she hopes to screen the movie in Lake Charles.

Soileau said he is glad to see the local arts community thriving and hopes to change the way Louisiana is depicted on the

big screen.

“I’m Cajun and am writing a series of stories set in Louisiana,” he said. I love Southwest Louisiana and Acadiana and hate

the way it is constantly depicted in the media. I would like to show people that there is a lot to us and we have a unique

and amazing culture. Every time I go home, I see the arts community burgeoning more and more. There is so much more to do

now. The downtown is more alive than I have ever seen. I just hope it continues that way.”

Warren Arceneaux writes a weekly column on interesting people in Southwest Louisiana each Monday. Have a story idea about

someone in Southwest Louisiana? Call him weekdays at 494-4087. E-mail him at warceneaux@americanpress.com.