Executive Director of the Louisiana International Film Festival Chesley Heymsfield on launching the fest, the healthy state of filmmaking in La., and the importance of community.
What prompted creating the festival?
In order to continue to grow, the next step was to build a creative infrastructure, where we have a hub where we can all congregate at least once a year. We’re very cohesive in our approach, and we’re all on the same page. Since the industry is spread out, I think it’s helpful if we get together and strategize and share resources. One thing I really love to do is get really talented people together and have great conversations that turn into filmmaking.
In addition to films and parties, what else is on tap for the fest?
Producers can come and meet financiers and different film commissions and hear about the latest tax incentives. People can walk into a workshop and figure out how to put together a film package. What we’re trying to do is create it
so people can come down here and come up with a concept rather than writing the concept and trying to find something that fits it.
Will this be an annual event, or will there be activities throughout the year?
We’re hopefully continuing to have more screenings and interact with the community over the next year. This is 100-percent based on interest from
the community. We want people to continue to be involved. The challenge is getting everyone together, and when they’re together we need to keep them together to function as a whole.
With film production in the state at an all-time high, Chesley Heymsfield stepped in to organize the April 18–21 fest to foster a sense of community.