Friday, March 30, 2007

Is "Meet the Robinsons" good?

I'm no longer confused by the early reviews for "Meet the Robinsons." I saw the Disney animated movie this morning, wearing those stupidly awesome, totally crooked 3-D glasses. Is the movie good? Yes.

Oh, and by the way, it's great. Click here for my review.

I saw the movie with a crowd full of kids at the Louisiana Boardwalk’s theaters. Their screams for eye-popping effects made all the difference, I think.

This movie was definitely designed with digital 3-D in mind. But just how the effects are rendered will surprise you. They are used subtly and rarely overpower the story. The experience is immersive without being distracting.

The movie is based on Shreveporter William Joyce’s picture book “A Day with Wilbur Robinson,” if you haven’t already heard.

When you see it, tell me what you think!

On another note, what the heck are kids doing at a matinee screening on a weekday? Can you say bogus field trip, boys and girls?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Reviews for 'Meet the Robinsons' trickling in

See updates below.

Disney's "Meet the Robinsons" opens tomorrow and Shreveport has an iron in its fire.

William Joyce, successful children's author and rising moviemaker, is an executive producer. "Meet the Robinsons" is based on his 17-year-old book "A Day with Wilbur Robinson." (Joyce, a Shreveport native, also lives here with his family.)

Joyce's artspace exhibition about the movie opens Saturday. Like the artspace "Robots" exhibition which coincided with the release of that 2005 film, "The Art of Disney's 'Meet the Robinsons'" aims to show us nonanimators how a book gets, well, fully animated.

I review the movie tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are a few early, and mostly pithy, reviews. To keep track of what the critics are saying, keep watching this Metacritic page for "Meet the Robinsons."

LA Weekly's Ella Taylor likes the story and loves the clever animation.

EW's Lisa Schwarzbaum calls the story "unmanageable."

Premiere's Glenn Kerry writes that the movie is "a sometimes fun but mostly frustrating mess."

Empire's Helen OHara judges that "like its main character, it has too many ideas running round in its head to make any of them work."

I'm awaiting the more thorough verdicts by critics at the big guns: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

UPDATE 4:32 p.m.

And now for the wordy reviews. These two watched it in 3D.

Read Ann Hornaday's review in The Post. She is one of the best movie critics writing today. "Stephen J. Anderson not only creates a visually arresting version of the future (picture Rube Goldberg by way of the Jetsons with a dash of David Lynch) but a terrific story as well. (Moral: Get over yourself.)"

Chicago Tribune's Michael Wilmington is impressed. "It's a real technical breakthrough, a cartoon feature done in 3D computer images of unusual depth and plasticity that creates its own crazy world and then dunks you in it."

UPDATE 9:15 p.m.

The New York Times's A.O. Scott hates "Meet the Robinsons." He writes, "This movie has more in common with cobbled-together junk like 'Chicken Little' and 'Treasure Planet' than with the studio’s classics."

The Los Angeles Times's Dennis Lim likes the design but questions the effects. "In other words, the stereoscopic effect, achieved through state-of-the-art digital technology, is used in no more modern a fashion than it was in the golden age of 3-D: the 1950s."

Variety's Todd McCarthy predicts big box office. "Snazzy entry should do strong if not smash biz through the spring, especially in the 600-plus theaters equipped to project it in the superb Disney Digital 3-D process."

Consider me thoroughly confused.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

'Prison Break' will shoot (a little) in Louisiana

The FOX series "Prison Break" will be based in Dallas when it begins shooting its third season. But Louisiana will welcome some of its "splinter" unit work, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Click here to read more. I don't know where in Louisiana yet. All I know is that somewhere in Louisiana has to double for Panama.

Perhaps the state is getting closer to landing that all-important TV series. Why is it important? Many reasons. A full TV series takes a longer time to shoot than a feature film, typically. It would employ a crew for a fairly long time. It likely would give one of the state's soundstages some very consistent business.

Slow but steady sometimes wins the race.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Louisiana Film Festival results are in ...

... and non-Shreveporters cleaned house. The awards are listed below.

Though organizers hope to see more representation from north Louisiana next year, the widening participation is a healthy sign.

Pulling entries from out-of-state translates into more street cred, plain and simple. Bigger pool, more prestige.

It shines a brighter light on the festivals' supporters -- including the Robinson Film Center and Centenary College.

Lastly, the more non-local filmmakers show us what they can do, the more local filmmakers learn what they must do.

The following list and synopses were provided by festival co-organizer and RFC staffer Chris Jay. The synopses sum up what the judges had to say.


The Jefferson Hendricks Achievement in Film Award ($500, top prize)
“The Starmaker” by Holden Brown
New Orleans, La.
“The Starmaker” is a combination of live action and animation that was unanimously selected by all five judges to receive the top prize. This is the first time in the festival’s history that a unanimous vote has ever occurred for the top prize. In the film, a young girl follows a falling star into the woods, where she becomes trapped by a frightening witch.

The Charitable Film Network Special Jury Prize ($150)
“A Game of Pool” by Ryan LeBoeuf
New Orleans, La.
LeBoeuf used experimental cinematography techniques to make it appear as though a man is competing against himself in a game of pool. This award is typically awarded for creativity and originality. LeBoeuf’s use of unusual camera techniques and creative editing made this selection stand out.

Best in Narrative ($100)
“Teenage Blues” by Samantha Smith
Picayune, Miss.
“Teenage Blues” is a silent film set to George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” which follows a student as he faces a school bully and strives to impress Bambi, the head cheerleader, while keeping his grades up. The film was also accepted to Mississippi’s Crossroads Film Festival.

Best in Documentary ($100)
“Schools of Change” by Caitlin Sullivan
New Orleans, La.
“Schools of Change” shows how several New Orleans-area schools have gone through major shifts in demographic make-up since Hurricane Katrina struck. It focuses specifically on Lusher Alternative Elementary School, a K-8 public school in the Orleans Parish School District.

Best in Animation ($100)
“High Speed Deception”
Bellaire, Texas
“High Speed Deception” is a very impressive combination of live action and animation, which centers around a car race between two rival racers. The animation techniques used were highly advanced for a student work.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Earthquake rocks 'The Mist'

Quint from Ain't It Cool News visited the set of "The Mist" for 10 days. He filmed an earthquake scene, which is narrated by director and screenwriter Frank Darabont. Quite fun. Pretty cool.

Click here to see it. I bet it lands on the DVD. (The link should be fixed.)

I also interviewed Darabont and wrote about a death scene for The Times. Click here. It's not as exciting, but I employ some pretty earth-shaking descriptions, I think.

All right, I'll admit it. The video's cooler. But I'm better looking than Quint. OK, fine, I'm just jealous. Satisfied?

Photo credit: Director and screenwriter Frank Darabont sits on the fog-shrouded set of “The Mist.” The Dimension Films production is set in a grocery store where customers are being attacked by killer pterodactyls. (Ralph Nelson/The Weinstein Co.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Laura Poitras makes films to question power

Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras spoke to Centenary College students today during a convocation. She will be the guest at this weekend’s Louisiana Film Festival, which begins Friday (March 23).

Poitras shared some compelling remarks. It’s not often that students (or me, for that matter) get to hear from an Oscar nominee.

Poitras’s “My Country, My Country” was nominated in the 2006 best documentary category. It focuses on one Iraqi doctor’s role in Iraq’s election process. It was shot in 2004 and 2005.

At the convocation, she screened her short film “If I Die Here,” which shows the doctor trying to get information about prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. At the time of her filming -- just three months after news of the prisoner abuse scandal broke -- 2,300 prisoners were being detained without charge, she said.

“I don’t consider myself a war photographer,” Poitras said. “I don’t want to go to conflict zones and make films about people who have suffered.”

She talked about cinéma vérité, a style of documentary filmmaking that follows news, stories or conflicts as they unfold. (In other words, none of those annoying dramatic recreations of past events.)

“We’ve been trying to understand human nature and the choices we’ve made for centuries,” Poitras said. Her Iraq films look at people pressed to make decision during extraordinary circumstances.

She said she works “to make films that ask us to question power.”

She referenced images of the Holocaust and how important those became to our understanding of the scope of WWII. “If we didn’t have those images after Auschwitz, I don’t think we as a society would have struggled as much with what happened,” Poitras said.

I highly recommend “My Country, My Country,” and I hope to see her “Flag Wars.” The latter will be screened 7 p.m. Friday (March 23) in Kilpatrick Auditorium.

WHEN: Friday-Saturday (March 23-24).
WHERE: Centenary College's Kilpatrick Auditorium, Woodlawn Avenue and Kings Highway, Shreveport.
COST: free.

2:30 p.m.: festival check-in and registration.
3 p.m.: screening session 1 (narrative).
5 p.m.: screening session 2 (documentary).
6 p.m.: dinner break.
7 p.m.: "Flag Wars" screening with guest filmmaker Laura Poitras.

9:30 a.m.: festival check-in and registration.
10 a.m.: screening session 3 (animation and experimental).
11 a.m.: workshop with guest filmmaker Laura Poitras.
12:30 p.m.: lunch break.
1:30 p.m.: screening session 4 (regional showcase).
2:45 p.m.: screening session 5 (narrative).
4 p.m.: awards ceremony.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It pays to say ...

Dave Shaffer got much more than he bargained for when he agreed to work on “Premonition.”

The real-life nurse was hired to play an extra when the thriller filmed a scene at a closed hospital facility in Bossier City.

The easy gig didn't last long. When Shaffer’s real job became on-set knowledge, the extras casting director stepped in to promote him.

“You want to play a nurse?” the casting director asked.

“Am I being typecast?” Shaffer joked. “I was just supposed to be background decoration.”

He became something more. When Bullock rushed in to check on her daughter, Shaffer delivered his pricy line: “Are you the parent?”

With just four words, his pay jumped from $75 to more than $900.

More than $200 per word?! When I worked as a freelance writer, $200 meant seven stories!

I’m in the wrong business.

Shaffer now works as a post-op nurse in Bossier City.

P.S. Here's a little behind-the-scenes movie trivia from Dave: "Little known fact. When Sandra gets the injection on screen, it is not Hollywood Magic. She really gets a tetanus shot."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Local actor gets his schmooze on ...

John F. Daniel had a busy week. The local stage actor has been doing quite a bit of extra work since the movie industry suddenly arrived in northwest Louisiana.

Evidently, he's also put in some time at the local wrap parties. The top is Daniel with Renny Harlin, director of "Cleaner." Daniel attended the party with a friend named Jennifer. Finland-born Harlin made her smile with the following request: "You watch my movie, 'The Long Kiss Good Night.' It is about a strong kickass woman. You watch it and you think of me and I will be thinking of you." Easy, Renny! Down boy!

Also, here are pics of Daniel with a Samuel L. Jackson ("Cleaner") and John Cho ("Harold & Kumar 2").
Thanks, JFD. You're having much better success than me in getting camera time!

Friday, March 16, 2007

'Premonition' is not long for the big screens

So I reviewed "Premonition" today. Sorry to report it's a complete disaster of a mystery. It has more red herrings in it than my Uncle Herb's bloody live well. Superbly shot but horribly told.

Click here for my thoughts.

Meanwhile, if you disagree, tell me. Tell the readers. Tell the world. Post your own review to the comments box.

Critics just don't understand ...

Chris Jay's account of "The Tiger and the Snow" screening:

By all accounts, our co-presentation of Roberto Benigni's "The Tiger & The Snow" was far more successful than organizers had expected. Around 100 turned out for the film (sorry for the dark pic, it was snapped during the credits) and it seemed to be universally loved by the crowd. For a film that's currently got a 17% on, the audience tonight had a wonderful time.

-- Chris Jay works for the Robinson Film Center.

'Premonition' review forthcoming

On a related note, I'll be reviewing "Premonition" today. You'll see me, my computer and one hand pulling my receding hair at the 11:25 a.m. Boardwalk screening. Here are the words critics have written so far. Again, ouch. (Please don't throw tomatoes at me on the off chance I don't approve. I prefer apples.) "Premonition" was shot in northwest Louisiana.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

See Roberto Benigni's "The Tiger and the Snow" tonight

WHAT: Roberto Benigni’s “The Tiger and the Snow.”
WHEN: 7 p.m. today (March 15).
WHERE: Regal Cinemas Louisiana Boardwalk 14, Bossier City.
COST: $7.50 at the door, or call Robinson Film Center at (318) 424-9090 to book in advance.
PRESENTED BY: Robinson Film Center and the Sons of Italy Heritage Club.

Read the reviews at (Ouch.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bullock's 'Premonition' opens Friday

Sandra Bullock's "Premonition" opens this weekend, and I'm just as curious as you to see if our region can serve as a good backdrop for a great thriller.

I didn't get to visit the set -- not for lack of trying -- but I do know it was filmed all over the place. (Quite the scoop, huh?)

They were keeping their secrets secret. And if memory serves me right, it just happened to be around the time when the potential of Bullock's "Infamous" -- the other "In Cold Blood" movie -- was getting buried by success of "Capote." Coincidence? Hmm.


Pop Matters has a decent piece on Bullock getting in trouble for saying she was a "romantic-comicalic in need of an intervention."

MSNBC has a funnier piece on her being a cable TV goddess.

Meanwhile, do you have a premonition about "Premonition?" Will it be good? Bad? So-so? A total stinker? I'll review it Friday morning.

I'm ready for the best- and worst-case scenarios, I assure you. I'm armed with references to "Lake House." Supernatural romance? Supernatural thriller? Where, oh, where is the career of Ms. Bullock headed?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I'm tinkering with my links


I'm remapping the links and info on the righthand side of my blog (scroll down). If you see anything I'm missing -- like links to movie organizations or more production resources -- please email me at

You'll be noticing a few more changes in the coming days. Whatever I do, I want this blog to serve as a stronger resource for what's going on.


Robinson Film Center: Construction begins

The Robinson Film Center began building its new movie theaters and film education center on Monday. Boggs and Poole Contracting Group of Bossier City is handling the renovation.

RFC plans to offer daily screenings of independent, international and classic film.

If construction stays on track -- they want to open Nov. 12 or late 2007 -- RFC's theaters may open in time for the next round of Oscar contenders. Methinks that timing would let loose a major revenue stream for the nonprofit.

Two new opps for indie filmmakers

Entries sought for Moviesauce

Organizers of the Moviesauce Film Festival are seeking entries for their features, shorts and Louisiana categories.

Last year’s festival was held at the LSUS University Center and featured about two dozen films from the United States and other countries.

Organizers Evan Falbaum and Hunter Carter are hoping to feature more local work through the Louisiana category. It is open to all styles of work from narrative, documentary, experiment to short. Filmmakers of all ages can submit work for consideration.

Moviesauce will be accepting submissions through mid-August. The festival is scheduled to take place in Shreveport on Dec. 28-29. This year's festival will likely take place and the newly constructed Robinson Film Center.

For more information, log on to and click on the submissions link. Falbaum can be reached at (318) 458-8980.

Short filmmakers need cast and crew

Two independent student filmmakers are working to fill a variety of cast and crew positions for their short film, "Plummet."

They are casting for two male roles ages 18 to 23. They also seek a make-up artist (with experience), wardrobe supervisor and production assistant, among other crew positions. As many as 80 extras will be needed.

Students from northwest Louisiana are encouraged to apply.

Contact filmmakers Chris Lyon and Luke Lee at or (318) 294-1143 to discussion compensation and get more information.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Press those clothes!

The Robinson Film Center's Chris Jay filed this great audio story for Red River Radio this morning. He discusses the 24-minute documentary "I Always Do My Collars First." As Jay explains, the women in the doc take their ironing very seriously. One of the doc's makers is Bossier City native Allison Bohl.

WHAT: screening of "I Always Do My Collars First" followed by a filmmakers' Q&A session.
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, March 10.
WHERE: Kilpatrick Auditorium at Centenary College, 2911 Centenary Blvd. in Shreveport.

Samuel L. Jackson talks to kids ...

... and all I took was this lousy photograph.

Well, that's not entirely true. I also covered the event for The Times. Our photographer Shane Bevel handled the visuals. (Phew.) You'll find his stellar efforts online and in Saturday's Times.

Jackson was obviously overwhelmed by the size of the crowd and all the cameras and camera phones pointed his way. In addition to a few hundred kids, their were a few hundred parents, Head Start administrators and politicians standing in the wings and crowding the stage.

Jackson was gracious and managed to give a good pep talk to the tykes.

"Education is the key to getting you to go where you want to go," he said simply. He also spoke about helping to build a school in KwaZulu-Natal, a South African province.

"They go to a school that we built and support. They are kids like you who are looking for a better life," Jackson said. He encouraged people to do what they can to support education. "We will have a better place to live, and the world will be a better place."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Katie Holmes, Queen Latifah: Meet your 'Mad Money' ... costars?

In a bizarrely appropriate move to shake more movie extras out of the rafters, "Mad Money" casting directors will be hosting an extras casting call at the Mudbugs game on Saturday.

Hmm, I didn't know Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes and Diane Keaton liked hockey.

Here are just a few of the Mudbug fans who might apply to share some screen time with TomKat's better half. (Sorry, Tom. We're still friends.)

If they cast Mudbugs captain Dan Wildfong, it will confirm my suspicions: "Mad Money" is a slasher film. (Thank you, thank you, ladies and gentleman. I just flew in from Albuquerque and, boy, are my arms tired.)

FOR: "Mad Money." Begins shooting April 19 (tentative).
WHEN: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 10. It will take place during the Mudbug's game against the Okla. City Blazers (7:05 p.m. faceoff).
WHERE: CenturyTel Center, Bossier City.
DETAILS: to apply in person during the game, you must have a ticket to the game. BAM Casting will set up a table in CTC's concourse.
WHAT TO BRING: a headshot. If you don't have one, casting director will snap one.
SEEKING: persons looking like casino workers, bank tellers, airline workers, forklift drivers, mafia-style criminals, FBI agents, police and blues band members. They also need persons to work as stand-ins for the stars. (Clawed doesn't look anything like Katie Holmes, so forget it.)
COST TO APPLY: free, or a pound of crawfish.
CAN'T MAKE THE GAME?: call BAM Casting at (318) 525-1468 or email the office at Its website,, isn't live yet, but they're working on it.

Photo 1: Mudbugs mascot Clawed (background) with three loyal fans. Lavern "Chicken Lady" Kethley, Tim "Tequilla Tim" Harms and Gail "Mama Puckhead" Fleetwood. (Jim Hudelson/The Times 10.12.05)
Photo 2: The Mudbugs' Dan Wildfong shakes hands with fans before the game against the Lubbock Cotton Kings Friday night at the Centurytel Center.(Curt Youngblood/The Times 12.01.06)
Photo 3: Dennis Mercon from Shreveport, Chad Crank from Bossier, and Jeff Maddox from Homer all cheer on the Shreveport Mudbugs during their game against the Centeral Texas Stampede from their seats behind the Mudbugs bench. (Jim Hudelson/The Times 10.21.97)

TomKat is coming ...

The New York Post’s Page Six reports that Tom Cruise will be accompanying Katie Holmes on the set of “Mad Money” every day. The Millennium Films movie will begin production in April in Shreveport and also will star Queen Latifah and Diane Keaton.

Page Six’s Richard Johnson quotes an unnamed inside source as saying, “Tom has called producers and told them he will be on set every day. He wants to observe what's going on and will probably help Katie out."

“Mad Money” producer Jim Acheson told Page Six, "I don't know if that's the case, so I can't confirm. We are happy to have both Katie and Tom on set."

To read Page Six’s full story, click here.

Auction memorabilia for the 'Harold & Kumar 2' party

Meet cast and crew
WHAT: “Harold & Kumar 2” fundraising party.
WHY: Cast and crew hope to raise money for Carol Trevino’s children. The producer’s assistant worked on the movie and was killed in a car accident south of Shreveport on Feb. 13.
WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 10.
WHERE: artspace, 710 Texas St., Shreveport.
COST: $10 suggested donation will be requested at the door.
LIVE AUCTION: additional money will also be raised through a live auction, which will include autographed memorobilia from “Harold & Kumar” stars like Kal Penn, John Cho and Neil Patrick Harris, plus other Hollywood celebrities like Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Bacon, Jane Fonda, Jon Heder, Bret Easton Ellis, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Raimi, Frank Darabont and Andre Braugher. Mandate Pictures and New Line Cinema, the companies making “Harold & Kumar 2,” will each match all monies raised up to $10,000.

And more memorabilia for the 'HK2' party ...

Monday, March 05, 2007

‘Harold & Kumar 2’ cast, crew to host public fundraising party for Carol Trevino

The makers of “Harold & Kumar 2” will host a fundraising party on Saturday, March 10, at artspace.

Money raised through the event will be donated to the children of Carol Trevino. The Ohio native worked on “Harold & Kumar 2” as an assistant to the producers. She was killed in a car accident south of Shreveport on Feb. 13.

The party will take place between 5 and 7 p.m. and will be open to the public. A $10 donation will be requested at the door.

Inside artspace’s galleries, partygoers will be able to bid on a variety of movie memorabilia donated to a live auction. Items will include autographed photos, posters, DVD, scripts, storyboards and sheet music.

Some items will be signed by the stars of “Harold & Kumar 2” like Kal Penn, John Cho and Neil Patrick Harris. Other items will be signed by a variety of celebrities, including Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Bacon, Jane Fonda, Jon Heder, Bret Easton Ellis, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Raimi, Frank Darabont and Andre Braugher.

Partygoers will also be able to bid on a visit to the set of “Harold & Kumar 2,” which finishes filming in northwest Louisiana on March 14.

Artspace is located at 710 Texas St. in downtown Shreveport.

Cast and filmmakers will be present at the party.

I’ll dish more details as they become available.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Halle Berry is coming! (To New Orleans.)

Are you tired of movie news yet? I'm not. (Job security.)

Denzel is scouting. ... Samuel L. Jackson was on Letterman. ... Millennium Films is making a billion new movies here (slight exaggeration), and Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes (Mrs. TomKat) and Diane Keaton are coming. ... Martin Lawrence is about start filming. ... Ain't It Cool News is all over "The Mist," a Stephen King-Frank Darabont movie shooting inside StageWorks of Louisiana.

So when a reader notified me that another big name was coming to Louisiana -- Halle Berry! -- I pulled the toothpicks from my eyelids (slight exaggeration), picked up my cell and started workin' my sources. And a smarter guy on the copy desk reading the Advocate's business wire beat me to the punch!

Alas, fair Shreveporters, fair Bossier Citians, fair Mindenites, fair northwest Louisianans ... the Oscar-winner is apparently not coming to our fair parts.

Berry will begin filming "Tulia" in May. It's being made by Element Pictures and LIFT Productions and released by Lionsgate. It will be shot in and around New Orleans, according to the wire story.

Now come on, Halle. I've been working hard this week! Can't you make a movie reporter's day a little more exciting? A little more busy?

If you (not you, Halle) find movie tips or rumors during your daily surfings, email me. Please! I like this job security thing.

Photo: Actress Halle Berry poses as she arrives at the 2006 British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles Cunard Britannia Awards, Thursday night, Nov. 2, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

BTW students abuzz about Denzel

The Robinson Film Center's Chris Jay got caught up in a little Denzel madness this morning while teaching at Booker T. Washington High School. Here's a report from Chris:

According to students in The Robinson Film Center’s “Lights, Camera, Learning!” introductory digital filmmaking class at Booker T. Washington High School, Denzel also dropped by Fair Park High School to check out their auditoriums and classrooms.

This kind of report – especially from a student – is the very definition of “unreliable,” so a BTW faculty member and I called Fair Park and they confirmed it.

The staff member that we spoke to described the visit as a complete surprise – a van pulled up, the hallways were cleared, and Denzel and his crew inspected the areas they were interested in.

As more and more stars sign on to shoot films in Shreveport, student interest in filmmaking has gone through the roof. Just the fact that Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, Queen Latifah, and Denzel Washington have laid foot on Shreveport soil (or will soon) has been enough to convince even the most cynical of my students that this is an actual career possibility for them.

It’s a wonderful side effect of the industry’s arrival in town.

BTW’s Telecommunications Magnet students are currently involved in creating a wonderful film of their own, entitled “All Things Come to Light,” which will premiere at the Louisiana Film Festival – Student Division March 24 at Centenary College.

So, Denzel, if you’re reading, I know some very talented young cinematographers, script supervisors, directors, and propmasters! Anyone (Academy Award-winner or otherwise) who’d like to learn more about our introductory filmmaking classes at BTW can read more and see photos of the filming process at our Flickr account:

Thanks, Chris.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

And don't forget Denzel ...

Times reporter Vickie Welborn filed this report for today's paper. Hope you didn't miss it:

Denzel Washington visits Central School

GRAND CANE -- Staff and students of Central School in Grand Cane got an unexpected surprise Wednesday morning when movie star Denzel Washington and five members of his production team stopped by to check out the school's auditorium and classrooms for possible use in an upcoming movie, "The Great Debaters."

Principal Greg Womack said he had a little advance notice that Washington would stop by. He was pleased that Washington, who when word of his presence on campus quickly spread throughout the small student body, took time to visit classrooms, talk to students and teachers and pose for photographs.

"You can tell the man loves children," Womack said. "And they certainly enjoyed the time he spent with them."

Womack said it's not etched in stone that the school will be used, but he got an indication from the production crew that it's a possibility. If so, filming would begin in late May.

Washington also was in Mansfield touring the DeSoto Parish Courthouse.

Washington is the director of "The Great Debaters," a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas, who in 1936 inspired students from the school's first debate team that went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.

Photo: Denzel Washington starred in "Deja Vu," which was shot in New Orleans. (Touchstone Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Scott Free Productions.)

More Millennium movies, Katie Holmes on the way

We just posted the following to

Michael Flannigan, an executive producer with Millennium Films, confirmed three more movie projects may be coming to Shreveport soon.

After the company wraps production on “Cleaner” in the next two weeks, it will likely begin production on “Mad Money,” starring Katie Holmes, Queen Latifah and Diane Keaton.

“It’s not officially green lit yet, but it’s very close,” Flannigan said.

Flannigan said the movie may begin production in mid April. He also confirmed the movie productions “My Beautiful Mistake,” a comedy which could begin production as early as the end of April, and a project called “The Poison Rose,” which may be coming later in the year.

Photo: Star of the film Katie Holmes arrives for the European premiere of Batman Begins, at the Odeon Leicester Square in central London Sunday June 12, 2005. (AP Photo / Lindsay Parnaby/PA)