Louisiana Film Prize of $50K Goes to John F. Beach for "They Grow Up So Fast"

“They Grow Up So Fast,” a frantic, airtight comedy short directed by and starring John F. Beach, received the $50,000 cash prize at the Lousiana Film Prize, a stellar one-of-a-kind event recognizing great short films shot in Louisiana.

The festival, now in its 11th year and led by hilariously charismatic founder and executive director Gregory Kallenberg, shines a light on the close-knit Shreveport film scene, as well as filmmaking in surrounding Caddo Parish and across Louisiana. Fueled by a hardworking team of professionals and volunteers, it is also on MovieMaker‘s 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee. You can learn more about the festival here.

The other short films that joined “They Grown Up So Fast” in the Top 5 this year were: “Bamber Bridge” (by last year’s Film Prize winner, Mark Bonner), “Betty Lou Had A Son” (David Long), “Credit” (Patrick & Susan Kirton) and “Unicorn Poop” (Lorna Street Dopson). 

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 return to make a film for Louisiana Film Prize 2023. The recipients for 2023 were Josh Munds (“Peeping Todd”), Jaya & Jacob McSharma (“Please Scream Inside Your Heart”), Monique Morton Derouselle (“Rising Dawn”), Carlos Jiminez (“Strangers in Common”), John F. Beach (“They Grow Up So Fast”), and Lorna Street Dopson (“Unicorn Poop”). 

In his acceptance speech Sunday, Beach, who lives in Los Angeles, talked gratefully about how his sister persuaded him to come home to Shreveport to compete for the prize. Beach said the film, in which a man stumbles unprepared into fatherhood, is inspired by his own feelings about his friends having kids. He also won the best performance award. 

“While Prize Fest was the most epic it’s ever been, today’s Film Prize ending took our festival to a new level,” Gregory Kallenberg, Executive Director and Founder of the Louisiana Film Prize and Prize Foundation. “We are proud to award the cast and crew of ‘They Grow Up So Fast” the world’s richest prize for a short film, and we are so proud of all the deserving winners from Prize Fest 2022!” 

The two weekends dedicated to the Film Prize also celebrate food, music and comedy. The winner was determined by a unique 50/50 combination of votes from online and in-person attendees and a panel of industry judges, including me.