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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Orange County represented in Boomtown Film Festival this weekend

 

Last updated 5/9/2023 at 7:25pm

Penny LeLeux of Orangefield and John Frederick Jr. of Mauriceville posed at the Mystic (Connecticut) Film Festival where their film "Shhh" won awards. LeLeux is director of the Boomtown Film Festival in Beaumont this weekend and Frederick will lead one of the panels.

Port Arthur and Beaumont are state certified as "film friendly" by Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Film Commission, but Orange County is being represented big in the annual Boomtown Film Festival in Beaumont this weekend.

Penny LeLeux of Orangefield is the festival's director this year, plus actor Woody Almaguer, a Bridge City graduate, and John Frederick Jr. of Mauriceville will be participating in panel discussions.

Besides films and filmmakers, the festival includes a variety of musical performers. One of the featured musicians is singer Casme' of New Orleans from the 19th season of The Voice. She will be at the Meet and Greet Friday evening at the Jazz and Jokes club.

LeLeux is an independent filmmaker who has been writing, directing, and starring in short films. Her "Shhh" from 2019 is a short film that has won awards across the country and was nominated as a finalist at the famous Cannes Film Festival in France. The film was shot around Orange, including at the Orange Public Library.

Since then, she has gone on to write more screenplays that have won awards or been named as finalists at other festivals.

Almaguer is a former actor at Orange Community Players and was in "Shhh." He has since moved to Austin to work on a film career. He will lead a panel disussion on shooting realistic fight scenes.

Frederick is a retired Navy veteran and has acted in the Tom Hanks ffilm "Greyhound," alongu with an episode of "NCIS: New Orleans." In addition, he has been in more than 100 short episodes of Vid Chronicles on YouTube, which has more than 1.5 million subscribers.

Frederick will be with the panel discussion "So You Want To Be an Influencer."

More than 60 short and 13 full-length feature films will be shown at venues across Beaumont including the Jefferson Theater, Art Museum of Southeast Texas, and the Texas Energy Museum, in downtown Beaumont, plus the Dishman Art Gallery at Lamar University.

Other panelists will include veteran prop masters Scott A. Reeder and Lynda Reiss. Their credits include working for "Stranger Things," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Machete," and "Pitch Perfect." Reeder is a graduate of Port Neches-Groves High, bringing another touch of Southeast Texas professionalism to the event.

The film festival also features a number of musical acts, and this year will include New Orleans singer Casme' from the TV show "The Voice."

The long-running festival draws international filmmakers from countries like Canada, Italy, France, Spain, Cuba, Argentina, and Australia.

LeLeux said the festival had to be canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid pandemic, and had a limited schedule last year. But this year, it is back in full swing.

Tickets for events and full schedules are available through the website boomtownfestival.com. Events are open to the public, including the Filmmakers Meet and Greet from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Jazz and Jokes Club, 695 Orleans in downtown Beaumont. The event will have music, a cash bar, and light refreshments.

The Jefferson Theater Friday night will show the first two movies of independent filmmaker Kevin Smith.

Other panel discussions throughout Saturday will include "Meet the Filmmakers," "Selling Your Script," and "Women in Film."

 

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