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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Curtain Rises on The Robbys


Fundraiser is a celebration of film

On June 3, the Robinson Film Center (RFC) will open the curtain on their annual marquis fundraising event, The Robbys.

“Usually, we tie it to some type of cinematic theme,” explained Executive Director Wendell Riley, “because we are, obviously, a non-profit that deals with film. It’s a celebration of film. It’s a celebration of RFC. It’s a way for us to show our impact within the community. It has been a lot of fun, and this year we plan to continue that tradition.”

Rick Simpson is handling the fundraising for this year’s event, and he said, “It’s going to be a different format this year. Before, we really just had a really big party celebrating the Robinson Film Center, but we’ve made a pivot where we’re actually going to be doing an homage to local filmmakers. Getting back to where it’s all about the local filmmakers’ films.”

Simpson said when new Executive Director Riley came on board, “we really focused on setting up an educational component there, and whatever community that might be, we’re trying to push that as much as we can. So, everybody will know that the Robinson Film Center is for everybody. It’s not just for people who like art films or weird films, or French films, you know, it’s for everybody. We showed ‘Top Gun:

Maverick’ there last year, which was one of the toprated films, but it was also one of the most popular commercial films.

“So, we’ve changed up a lot of what we’re doing, and this year is just to celebrate community and to honor local filmmakers.”

Riley noted that RFC is celebrating 15 years in the community all year long, and the Robbys will capitalize on that by hosting an ’80s-centric event called “Fifteen Candles.” Riley said the theme is “a riff on the classic film ‘Sixteen Candles.’ So, the entire event is going to be ’80s themed.

We will have a purple carpet instead of a red carpet. People are invited to dress on any part of the spectrum, from formal wear to ’80s costumes. So, we expect people to show up in parachute pants and tracksuits. It most definitely will be ‘Hammer time’ for a lot of people.”

He said there will be a karaoke room in the Kennedy Theatre and a full ’80s prom going on in the event space, complete with ’80s cover band. There will be the usual RFC food and drink, VIP area and silent auction, but new will be an awards ceremony designed to highlight filmmaking excellence in our local community, according to Riley.

He said the awards are a way for RFC to recognize its major corporate sponsors as well as its faithful supporters, plus a way for them to recognize the staff and board of RFC for all the ways they help make it a successful non-profit.

“RFC has always played a major role in the local filmmaking industry in Shreveport. We are often the premiere site for a lot of local independent filmmakers. We have practicing filmmakers that teach our classes here at RFC. So, we wanted to do something to give back to them. So, we have a number of filmmaker categories this year. We have Best Documentary, Best Live Action Film – both short and long form. We also have Filmmakers of the Year and Young Filmmaker of the Year. We want to recognize those young folks who are doing great work, and hopefully to encourage them to continue doing what they do.”

Strap on your best ’80s pantsuit and head down to the Robinson Film Center on Saturday, June 3, from 7 to 11 p.m. For more information, ticket prices and more on the event and entertainment, check out www.robinsonfilmcenter.org.


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