Lights, cameras, Ascension

Brandie Richardson @B_Lifestyles
Producers Cecile and Jules Monteyne.

     Louisiana, dubbed Hollywood South, has been a booming state in the film industry in the past several years. Everything from blockbuster hits to independent films are being filmed in the south, particularly due to Louisiana's diverse locations, weather and scenery. 

      Ascension Parish has played a part in many films for years due to its close proximity to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Some examples of these films are Bonnie and Clyde: Dead and Alive, Swamp People (season 2), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, All the King's Men and Jerome High's Scream Team, to name a few. 

      Ascension Parish Tourism Commission Director, and Film Commission Chairman, Tracy Browning said the Parish is an ideal location for filmmakers due to its uniqueness and historic cities such as Donaldsonville.  

     “We have several different venues of things that are interesting to the film industry,” Browning said. “For example, we have historic Donaldsonville, which has had many films. The historic buildings and architectural settings have invited filmmakers to come there. We also have plantations, which has warranted many films as well. The great landscape of Louisiana is here with environmental things as far as sugar cane, architectural buildings, oak trees and also the water way systems.”

     Browning added that the Film Commission, which was created last year, is adding more incentives to attract filmmakers to the Parish. 

     “The commission has been working together to formulate some marketing tools,” Browning continued. “The first is going to be a website created as an information hub for the film industry to get contact information, permit forms, photo galleries and so forth of things they may be interested in for a starting point for them to come. We are at the beginning phases.”

     Recently, a local brother and sister duo teamed up to shoot their first feature-length film. The movie, One Night Standoff, is about two people who go home together from a hurricane party and get stuck together for 36 hours when the storm hits, said film director and producer Jules Monteyne.  

     “It's sort of a one-night stand gone wrong,” Monteyne said. 

     Both Jules and his sister Cecile wrote and produced the independent film together, with Cecile also playing the lead actress. 

     Though the film was shot in New Orleans, two Gonzales businesses were featured in it, Bertrand's Pharmacy and the Caro Clinic, as the Monteyne's have close ties to the businesses. 

     With a full crew of 30, all from Louisiana, the movie began production on Dec. 2, and was finished in just 13 days. 

     The duo will make their way to Sundance Film Festival, the biggest independent film festival in the United States, later this month to promote themselves. Jules said they intend to submit their movie to numerous film festivals once it is completed.