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Open call for Louisiana horror filmmakers: Submit a short for NOVAC’s ‘Swamp Screams’ night by September 29th

Sep 14, 2023 | Indie Film, Louisiana Filmmakers, Short Films

NOVAC Swamp Screams
Photo: NOVAC
The temperatures have cooled. I wrap my neck in a nice knitted boa, the color of fall foliage. My fall latte is steaming. It’s dusk in September, time for quaint festivals and–

Somebody knocks.

I swing open the door with my latte and a person dressed in a Scream costume wields a rubber butcher knife.

“Blahhhh!” they screech.

I stand, unamused. They slap the latte out of my hands.

“No time for quaint fall slumbers!” they yell. “Gotta get your short film into NOVAC for “Swamp Screams” by September 29th!”

They scamper out into the yard and hunch down behind the hydrangea bush. A Scream mask head pops up over and ducks back down.

“I still see you!”

I leave my coffee lying on the porch. He’s right. This is no time for apple cider and flea markets.

It’s scream season, and there are horror films to be made.

NOVAC, Louisiana’s dedicated training and education organization for Louisiana filmmakers, will hold its CRESCENT CINEMA night of “Swamp Screams” on Thursday, October 26th at Gallier Hall in New Orleans. Film New Orleans is the primary sponsor with additional funding provided by a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

NOVAC invites its Louisiana horror filmmakers to submit narrative and documentary short films by September 29th. Selected films will be shown at “Swamp Screams” and filmmakers will be included in a Q&A following the screenings. Filmmakers who attend the event in person will be provided a stipend.

Applications are accepted via Submittable, and for creators who have not used it before for creative submissions – it takes just a few minutes to set up your free account. The application asks about the artist’s relationship to Louisiana, their web presence, and all the relevant film information like logline, crew, run time, and synopsis. According to the application form, the application process will end on Saturday, September 30th at midnight (Central Time).

Maybe you’re an experienced filmmaker or perhaps this is the first creaking cellar door of filmmaking swinging open for you to venture into a basement of creative terror. Either way, the CRESCENT CINEMA SERIES by NOVAC is a great avenue for Louisiana filmmakers to show their work and interact with a live audience.

Filmmakers can access the “Swamp Screams” application here.

What else is going on at NOVAC?

NOVAC will have a space at Culture Collision 13 at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20th. Culture Collision 13 is an annual arts and culture trade show hosted by 89.9 WWNO (the University of New Orleans home station). Each year local organizations open up the fall cultural lineup by promoting the Louisiana Arts and celebrating the upcoming season. Attendees can meet members of their favorite organizations and purchase season tickets for mainstays of Louisiana culture like the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. A full list of the 2023 attending organizations can be viewed here.

And what else?

NOVAC is accepting applications for its 2023-2024 Community Filmmaker Cohort program until September 29th. Eight New Orleanians will spend nine months learning how to produce films through the lens of two separate film projects, each with four distinct roles: director, editor, cinematographer, and culture bearer/practitioner co-director. Participants will work together closely within their roles to learn to shape a narrative, guide the vision, shoot the films, then collaborate with the editor mentor to deliver a final cut. Explicit details can be viewed on the application form.

Knock, knock…

It’s the front door again. It’s past midnight. I’m alone.

“Alright, it’s late and this is just inconsiderate–”

I swing open the door.

The wind brushes gently through the bushes. A chime tinkles. And then I see the knife in the door, with the blade through a piece of paper with letters written in blood:


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