3.8.18 Louis Herthum and viewing party

Guests at the trailer viewing party for the Louisiana International Film Festival gather around to begin watching trailers on Thursday, March 8, 2018 in Baton Rouge.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing nothing ever happens in Baton Rouge. However, students will soon have the chance to experience a Sundance-esque film festival and attend glamorous accompanying parties.

Cinemark Perkins Rowe will host the sixth annual Louisiana International Film Festival from April 19 to 22. Over 50 films will premiere at the festival, and the movies scheduled will be released online on March 19.

Discounted $25 passes are currently available for students. The individual ticketing box office opens March 15 on www.lifilmfest.org, and the theater box office opens April 12.

“At the heart of Louisiana International Film Festival is a passion for connecting the community to the film industry,” said project manager Elliott Estelle. “We want to bring the art of cinema to Baton Rouge in a way that hasn’t really been done before, and more importantly, we want to connect the aspirational residents of Louisiana to those jobs they are aspiring to in the film industry.”

A free mentorship program will be open to the public throughout the festival. Classes, panels and workshops taught by industry professionals will be held for those looking to learn about the technicalities of film production, writing and editing.

“We have a lot of really talented people who maybe grew up thinking they would never ever get close to being in this industry because of where we’re located, and now it’s here and we’re ready,” said volunteer coordinator Tricia Prewitt. “We just need that little extra push, that little extra bit of education to inspire the ones who always wanted to do it but didn’t know they could.”

Attendees will also have the chance to meet filmmakers, attend gala parties and listen to live music. Organizers Prewitt and Estelle stressed the importance of the opportunity to meet others interested in performing arts.

“It’s a lonely world when you’re an artist, and you’re all by yourself. So this is a chance for other artists to come out and find our tribe,” Prewitt said. “We can find one another.”

Organizers said the event largely relies on volunteers to run. Volunteers receive perks like free passes to movies and “surprises,” Prewitt said. There will also be a volunteer “community” this year, which means before the festival, volunteers will be offered bonding opportunities in spirit of the networking aspect of the festival.

“Being a volunteer, you are right up in there,” Prewitt said. “You’re the one that’s checking in the VIPs that are coming in from all over the world. You’re the one holding the door open for that celebrity that you’ve always wanted to meet.”

Prewitt and Estelle said the event presents good opportunities for University students, regardless of why they decide to attend.

“No matter how you want to get involved, whether it is through sponsoring a film, or volunteering to work with us, or just attending and seeing all the movies and going to all the parties, we encourage you to get involved with us,” Estelle said. “You won’t regret it.”