On Friday, April 15th, a small group of Upper School students had a very personalized educational experience during Louisiana International Film Festival’s Mentorship Day, which was also sponsored and promoted by New South Story Lab. Sophomore Chris Clarke, juniors Mac Bridges, Gabe Wisham, Nina Jalenak, and Bailey Stevens, and senior Cate LeBlanc participated in a day full of activities designed for Baton Rouge students interested in the film industry.
In the morning, the group toured the Celtic Media Centre, where they attended sessions on film creation, editing, and production. Cinematographers, editors, directors, camera operators, and other professionals shared the different paths they took in finding their careers and also gave specifics about their individual jobs. A highlight included hearing from actor Dwight Henry, who told the story of his unlikely entry into acting through his audition for the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild. The group also enjoyed seeing a demonstration for a SteadiCam video stabilizer and the set used for WGN’s hit show Underground. After lunch, students traveled to Cinemark Perkins Rowe, where they met puppeteers from Shreveport-based Swaybox Studios and attended a Apple workshop on creating movies using an iPhone.
Overall, the group had an informative and fun trip. “Listening to the puppeteers describe their groundbreaking technology in that field was by far the most enjoyable part of the day. It was also cool to speak with the professional cameraman and his stunning gyroscopic camera mount,” said Gabe Wisham.
Bailey Stevens served on the LIFF volunteer crew for the day and helped with events over the weekend. She reflected, “The mentorship opportunities are important to LIFF for continuing the success of the film industry in Louisiana, and hopefully helping students better understand or find an entrance into that industry. Meeting the mentors and seeing facilities such as celtic studios was a fantastic opportunity.”