Baton Rouge teen stars in film inspired by her grandfather, to compete in film festival

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"Losing your hero puts a hole in your heart, a hole that can never be filled."

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — One local teen is competing in a statewide film festival just as the performing arts recover from the pandemic.

Baton Rouge 14-year-old Hadley Rinaudo was selected to compete in the Louisiana Film Prize. This came after working with a local film studio to produce her story called the Bamboo House.

“Losing your hero puts a hole in your heart, a hole that can never be filled,” said Rinaudo.

Rinaudo took the sorrow from her grandfather’s passing and made it into something special.

“They can really see, like, the relationship that me and my cousins had with my grandfather and originally I made this film for my family and that turned out to this, you know? This is a very personal film, and I’m excited for everybody to see it because so many people can connect,” she explained.

This film was based on a monologue she wrote in dedication to her grandfather.

“When we think of my grandfather, we think of bamboo house. We basically did that with all my cousins when we were younger. I don’t even know how it started, but he was like, ‘we’re not on electronics anymore, we’re going outside.’ And he started my love for just being outside because they have this huge yard and the bamboo and everything. And so when I’m out there, like, you can feel he’s there,” said Rinaudo.

Courtesy: The Rinaudos. Hadley Rinaudo’s late grandfather

Local filmmakers Aaron and Jency Hogan joined her and brought the film to life. Hadley Rinaudo and Sara Summers collaborated to write a script.

“I thought, wow, what a great idea to bring that relationship to the forefront and make a film about through a young girl’s eyes, and so the film is so precious because it’s about the grandfather and granddaughter building a bamboo house in the woods. And so it’s just this beautiful story that everybody knows,” said Eye Wander Studio Owner Jency Hogan.

She said she saw a spark in her when performing.

“Hadley always came in saying, ‘I want to act. This is my career.’ When she was even 11 or 12, when I met her, she was saying that already. And so I knew that we need to do we need to help her in any way we could to fulfill that dream,” said Hogan.

Photo of Scene from The Bamboo House

Hogan believes Rinaudo will go far.

“I do see her going a long way in this career. So for me, I felt like I was wanting to empower her and give her every opportunity possible. I don’t have my own children,” said Hogan.

Hogan is also excited about the potential of being the first female director to win the Louisiana Film Prize.

Although Rinaudo enjoyed making the story, she said it was emotional for her.

“It was really hard, I think it was harder just because my grandmother was there on set, so it was harder to see her. You know, they’ve been together for 50 years, so it’s like she lost her partner. And we’re creating a film about my father’s dad. I have a very close relationship with my dad. He is like my best friend. So it’s kind of been a real realization for me that that was his best friend. I really wanted to honor their relationship. When I saw my dad crying on set. I started crying,” she said.

Courtesy: The Rinaudos. Hadley’s Grandmother and Grandfather.

Bamboo House made top twenty in the competition, which gave Rinaudo a chance to win 25,000 dollars.

Filmmakers come from all over the world to participate, especially after a tough year with COVID-19 in the arts industry.

“A lot of people had to push production a lot, so I think right now we’re seeing a resurgence of everybody’s dreams of like, okay, we’re going to put it back on the docket. Now it’s time to start making movies,” said Hogan.

Rinaudo hoped this inspires others.

Photo of Scene from The Bamboo House

“During COVID-19, people lost so many loved ones. I really hope somebody comes up to me and it’s like, hey, you know, I lost my grandfather and I love hearing people’s stories. And hopefully, it inspires somebody else to tell their story,” she said.

The festival will be held in Shreveport, but interested viewers can view it online. Tickets can be purchased here.

People can vote for their favorite films in the Louisiana Film Prize. Ballots will be available on Prizefest.com on Sept. 30.

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