3one8 Films: Locals Rally to Make Shreveport the 'Indie Film Capital of the World'

Shreveport is a place that in many ways is supported economically and culturally by everyday people bold enough to pursue their dreams. Nearly two decades after large scale film production left our city a collective of locals led by Rich Hansil is set to launch 3one8 Films, an indie film production company anticipated to headquarter in Shreveport making it the second studio to announce in recent months. 

Beyond, an online extension of The Creative Magazine, met with Hansil to discuss these developments. 

Hansil, a multi-hyphenate film professional with years of experience began his journey as a production assistant for the film Armageddon but over time he’s done everything from lighting to cinematography, even spending time cutting trailers for Disney’s Toy Story. The connection to Shreveport for Rich is most notable in his marriage to his wife Rachael who he works with at the Robinson Film Center and from work on many Louisiana Film Prize short films

Rich Hansil of 3one8 Films

It was through the Film Prize that he met many of the filmmakers who’ve been enlisted to help launch 3one8 Films, “I would volunteer for any Film Prize shoot for free or very little. Any kid who was making a short I’d shoot it, edit it, get coffee. I just wanted to meet the local creatives.” Hansil continued, “As I did that I found myself gravitating towards certain folk’s work and there’s a list of people I just felt were ready to make feature films.”

Hansil would discover through his relationship with these filmmakers that many of them already had multiple feature scripts, the main obstacle? Money. But provided his assurance that the scripts read were marketable the collaboration began. 

So, what are the initial projects and who are the filmmakers hand selected by Hansil for this new venture? 

According to Hansil the method for selection of the launch projects was strategic and based on ROI (return on investment) with the genres they’re endeavoring to take on being horror and coming of age dramas. “When you look around there are certain genres that are easier when you look at the ROI, horror is one you can do without a big name attached like Brad Pitt, Matt Damon or Margot Robbie. But it’s not what it used to be, there’s no guarantee that a name will sell a movie; the other genre being coming of age dramas.”

The Filmmakers

01 / 04

Blayne Weaver

The first film released will be directed by Blayne Weaver, a Bossier native who’s done work for Netflix, MTV and has written everything from romantic comedies to thrillers. Based on a Louisiana legend, this film follows a group of adults on a reunion trip as they confront the monsters within themselves and a real-life monster threatening their good time.

On Blayne’s project Rich commented “Blayne is a super safe bet, his movies do well and he’s incredibly deeply experienced. I really want a Blayne film attached to this studio. The way he interacts with actors and crew is something I want the rest of our directors who’ve not done features to sit and watch him work to see how to run a feature set from someone deeply experienced.”

The remaining directed projects are in no particular order. 

Josh Munds

Next is Josh Munds, an actor, writer and director with many notable shorts behind his name like Clownfish, Death Day and Sammy Dees: Car Salesman Extraordinaire. Rich describes him as sort of a mad genius which is something anyone who's seen his shorts can attest to. His film will be a social commentary on the ethics of our obsession, and maybe morbidly so, with true crime while taking a humorous jab at the form of entertainment. Rich explains, “it’s a who-done-it with a lot of questions about where we are as a society.” It makes complete sense that Munds would be the mind behind a project like this, Rich continues,”he wrote a musical about a stalker two years ago that did very well at Film Prize and other festivals.”

Camille Gladney

Then there’s Camille Galdney, an actress and writer with a passion for crafting stories of triumph that highlight the underdog. Recently she wrote the films Erzulie and Gloria both of which can be enjoyed on streaming services. “Camille does fantastic work, she wrote a killer mermaid feature (Erzulie) which is a weird twist on the horror genre” said Hansil but their upcoming project, self titled, Camille is what viewers should be most looking forward to. “It’s a coming of age drama about a young lady raised in the South, following all the rules and doing all the things that the culture demands of you and that’s not really satisfying for her,” describes Hansil. 

The film is set to take viewers on a journey of self exploration as the main character deals with life post divorce where she redefines her identity sexually and more. Hansil continues “It’s like 50 Shades of Grey for suburban housewives which isn’t doing it justice by any stretch but it’s a really interesting tale and I think it’ll resonate with a lot of people, especially in foreign markets like Japan and Germany where there’s a fascination with the American South.”

Jeremy Enis

And finally, we round out the team with cinematographer and editor, Jeremy Enis known for work on 528 hz, The Way Out is Through and The Cut. His IMDB describes his filmmaking interests as “varied, not following a pattern, other than the illumination of the power of the human will and intellect - stories contrasting the fragility and resiliency of humanity against a seemingly infinite darkness.” Hansil describes him as “one crazy mofo.”

Why? “He wrote a straight horror that is very twisted and covers a lot of themes and is what I lovingly describe as a drive-in movie. He likes a classic B horror movie but this is just that with an A script,” Hansil details further, “it’s a model that works. You take a B movie and attach an A director, which I think Enis certainly is, and you end up with something that transcends it.” Other movie directors who’ve successfully made a living off of this model of filmmaking are Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez according to Hansil. “It’s gonna be weird, it’s gonna play a lot of midnight movie festivals and I’m hoping it shows that he’s the next Ti West.”

The Challenges Ahead

The goal is for people who come here to make movies and hire all of us.

Rich Hansil

Now with the team in place let’s get grounded. A studio like this can fly or falter easily and it’ll take a lot of careful planning to ensure success. I asked Rich to speak to the opportunities and challenges of launching a venture like 3one8 Films. 

“There are more than a few challenges, anyone who has ever worked on a film set knows it’s always a miracle when it comes together but I have a bit of a cheat code having done it for so long and working with very little budget all the way up to five million dollars.” Rich further dissects the forthcoming challenges by addressing the need for more trained professionals, “we have a good crew base to get us about one movie deep but we need to be deeper than that.” With enough professionals to fully staff and produce one feature length film they’re set for a solid launch but successful studios often are doing multiple projects a year, “everybody that we work with needs to be training their next person. If you’re a hair and makeup professional like Lisa O’Neal you need to train the next Lisa or the next three Lisas to work under you. If you’re Alex Jeffery or Rob Senska, who are the other DPs you’re training who can take jobs while you’re busy; the goal is for people who come here to make movies and hire all of us.”

We have crew members so we’re set, right? Right? Not so much. There are still a few challenges ahead but none that could qualify as insurmountable, according to Hansil we’ll next need to address our lack of rental houses. “Most independent films do not own gear. You need what are called rental houses and there are whole infrastructures for them in L.A and  New York but ours all moved to New Olreans or Dallas. At rental houses you get all your lights, stands, light blockers, cameras and other equipment that are used to build a movie out.” 

Not having a rental house makes it especially difficult for people coming from out of town to film in this area with the closest rental houses being in Dallas or New Orleans, guess where we’re sending those dollars? “Other options are to use online dealers or for those crews to bring equipment with them,” said Hansil but there's an opportunity that comes with trying to resolve this obstacle. “Part of 3one8’s structure is that we’ll own our gear. Instead of renting from an outside entity you’ll be able to rent from us and when other shows come in like ones 50 Cent may bring, they’ll rent from us as well.” 

This provides an incredible opportunity for a consistent and sustainable revenue stream and easier for creatives in town to get access to the necessary equipment they need but it’s also an added benefit and draw to our city for out of market productions, “if you’re a union show and have to drive to New Orleans that’s an investment of two days to secure equipment. You’ll drive six hours, load the truck and then you have to sleep under Union rules. You’re not allowed to drive another six and make it a fourteen hour day adding extra expenses for a production. Alternatively you go to Dallas but you’re missing out on state tax incentives because you’re renting from out of state.” explains Hansil. There’s also the added benefit to educate local creatives in a more in-depth manner with a more comprehensive stockpile of film equipment. 

Rich and Rachel Hansil currently co-pilot the Teen Film Program at The Robinson Film Center but much of the equipment used to train comes from their own reserves and as needed they borrow from other local filmmakers. Lack of enough equipment makes it difficult to fully prepare creatives for real-world experiences but 3one8 Films owning a reserve of their own sets up an opportunity for a revenue stream, access to industry standard technology and further fortifies an already active training pipeline for professionals.

The final obstacle to overcome is funding. Even for larger production companies and big name directors this is a significant challenge, Hansil shares “Francis Ford Coppola (known for directing The Godfather and Apocalypse Now) just recently financed his own film by selling a winery, that’s how difficult it is.” The challenge of securing funding only further mounts for lesser known, indie filmmakers without award-winning films behind their names.

A Studio For Shreveport, By Shreveport

The whole goal is to make movies we can sell for the first three years and in year four we can get a little more artsy and by year five we want to be making Oscar worthy movies that people can get behind on our name alone.

Rich Hansil

However, there's a light at the end of the tunnel for indie film thanks to Louisiana’s great tax incentives. Looking to take advantage, Hansil explains further why these incentives are godsend. “In Louisiana, our tax incentives are incredible, better than Georgia’s with some rule variations that make it easier like a lower floor making it easier to do lower budget projects.” Minimum expenses for a film annually in Georgia must total to $500K while in Louisiana it’s much lower at $300K and even cheaper at $50K if the production is made entirely within Louisiana, only uses resources from in-state businesses and the screenplay is written by a native. 

So, what are the plans for money returned through tax incentives? Hansil details further, “money being the hardest thing to get, most folks will use tax incentives to pay investors back but  forget about marketing. We’d reserve the 40% return for marketing so we’re not relying on distributors.” Typically with distributors you can expect some form of promotions for a project but the issue is you can never be certain how thoroughly that’ll be done which leaves the likelihood of making dividends to chance. Hansil isn’t interested in leaving the studio's film to die “anything short of a major distributor we’ll keep our money in reserve to do our own marketing, ad buys and get out to the American Film Market and do all that’s necessary to make sure these films are seen. That’s our big ace in the hole. Rather than paying back investors immediately, we believe this will lead to much better returns for investors down the line.” 

So, how can the community support 3one8 Films? Can you invest and be a part of something potentially big? Of course, we asked. Two major things occurred within the last few years that have made it easier for everyday people to become investors. The latest being a 2020 amendment from the SEC broadening who can invest in an IPO, before you needed to be an accredited investor with a net worth over $1M without the inclusion of your home; the other was the JOBS Act (est. 2016, amended 2022) which allows small businesses across the nation to raise as much as $2.5M annually from everyday citizens. 

Excitedly, Rich affirms “Hopefully this will allow the average Shreveporter to invest and with the recent changes to the upper limit of what we can raise we’re shooting for $2.5M which gets us through three years of operation.” With this money in hand 3one8 Films would be able to make its first four films, develop and make the next four and provide them with money to develop in their third year. Soberly Hansil continues, “three years is optimistic, we can certainly work with less but right now anyone in town can invest in our company and we’re really hoping the community gets behind us because this is your chance to own a piece of something.” And with more support from the local community that ensures a built in audience for the films because now it’s a movie that not just the studio has created but the community has enabled to exist. Hansil lays out the plan “we hope to become the next A24 or Neon. The whole goal is to make movies we can sell for the first three years and in year four we can get a little more artsy and by year five we want to be making Oscar worthy movies that people can get behind on our name alone.”

Becoming The Indie Film Capital Of The World

Where does all the confidence in this plan come from? The less volatile nature of the film industry, Hansil confidently explains “films are not boom or bust, they’re pretty much recession proof because people watch films no matter what’s happening in the world. Theaters may change but consumption of movies with the advent of streaming does not.”

By now you might be asking, ‘why Shreveport?’ If you’ve read us before you know we love all things local and 3one8 Films almost dares us all not to support them. In a separate investor presentation from this article they assert that Shreveport has potential to be “Indie Film Capital of the World.” A big moniker but one perhaps worth striving for, Hansil asserts “we can look like anywhere. From our amazing modern architecture to shotgun houses, farms, swamps and even a downtown that’s stood in for New York and L.A. to the incredibly film friendly nature of our local government and community. People are happy to have film here.” So, we can stand up against a lot of places but who exactly is our target demographic for film? Hansil asserts that anything with a budget between $5M - $10M should be coming to Shreveport.

But what about those of us looking for more creative work, how can you get involved with 3one8 Films and when is the first production set to get rolling? Hansil details that “it depends on the funding, right now I have all the screenplays optioned for the next three months so hopefully before then. As far as jobs we can’t speak too much to that without funding which also impacts the date we’ll begin, in an ideal world sometime in May but a lot would have to fall into place.”

In the meantime, you can learn all the skills you’ll need to be ready to work with 3one8 Films and other productions by attending workforce development training courses hosted by The Robinson Film Center. Typically, the education department will hold Production Assistant training about six weeks before films start shooting in Shreveport so keep an eye on the social media for The Robinson Film Center! Other opportunities for training in collaboration with IATSE are also on the way. 

Don’t see a class you’re interested in? Call The Robinson at (318) 459-4122 or send an email to Rich or Rachel Hansil at rhansil@robinsonfilmcenter.org.

Follow 3one8 Films can be followed at @3one8Films on all social media and of course you can invest in them now at https://wefunder.com/3one8films/buzz.