It’s not all movie stars and glamour at the Cannes Film Festival . City-parish President Joey Durel made the pilgrimage to the heart of the cinematic world to pitch Lafayette as the mecca for the global entertainment industry. Heading up a delegation made up of Marcus Brown, director of the city’s new Entertainment Initiative and four UL students majoring in marketing, French Louisiana is well represented in France.
“We spent most of our time in meetings,” says Durel. He was shopping the foreign film market at the Marché du Film, the commercial center of the festival. Durel says Lafayette is well positioned to lure foreign film makers to Acadiana. He listed the state’s tax credits, the value of the dollar against a strong euro, and of course the area’s language, culture, and landscape as attractions to foreign companies.
Was it all work and no play? Durel says he was able to catch a screening of Jada Pinkett Smith’s directorial debut, The Human Contract, as well as a glimpse of Smith, her husband Will Smith, and the film’s star Paz Vega. “And we saw Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman,” says Durel. “It’s really just a convention with extra hype, but it is pretty glamorous.” Durel has headed to a shopping center convention in Los Vegas today, but Brown will remain until the close of the festival, May 25.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.