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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Beaumont film-music fest has lots of Orange


Last updated 2/20/2024 at 8:10pm

Writer/Director Seth Sonnier of Vidor (L) with director of photography Travis Myers of Orange (C) and Kenneth Dupuis (R), gaffer on the set of "5:01." The local film will make its festival premiere Saturday at the Jefferson Theater in Beaumont. Photo provided by production.

The Boomtown Film and Music Festival Friday and Saturday, February 23-24, in Beaumont may be on the west banks of the Neches River, but it has a strong showing from Orange County.

The festival's director Penny LeLeux, a local film maker, is from Orangefield. Special guest Dolores Cantu is a West Orange High graduate and will talk about her 50-year career in Hollywood as an actress and agent. She will also appear at a showing of "Saturday Night Fever" to talk about her role in the film. That break-out production for John Travolta helped Cantu gain the reputation as the only woman to beat up the star in a movie. She will speak at a forum on Saturday.

John Frederick of Mauriceville is in one of the featured films showing this year, plus a short movie by a Lamar University student was shot in Vidor. Actors like Frederick, who is retired from the U.S. Navy, and has appeared in a Tom Hanks movie, are getting more roles in independent productions.

Orange County is producing several filmmakers, but does not have a certification from the Texas Film Commission to make it film-friendly and attract more movie making. Port Arthur, Beaumont, and Jasper are now on the statewide film commission list to promote movie-making.

This week, "The Example," a 24-minute 2016 film set during the 1943 Beaumont race riot, will be show at Rice University. Part of the movie was shot in the Old Orange Historic District and one of the co-stars is from Orange. The film continues to have showings across the country.

The Boomtown Festival is drawing people in the independent film and music businesses to Southeast Texas to display their talents and give advice.

The short film "11:34" was written, directed, and edited by Lamar University student Ashley Ramirez. It was shot this summer in the home of Jason and Carrie LeLeux, and in a classroom at Lamar University.

It's a thriller about a young teenager who once again is plagued with a reoccurring nightmare. Sometimes, it's more than just a bad dream. Penny LeLeux was the producer, and Trini Gonzalez, an L-CM graduate, is one of the main characters in the film. Ava Bergeron, the niece of Adam Conrad, who is a former drama teacher and works at the Lutcher Theater, plays the main character's little sister.

Trini Gonzalez will be in a couple of other films screening at the festival. He's in the background of "5:01," the brainchild of Seth Sonnier of Vidor. The film was shot in Fred and Beaumont. Jade Hollier of Orange, a long time member of Orange Community Players, has a part in the opening scenes of the film. Other Orange County people on the crew include Penny LeLeux, Dakota Parker and Orange cinematographer Travis Myers.

Myers was also the director of photography on "Hoot," which was shot in Vidor and stars Little Cypress native, Reese Ravencraft. "Hoot" was Ravencraft's debut film in 2019. It has been "in the can" and is now being shown.

Ava Bergeron (L) and Trini Gonzales (R) on set of the Lamar summer student film project shot in Vidor titled "11:34". Gonzales is an Orange native and LCM graduate currently living in Beaumont. Bergeron is the niece of Bridge City's Adam Conrad. The film will make its festival debut Saturday during the Boomtown Film and Music Festival in Beaumont. Photo still from film.

In addition, Ravencraft is in "Bad Guacamole" which was shot around Houston. It will screen Saturday in the Texas Proud Block.

Friday at the Texas Energy Museum, "The First Step" will screen. John Frederick of Mauriceville plays the pastor in the movie with a theme of religious faith. The film was shot in Jefferson County.

Not only is Frederick an actor, he is also a producer on the film and worked to get the film made, including bringing on Myers as the director of photography. Studio 220 Film is currently in the fundraising phase of their next project, "Chasing Faith" which will star Ravencraft. Frederick will also be part of that production in both cast and crew.

Music acts are Josh Palermo, Ariel Bush, Sick Ride and Running on Credit, Friday night at the Logon Cafe and Pub. The Golden Triangle Big Band will close out the festival with a concert at the Jefferson Saturday night.

Tickets for the complete festival or individual events are available online through Individual tickets to see "Saturday Night Fever" are available at the Jefferson Theatre website.


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