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Monday, Sept. 23, 2019

Keeping it edgy in film, food, music and fashion


Now in its eighth year, Prize Fest has a problem.

A good problem. Because of its tremendous growth in a relatively short amount of time, there is a focused effort on keeping the popular Film, Food, Music and (new this year) Fashion festival from becoming stale.

“I’m a constant worrier. I worry about everything,” said Prize Fest founder Gregory Kallenberg. “We stay up at night thinking how to make this bigger, bolder, bawdier, louder and more fun. It is a constant process with us to keep tinkering and tweaking to make this even more than it is now – to keep adding more layers to it that will make it more incredibly interesting.”

The foundation of Prize Fest remains the same. Oct. 2-6 at various locations in downtown Shreveport, finalists in the four categories will compete for top honors – with prizegoers having a voting say in the winners.

Just how much has Prize Fest grown from when it was Film only?

“Year One, we had about 40 films,” Kallenberg remembered. “Eighty percent of them were locally submitted, and we had about 400 people attend the festival. Last year, we had over 100 films submitted, with about 70% from out of the area – California, Toronto, Miami, Austin – and we had about 4,000 people at the festival.”

While Film Prize is about identifying and recognizing local and regional talent, Kallenberg says it’s also about building our city’s culture.

“My wife and I moved here from Austin, Texas, and we got to see that town evolve from a sleepy college town into the city it is now. Watching what, essentially, creative entrepreneurialism was able to do to make Austin incredible is kind of what we’re seeing here. What we have done through the Prize Foundation is we have really energized and attracted the creative entrepreneur, not only in the city but attracted more to the city – to be a part of building something that we believe is part of the future of Shreveport.”

Here's a look at some highlights of this year’s categories:


“This year’s Film Prize’s Top 20 filmmakers have some of the most diverse and interesting films we have ever had,” Kallenberg said. “We pretty much have all genres covered. There’s a horror film. There’s an art film, there’s a musical, lots of comedies and dramas. It is one of the most exciting crops of films across the board. One of the most super incredible things that’s happened this year is that in the Top 20, 50% of the filmmakers are female. It wasn’t designed that way, but we are incredibly proud that Shreveport- Bossier and the Film Prize has become a hot spot for female filmmaking.”


Five local chefs, narrowed from a field of 20, will compete for the $5,000 top prize – along with the coveted “Golden Fork” award (Friday, Oct. 4, 7–8 p.m., on Texas Street near Artspace). However, Food Prize is one event which also features national chefs taking part in a variety of events.

“We are bringing in chefs from all over the country,” Kallenberg said. “Chefs like Chris Scott, who was on 'Top Chef,' and C. Barclay Dodge, who is a James Beard nominee. These are chefs that are playing on the main stage at places like the Aspen Wine and Food Festival.”

Taking place at various venues, those chefs will contribute to things like “Mixed," where local mixologists are paired with a national chef to make a cocktail/small plate combo. There’s also “Come and Get It," where seven chefs from throughout the United States create a tasting.

“What’s amazing about the tasting is not just about eating the food,” Kallenberg explained. “It’s also about getting to know the chefs. The chefs love it, and the audience loves it.”


A finalist lineup of five bands will play in the Music Prize Showcase Showdown (Thursday, Oct. 3, 7–11 p.m.) for the $2,500 first-place cash prize, in addition to being paid for their performance.

“What we’ve seen the last two years is that the Music Prize has become a catalyst for helping us grow our local music scene,” Kallenberg said. “As a result, we are continuing to try to make that a focal point of what we are trying to put together. The local and regional bands that are participating in Music Prize are really here to help build that foundation for the music scene that is essential to a thriving city.”

This year, Music Prize moves to a new venue – the Music Prize Garage at 211 Market St.


New to Prize Fest, Fashion Prize is a partnership with Katy Larsen, owner of the Agora Borealis in Shreveport. The finals (Friday, Oct. 4, 8:30–10 p.m., Music Prize Garage) will showcase three local designers, with the winner receiving an all-expense-paid trip to New York to show their talents to a design council and, perhaps, win a contract.

“It will be a little bit of a rock-androll fashion show,” Kallenberg said. “We are bringing in judges from all over the country who are true influencers in the fashion world. The idea is not only for these local designers to compete, but to put them in front of these people that can really make a career for these people if they see them and like what they do.”

Next year, Prize Fest may have a fifth category – comedy. This year (Saturday, Oct. 5, at 9 p.m., Rhino Coffee, 624 Texas St.), “Comedy at the Prize Fest” will feature comedians from throughout the Ark-La-Tex.

“We’re just testing the waters a little bit to see if the Prize is ready for comedy,” Kallenberg said. “Everything we do at Prize Fest is all about celebrating creative entrepreneurship, and comedy is perfect for us.”

While some Prize Fest events are free, there is a cost to attend others. To learn more about Prize Fest, please visit www. prizefest.org, or search Facebook for “Prize Fest 2019."

OCTOBER 2 Come and Get It! A Food, Wine and Spirits Experience, 6-10 p.m. at the Remington Suites Hotel

OCTOBER 3 Chef Demonstration: Lunch with Celebrity Chefs, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Remington Suites Hotel Film Prize Screenings Begin; 3 p.m. at Robinson Film Center, Underground Theater, Central ArtStation Mixed at the Prize, 5-7 p.m. at the Remington Suites Hotel Music Prize Discovery Showcase, 7-11 p.m. at the Music Prize Garage

OCTOBER 4 Film Prize Screenings All Day Battle for the Golden Fork, 7-8:30 p.m. at Festival Central Fashion Prize Showcase, 8:30 p.m. at Music Prize Garage

OCTOBER 5 Film Prize Screenings All Day Gospel Brunch, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Music Prize Garage Second Line Parade and Seratones Album Release Concert, 6-10 p.m. at Festival Plaza


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