OTAC Digital Arts Program

our-logoThe Pontchartrain Film Festival is presented by the non-profit Olde Towne Arts Center. Since 2008, OTAC's Digital Arts Program has been teaching the use of digital media by helping to preserve family and community histories. Classes have included Digital Darkroom, Video Production and Editing, OTAC Media Arts Week, The Art of the Historic Image, Preserve Our History Days and more. In addition, OTAC operates a visual arts exhibition in the Slidell Little Theatre lobby called the OFFstage Gallery, to coincide with the theatrical season. The OTAC exhibit "Waterways to Railways" is on view at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum.

Exhibition history:

"Eyes on Olde Towne": a juried exhibit of photography and art that interpreted what was lost and what remained in the Olde Towne Historic Preservation District three years after Hurricane Katrina. Grover Mouton, Tulane University, juror. 2008

"Voices of Olde Towne": Using Olde Towne Slidell as its subject, OTAC's Media Arts Week engaged students in a week-long hands-on video, photography and editing class. The short film "Voices of Olde Towne", featuring three multi-generational businesses in the historic preservation district, was produced and shown in an outdoor tented theater at the city of Slidell’s Arts Evening. 2009.

Arts Evening: OTAC set up a tent for its first film festival held at the city of Slidell’s Arts Evening in 2009.

OTAC film tent

48-Hour Film”: OTAC Digital Arts students participated in the New Orleans 48 Hour Film Festival and script, shoot and in 48 hours produced “Murder in the Marigny” which won “Best Soundtrack.”

"Preserve Our History":  In collaboration with the Guardians of Slidell History, OTAC held workshops in photography and video and digital preservation as part of the St. Tammany Bicentennial. It included Preserve Our History Days that resulted in more than 20 hours of oral histories and more than 100 scanned, documented and restored images that are now part of the St. Tammany Parish Bicentennial archives.

"Waterways to Railways": The exhibit was created in collaboration with the Guardians of Slidell History and with assistance from the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs. It opened in the fall of 2010 at the GOSH Museum.

"Waterways to Railways II": The OTAC exhibit was redesigned and is currently on exhibit at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, 133 Mabel Drive, Madisonville. A 10-minute video history presentation accompanies the exhibit and allows visitors to hear the stories behind the images. To reach LPBMM, call 985-845-9200 or visit www.lpbmm.org

LPBMM Director Don Lynch said, “’Waterways to Railways’ puts a personal perspective on the history of the area and ties it to real people.”

OFFstage: Behind the scenes of life”: OTAC in partnership with the Slidell Little Theatre remembers one of SLT’s young thespians for the Briana Dekemel Memorial Juried Photography Exhibition 2012. Dale Newkirk, Southeastern Louisiana University, juror.

OTAC logoAvailable from OTAC:

Waterways to Railways: Stories from Slidell History" DVD, 58 min. 2011. While Slidell is known for its origins as a railroad town, “Waterways to Railways” captures the rich maritime histories of families that survived and thrived on the waterways of eastern St. Tammany and families that lived and worked the railways. $15.

Voices of Olde Towne,” DVD, 12 min. 2009. Stories of the history of Naulty’s Shoe Repair, Slidell Cleaners and Original Tire. $10; or $5 when purchased with “Waterways to Railways.”

To order, email info@OTACenter.com or call 985-326-6822. The documentary "Waterways to Railways" is available for purchase at the LPBMM Museum store, Mabel St. in Madisonville. A DVD combo of "Waterways to Railways" and "Voices of Olde Towne" is available in Slidell at Lowry Case Dunham & Vivien, 2001 First St. Cost is $15.

Watch “Murder on the Marigny” starring New Orleans vocalist Margie Perez and original music, “Somebody Wake Me Please” by Robert Stephens; with performances by OTAC President Tom Collins and members of the RedFish Blues Band at http://vimeo.com/6154090, courtesy of Bob Krieger and LaFILM.

OTAC Digital Arts Program Director is Sharon Edwards and instructors have included Scott Threlkeld, Bob Krieger, Kathleen DesHotel and Charlotte Collins. For information on upcoming classes and production opportunities, email sharon@OTACenter.com or call (504) 475-0257. For information on the Olde Towne Arts Center, email info@otacenter.com.


Film and video training opportunities

NOCCAThe New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts: NOCCA Media Arts Department offers technical and conceptual training in audio, film, and video recording and production. Young artists receive the tools to create artistically, exploring and developing their own voice, in a field that often emphasizes collaboration. Media Arts students master skills in audio recording, cinematography, directing, editing, lighting, motion graphics and script writing. INOCCA studentsn addition, all students in media arts gain an understanding of the history, theory and aesthetics of communication arts in order to appreciate the art form and to make informed decisions in their own work. Students currently in 8-11th grades are eligible to apply at 2800 Chartres St., New Orleans.

Auditioning students are expected to present a sample of their work (portfolio) in film, video, audio recording, motion graphics or animation, including a short statement that describes the work as well as a resume listing their experiences in media arts. Students who do not have portfolio material may submit a storyboard with text and visual instructions for a short film, video, or animation; a series of photographs that tell a story (at least 15); a detailed critique of the sound/music and visual elements of a feature film or television production that discusses the atmosphere, emotional content and overall effect of these elements; or a short screenplay (no more than 10 pages). All auditioning students must provide an essay describing their ambitions in film, video, audio recording, or digital media. Candidates should be prepared to answer a series of questions about their portfolio, expertise, favorite film, video and television production, music album, or animation.  For information, call  (504) 940-2787 or (800) 201-4836 or visit http://www.NOCCA.com.



The Film Arts Program at UNO: The Film Program at the University of New Orleans is part of the Department of Film, Theatre, and Communication Arts. Students have the opportunity to explore the full range of the motion picture arts, from screenwriting and computerize pre-production, to film production using the latest technology to high-tech digital postproduction and final 4K distribution.

It has one of the most technologically advanced film programs in the country, with its own sound stage, grip truck, and state-of-the-art, high-def, digital post-production editing and audio suites. In addition to making films, UNO film students have the opportunity to intern on professional "large-budget" films like Quinton Tarantino's 'Django Unchained' and Spike Lee's 'Oldboy'. The department’s goal is to train the complete, independent filmmaker, in order to give students the best chance of success in the highly technical and competitive profession of filmmaking. For information, visit  http://www.unofilm.com/.


NOVACNew Orleans Video Access Channel: NOVAC is the longest continuously running media-arts 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the Southeastern US. It has a mission to cultivate a sustainable film community by providing access to resources, education and locally generated content. NOVAC accomplishes this mission through education, career development, community outreach, independent productions, and special events.

NOVAC partners with many local and national organizations and artists to bring quality media training and special events to the community at affordable prices. Look for NOVAC’s Pop-Up Classes, short, intensive workshops designed to provide training in a short period of time and at an affordable  price you can afford. Members have low-cost access to production equipment and editing software and facilities through the Equipment Rental program. For information, visit http://novacvideo.org/