Prize Fest 2023 announces Weekend 2 winners

Prize Fest, a celebration of Film, Food, Music, Fashion and Comedy, announced its winners from Weekend 2 (Film, Food & Comedy) today at a live-broadcasted awards show watched throughout the country and the world. The festival, now in its twelfth year, showcased the work of independent filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians, chefs and comedians during a festival spanning two weekends across multiple venues in downtown Shreveport, LA.

“This year’s crowd at Prize Fest blew our minds and far exceeded expectations,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Executive Director and Founder of the Louisiana Film Prize and Prize Foundation. “We are so appreciative and applaud all the amazing filmmakers, chefs and comedians who made weekend two of Prize Fest the biggest and best we’ve ever had.”

Louisiana Film Prize

The 2023 Louisiana Film Prize grand prize winner and recipient of the $25,000 grand prize (the world’s largest cash prize for a narrative short film) is “The Candy Lady,” directed by Monique Derouselle. Derouselle is the first female African American winner of Film Prize. The film tells the story of Debra, a neighborhood candy lady whose quiet day goes awry when she, unbeknownst to her, awakens a magical typewriter bringing all of her short stories to life.

The winning film was chosen from the Top 19 short film finalists, all of which were filmed in the state of Louisiana, and determined by a unique 50/50 combination of votes from online and in-person attendees and a panel of industry judges from across the country.

The other short films that joined “The Candy Lady” in the Top 5 this year included “Off Sides” (Kaitlyn Brown), “Caught on Tape” (Chris Evans), “Pink Suit Black Suit” (Jacob & Jaya McSharma) and “Dead Flesh” (Gianfranco Fernandez-Ruiz). All Top 5 filmmakers receive a $1000 reimbursable grant to fund fees and travel to screen their short film at other festivals.

Best Performance was awarded to Cheryl Shelton for her role as Debra in “The Candy Lady.”

The Film Prize Foundation also announced the recipients for its Founder’s Circle Grants. Founder’s Circle is a $3,000 reimbursable filmmaking grant that allows filmmakers to come back and make a film for Louisiana Film Prize 2024. The recipients of this award for 2023 were Monique Derouselle (“The Candy Lady”), Gian Smith (“The Capitalist”), Chris Evans (“Caught on Tape”), Clayton Henderson (“Clownfish”), Gianfranco Fernandez-Ruiz (“Dead Flesh”), Kaitlyn Brown (“Off Sides”) and Jacob & Jaya McSharma (“Pink Suit Black Suit”).

Food Prize

Food Prize 2023 featured its premier Come and Get It event. Six local Golden Fork chef finalists were paired up with the remaining class of 2023 Golden Fork chefs to create incredible tastings, served to attendees and judges who voted for their favorites. Three local mixologists also poured unique handcrafted cocktails to win over attendee votes.

The Food Prize Mentor-Judges, a group of nationally recognized celebrity chefs and food writers from across the country crowned this year’s grand prize Golden Fork Champion team: local chef Chef Dylan Teekell (Ghost Ramen) and sous chef Chef Brandon Sooter, with Teekell walking away with $5000, bragging rights, and the coveted Golden Fork Trophy. Attendees of Come and Get It voted on their favorite dish, crowning local chef Ryan Gillespie (BPSTIL) and sous chef Val Benn (The Pearl) the People’s Choice winners. The attendees also chose the Golden Shaker champion, voting local mixologist, Nick Baden (Cypress by the Revenir), the winner.

Comedy Prize

In its third year, the Comedy Prize hosted seven nationally renowned, touring comedians who each performed 10 minute sets in front of a live sold out audience and industry heavyweights like Charlie Sotelo (SXSW Comedy), Micheal Cox (Comedy booker for the Tonight Show), JP Buck (Conan O’Brien) and Allison Cohn (Just for Laughs Festival). The performers included Meredith Casey, Bo Johnson, Kalea McNeill, Chris Grace, Wellington Ojukwu,Orion Levine, and Logan Guntzelman.

Los Angeles-based comedian Orion Levine was crowned Comedy Prize’s grand champion for 2023.

Music Prize

Music Prize 2023, the GRAMMY-affiliated competition for rising musicians, saw 12 musical acts from across the country compete for the $10,000 grand prize. The grand prize winner, LVVRS out of Lafayette, Louisiana, was chosen by a jury of nationally recognized music industry professionals. The competition also featured a People’s Choice Award, won by Shreveport-based band, Dexter Duran and the Port CIty Sound.

This year’s Music Prize also saw the return of MPCon (Music Prize Conference), created to offer artistic and career building mentorship to up and coming musicians.

Fashion Prize

Now in its fifth year, Fashion Prize hosted a live runway presentation of 5 designers’ collections at the Phoenix. Frank Robertson of H.I.M. Studios (New Orleans, LA) was named the judges’ grand prize winner. The event also featured capsule collections from previous winners.

To learn more about the Louisiana Film Prize and Prize Fest or to watch the Louisiana Film Prize awards ceremony, please visit

Picture of Paul Savage, Jr.

Paul Savage, Jr.

Paul Savage, Jr. is a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana and is the owner, founder, & designer of Savage Creative Solutions. Savage Creative Solutions is a full-service, integrated marketing agency headquartered in Shreveport, LA with a growing national footprint across multiple industries. Savage is a local marketing and communication professional, entrepreneur, and accomplished author. His debut memoir, "Diary of A Testicular Cancer Survivor," has been featured on Amazon's best-seller list.

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