Review: “Where Y’at? (hello.)”

Q) What is Hollywood South?

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A) The southern (specifically Gulf of Mexico) region of the U.S., which hosts a good amount of Hollywood film and television productions, because of very attractive tax incentives.

It’s tough out there for up and coming independent filmmakers, especially in New Orleans. Sure, there are tools like social networking and crowd funding that are paramount for artists, but there is no guarantee that any of that will work. And if they do, the benefits aren’t enough to qualify for the same privileges that bigger productions enjoy.

If you’re from Hollywood, they’ll roll out the red carpet. If you’re local, they’ll hire you to be a roller. Despite this, there are people and organizations in the area that are working around the clock to sponsor home grown talent, from festivals and lectures to collaborative projects. Collaborative — what a great word.

TimeCode:NOLA’s Where Y’at? (hello.) is a feature film made up of 15 shorts, each inspired by a city street corner. Think of it as New York, I Love You, but more independent. It’s an excellent introduction to some great talent, filled with DIY spirit and a “look at us!” attitude. Framed around a man eating peanuts on a park bench, telling anecdotes to anybody that’ll listen, the shorts run the gambit from comedic and silly to dramatic and romantic.

Ursulines and Decatur, Directed by Sam Cespedes, might be my favorite of the bunch. It tells the story of a young street musician with a crush on a young street artist. Little is actually said, but what shows through most is the beauty of love from afar and the music you hear when your heart flutters. It ought to be shown at visitor centers to give tourists a taste of the culture.

Another favorite is Dumaine and N. Derbigny, Directed by Corey Fortune. The most abstract and daring short of the movie, it presents a young man’s regret of bad choices (either previous or to come) in a challenging manner. Fragments of a crime, prior to and afterwards, are shown in a fragmented way. This non linear approach makes me feel the lead conflict in a sharp way. And the Garrison Keillor bit was a nice touch, too.

Then, there’s Franklin and Dauphine, Directed by Geoff Douville. A quick documentary on a dispute over a recognizable bar sign, this segment blends a “you have to live here to know” story with pictures and a slightly satirical and mostly fond narration. If you ever see the name Melvin in concrete, just know there is something interesting behind it.

The crew that TimeCode:NOLA brought together proves that not only do we have the people to support our own productions, but the talent to make them shine. If things go well, Hollywood may one day invest in a studio backlot for the area, and conceive of projects WITH us, instead of just outsourcing them TO us.

Q) What do we want Hollywood South to mean?

A) A place where local filmmakers think up, execute and put out movies. A NEW Hollywood.

4/5 *s

Originally published at on April 13, 2013.

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