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Director Nailah Jefferson and Producer Jon Wood Awarded $50K Grant

Deep South Studios, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the New Orleans Film Society awarded the inaugural 2015 #CreateLouisiana Filmmakers Grant to Director Nailah Jefferson and Producer Jon Wood, for their short film project, Plaquemines about a town in despair that estranges father and son. The announcement was made at the final screening of the 2015 New Orleans Film Festival.

The #CreateLouisiana Filmmakers Grant is an industry building grant program awarding $50,000 to a local filmmaking team for a short film to be completed over the next 12 months. The winner will receive mentorship and professional services throughout the year-long period, providing them with a unique opportunity to showcase their talent and the ongoing strength of the state’s creative economy.

“Deep South Studios is proud to sponsor this year’s #CreateLouisiana Filmmakers Grant and congratulates Director Nailah Jefferson and Producer Jon Wood for their strong work with Plaquemines,” said Scott Niemeyer, CEO/Developer of Deep South Studios and founder of Create Louisiana. “We look forward to working together over the next year on this exciting project.”

A total of 37 filmmaking teams applied for the 2015 grant, with teams from around the state submitting projects that highlighted the great indigenous talent that Louisiana has to offer. Five finalists were selected and invited to pitch their projects to a panel of industry professionals during the 2015 New Orleans Film Festival. The five projects selected for the final round include:

  • Destiny is an Outlaw, directed by Daneeta Loretta Jackson, produced by Patrick Jackson
  • Drive Through, directed by Luisa Dantas, produced by Gianna Chachere
  • Elnora, directed by Kira Akerman, produced by Josh Penn and Sasha Solodukhina
  • Forked Island, directed by Nicholas Campbell, produced by Marcus & Yvette Brown
  • Plaquemines, directed by Nailah Jefferson, produced by Jon Wood *WINNER*

“It’s essential to the New Orleans Film Society’s mission that we support filmmaking talent indigenous to Louisiana,” said New Orleans Film Society Executive Director Jolene Pinder. “We are proud to provide the 2016 New Orleans Film Festival as a platform for Nailah Jefferson to showcase her work.”

Deep South Studios teamed with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) and the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) to offer the inaugural #CreateLouisiana Filmmakers Grant, an industry-building program designed to recognize and celebrate the creative industries in Louisiana, including all of the burgeoning, indigenous filmmakers that contribute to Louisiana’s vibrant creative economy. Applicants were required to have lived in the state for at least 12 months prior to the grant deadline. The winning film will be completed within 12 months of receiving the award, with the finished project set to screen at the 2016 New Orleans Film Festival.

“For nearly 45 years, the LEH has been telling Louisiana’s stories to the world,” said LEH Executive Director Miranda Restovic. “We are proud to join our partners in supporting the inaugural #CreateLouisiana Filmmaker Grant, a project that will shine a bright light on Louisiana.”

The filmmaking community responded by submitting applications for narrative, documentary and animated projects. The #CreateLouisiana partners evaluated the originality of concept; the experience of the director-producer teams; feasibility of the director’s vision; budget; marketing and distribution strategy; and the use of Louisiana talent in front of and behind the camera.

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