For people outside of the film industry it is difficult to understand how hard it is to raise both funds and awareness at the same time.  Lights Out in Blackham is a labor of love for all of us at NERD Pictures.  When Douglas Domingue first talked to me about this film, I remember clearly thinking that it would be at the very least, a chance to have fun shooting with my friends. What I didn’t know was that I would grow as a person because of my involvement in the film. Beryl Shipley and his family taught me more in the short time I got to know them, than I could have ever expected, and Doug taught me what it means to be part of a team.

Like I said, raising funding for a film is extremely difficult. However, raising funds for a film while simultaneously raising funds for a good cause and increasing awareness for a movie is even more arduous. Doug and Michelle worked tirelessly while the rest of the NERD team watched in awe. Together with a group of talented individuals, and the fantastic people close the Shipley family, this small group of filmmakers did the impossible. We met our funding goal, did some good for a great cause (The Beryl Shipley Mended Hearts Scholarship), and recognized someone that forever changed the landscape of Southwestern Louisiana.

“The Beryl Shipley Tribute Gala” presented by Cox was host to a packed house that were all there to remember a great man, and get a glimpse at the film. The attendees got to spend time with basketball greats like Bo Lamar, Fred Saunders, Roy Ebron, Payton Townsend, and Dean Church. They got treated to moving speeches from former assistant Tom Cox, Julie Dronet of Cox, Douglas Domingue, and current UL Coach Bob Marlin.  Chef Bobby of “Bon Manger”  provided everyone with fantastic food, Schilling made sure the beer was ice cold and the atmosphere was ripe with excitement, the red carpet was alive with the sound of camera flashes, and the NERD team were humbled by the amazing response our community showed for our work.

Of couse films cost money, and the NERD Pictures team was lucky enough to have wonderful sponsors like Cox Communications, The Daily Advertiser, LUS, Courtesy Cadillac, Party Central, Le’ Bon Manger and a host of others. The great folks at Cox, Karmen Blanco and Julie Dronet, helped us to achieve our goals and for that we are thankful. Everyone involved with making the event a reality pushed us one step closer to finishing the film.

Nights like this one come once in a life time. I know that I’ll never forget that night, and I’m positive that the NERD Pictures crew will be forever grateful to those that made it such a special one.