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January 13, 2011

ULM Alum coordinates first film festival for northeast Louisiana

ULM alum and Associate Producer Christina Porter of R-Squared Productions is coordinating the first annual R-Squared Film Festival slated for Saturday, April 30, at the Monroe Civic Center's Jack Howard Theater. Some may remember that Porter served as one of only 10 interns for the "David Letterman Show" on the CBS television network while still at ULM in early 2009.

Porter, a 2009 mass communications graduate of ULM, said Louisiana is third in the nation in terms of filmmaking, so the timing couldn't be more perfect to highlight talent in the region. She said the following groups have endorsed the upcoming celebration in local filmmaking: Mayor Jamie Mayo with the City of Monroe, Mayor Dave Norris with the city of West Monroe, Ouachita Parish Schools, Monroe City Schools, Lincoln Parish Schools, Pecanland Mall, the News Star, KARD FOX 14, the Northeast Louisiana Film Commission, the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council and the historic Masur Museum.

R-Squared owner Rodney Ray added that, "The purpose of the festival is to cultivate and encourage the arts in Northeast Louisiana, to develop and shape talent in filmmaking for all ages, to showcase opportunities in film production that are available in Northeast Louisiana and to invest in our community."

The festival is limited to schools and/or residents of the following parishes: Ouachita, Lincoln, Morehouse, Union, Richland, Caldwell, Jackson, Winn, Franklin, Tensas, Madison, East Carroll and West Carroll. Filmmakers will compete as groups (5 people or less) in the following categories: Middle School (grades 6-8), High School (grades 9-12), Higher Education, and Citizens. Home schooled students, private school students and church groups are also encouraged to participate. However, they must follow the rules designated for their appropriate age group/category.

The Higher Education category is open to students currently enrolled in universities, colleges, community colleges, institutes of technology, and/or trade schools. The Citizens category is open to anyone 18 years of age or older and is not currently enrolled in any school.

Participants must create a short film that is ten minutes or less in length. The film's content should be appropriate for all ages and fit into these accepted genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Family, Faith-Based, Fantasy, Horror, Musical, Mystery, Romance, School Spirit, Science Fiction, Sports, Thriller, War and Western.

Films will be evaluated for a chance to be screened on April 30 at the Jack Howard Theater. Each film will be scored by a panel of area judges, while family, friends and the entire community will have the opportunity to watch the top films and vote for the People's Choice award winner, according to Porter.

All films deemed appropriate by R-Squared Productions will be shown on Monroe's local TV station CityWatch (Comcast 75) and/or KWMS TV-17 (Comcast 229). First place winners from each classification will be shown on KARD FOX 14 during a primetime slot. In addition, entrants stand to win several great gifts and prizes, including iMac computers and gift cards valued up to $500.

In addition, filmmaking workshops will be offered during the festival, according to Porter.

"The R-Squared staff will serve as instructors in directing, camera/lighting, audio, acting, location/set design, scoring, and writing," she said. "A mock filming will take place in addition to classroom instruction."

Ray added, "Filmmaking is a skill best developed with hands-on experience. Our workshops will introduce them to the basics and, in the end, may help them win the festival."

To enter the festival, contact Porter at, and join the R-Squared Productions group on Facebook, post to the discussion board and ask questions to the R-Squared Staff. Instructions on how to access the entry form, a list of frequently asked questions and contest rules will be accessible to all filmmakers.

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