St. Amant native brings movie reviews to Ascension

Brandie Richardson

A group of local film enthusiasts have chosen Ascension Parish as home base for their movie critic web series MovieShots.

Spearheaded by St. Amant native and Gonzales resident Kevin McQuarn, MovieShots started as a way to bring movie critiques to Ascension and surrounding areas.

"It's actually something that is kind of missing in our area," McQuarn said. "We thought there was a need for it."

Prior to the mid-summer flood, the reviews were filmed at the Robin Hood Bar, located in Sorrento. They were moved to a studio at McQuarn's house after the bar received a significant amount of flood damage. Now the group will begin filming on location at various businesses and restaurants in the surrounding areas, McQuarn said.

Some of the most recent high profile interviews the group has conducted have been with Tom Cruise, Vince Vaughn, Mel Gibson, and Cobie Smulders during Red Carpet events in New Orleans.

"We have a lot of really cool interviews. It's been a fun year."

There are some big things in the works for MovieShots, he added. The group has partnered with Baton Rouge news station WAFB to provide reviews and content for their entertainment site, the Louisiana weekend, along with the station's local, Amazon, and Apple TV apps.

MovieShots is made up of a dynamic group of individuals who dedicate their time to providing entertainment for Ascension. McQuarn, who prefers being behind the camera,was the entertainment editor and chief videographer for The Advocateand currently owns the Baton Rouge-based production company FantomLight Productions.

The reviewers are: Senior critic of the group, John Wirt, who has more than 26 years of reviewing experience at theDaytona Beach News JournalandThe Advocate; Christin Rankins, who is an aspiring actress with two major film credits to her name such as "Barbershop: The Next Cut;" and newcomer Vanessa Rivas, who began her transition into movie reviews in November.

As of right now, there is not one film studio in Ascension Parish. McQuarn said he wants to change that in the future, as his long-term goal is to either find a space for a studio or build a studio. He hopes to eventually film television commercials, programs, and promotions here.

"I want to bring it here. This is where I live, my kids go to school here.Ascension has always been home for me. If there's a way to bring what I love back home, I think that would be awesome!"

By the end of 2018 he anticipates to have a studio in Ascension for MovieShots to film and shoot.Reviews can be seen online at moviesatthebar.com, though beginning March 4 they will be on WBXH at 11 a.m. every Saturday.