Excitement is building among filmmakers for the annual Iberia Film Festival. Only in its second year, the entries have grown to include international short films and there will be two special events leading up to the full day of viewing four categories of entries.

Slated for Aug. 1 through 3, plan now to attend all three days. Althought the Iberia Performing Arts League is the beneficiary for all three events, the Opening Night Reception and a special Movie and Dinner night will be held at The Sliman Theater. Those two nights are sponsored in part by the city of New Iberia and the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce. Competition screenings and the awards gala will be held at IPAL’s Essanee Theater Aug. 3.

Friends and family of Dr. Donald Pavy will be in attendance Thursday, Aug. 1 to see the premiere of “Accident and Deception: The Huey Long Shooting,” a documentary short directed by Carrie Simon with Ardent Flame Media Group. Simon and brother Mark Davis won two Live Oak Awards last year for “Freedom,” the Audience Favorite and in the Experimental Video categories. Donations to the Bayou Teche Museum Foundation fund, in Pavy’s name, have guaranteed his research and lifelong passion for uncovering the truth about Huey Long’s death will remain a permanent exhibit in the new Doc Voorhies Wing next to Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s office furnishings.

Friday, Aug. 2 will feature a longer film not in the competition. Shot over a period of years and several states, “Gumbo” is a 43-minute documentary by Texas filmmaker Alyssa Rachelle with AlyRac Films. It explores the origins of one of the South’s most popular dishes and the people who love it. Footage includes the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff.

“We were so excited when Brooke Giles called about the possibility of attending the World Championship Gumbo CookOff and including this event in their documentary. Now, to have a finished product this year for our 30th Anniversary is perfect,” said Janet Faulk-Gonzales, CEO/President, Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce. “What fun that we have a gumbo documentary featuring some of our star teams in the year when our theme is all about Hollywood. Additionally, it’s great to partner with the Iberia Film Festival on behalf of IPAL in another wonderful Iberia Parish event.”

Two teams from the local gumbo cookoff are featured in the documentary and competitors will be the chefs for the night. Beau Beaullieau will bring his winning team along with Nelson Boutte and the Tabasco team. Patrons will watch the film and then enjoy the taste of championship gumbos.

Interviewees for “Gumbo” hail from Houston, Port Arthur, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Charleston, Seattle and Guanajuato City, Mexico. Footage was not only shot at the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff in New Iberia, speaking for the Teche Area’s finest were Dan Doerle, New Iberia Mayor Pro-Tem, Janet Faulk-Gonzales, President & CEO of the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce and host for the championship and Corey Hotard Ph.D., Geospatial Professional and Geography Instructor in New Iberia.

“We’ve got the city and the chamber as sponsors and I’m still working on others,” said Mark Boyance, founder of the festival. “All of us on the committee will be working on that. Jason Bayard, IPAL, James Edmunds, and my wife, Bianca. I just like doing it. I used to do film festivals with my own projects. It all started with seeing the Teche Classic Movies.”

Boyance said he loves to watch the people in the theater react to the scary scenes as well as laugh at the funny parts, especially when it’s a project by a local producer or filmmaker. He starting making movies at 15 when his father bought a VHS camcorder. Not far from the field, working for Cox Communications, he has found another way of expanding his film interests.

Submissions are still being made through the website FilmFreeway.com, a place where all the big film festivals are listed for entries. The site brought in submissions from around the globe.

“We already have as many as we showed last year. I still have a bunch I’m waiting on, they’re still working on them,” Boyance said. “The largest category so far is for Louisiana films. Entries include three from Baton Rouge, two from Lafayette, five from New Iberia, one from Youngsville, one from Iowa, he’s coming in for the festival, and two from New York. There are five international entries.”

The New York filmmaker, Andre Rangiah, shot his short film in Franklin with local actors.

For more information visit the festival website IberiaFilmFestival.com.

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