Louisiana Film Prize The Candy Lady

“The Candy Lady,” directed by Monique Derouselle, is the latest winner of the Louisiana Film Prize, a $25,000 award given to the best short film made in Louisiana. The film tells the story of Debra, a neighborhood candy lady — played by Cheryl Shelton — whose quiet day goes awry when she awakens a magical typewriter that brings her short stories to life.

The Prize Fest — one of our 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2023 — is a celebration of film, food, music, fashion and comedy held annually in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Film Prize, now in its 12th year, was the final awards ceremony of Prize Fest, a two-week festival celebrating the work of independent filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians, chefs and comedians in the state.

“This was a Prize Fest for the history books,” said Gregory Kallenberg, executive director and founder of the Louisiana Film Prize and Prize Foundation. “After record crowds in attendance, and the highest level of talent we’ve ever seen, to finish with the crowning of our first female African-American director was the cherry on top of a very deliciously amazing Prize sundae.” 

About ‘The Candy Lady’ and the Louisiana Film Prize

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

Additionally, Shelton won Best Performance for her role as Debra in “The Candy Lady.”

The other short films in the Top 5 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 $1,000 reimbursable grant to fund their fees and travel to screen their short films at other festivals.  

The Film Prize Foundation also announced the recipients for its Founder’s Circle Grants. The 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 2023 recipients were Derouselle, Brown, Evans, the McSharmas, Fernandez-Ruiz, Clayton Henderson (“Clownfish”) and Gian Smith (“The Capitalist”).

You can learn more about the Louisiana Film Prize and Prize Fest or watch the Louisiana Film Prize awards ceremony at www.prizefest.com.

Main image: “The Candy Lady” director Monique Derouselle holds the award for the Louisiana Film Prize.