It all starts with the opening film at the Civic Theater on Thursday, Oct. 16, the US premiere of the New Orleans-shot Black and White, starring Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer and New Orleans native Anthony Mackie.
Then there’s the closing movie at the historic Carver Theater in the Treme on Thursday, Oct. 23, two special screenings of the music documentary The Big Beat, which explores the careers of legendary performers Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Guest musicians will pay homage to Fats and Dave, with brief tribute performances following the screening.
Actress Lupita N'yongo leads a second line with "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen and star Chiwetel Ejiofor at last year's film festival — Photo courtesy of New Orleans FIlm Fesival
In between these wonderful bookend events is a riot of locally produced narrative and documentary films; shorts; nine (yes, nine) locally made films screened at the gorgeous Joy Theater; look-backs on classics from Jim Jarmusch; and even a showing of Blaze, the sassy-governor-meets-stripper tale from director Ron Shelton.
The emerging voices mentorship initiative speaks to the heart of the festival’s mission: to pair seasoned filmmakers with African American and Black Diaspora directors and producers in Louisiana to help them genuinely connect with industry leaders and expand their career opportunities.
There’s an LGBT focus with shorts, meetups with filmmakers of all ilks and did we mention parties? Lots of them, in all kinds of venues, including Anne Rice’s former manse and Fulton Alley, the spot for hipster bowling in the CBD.
These parties, meetups and events are wrapped around everything from films celebrating human rights to women in movies and Kickstarter coups. More than 450 filmmakers from around the state and around the world – the most ever, with 150 more than last year – will be participating in this year's New Orleans Film Festival.
While there are lots of reasons New Orleans is Hollywood South – beyond the tax credits and the nuts and bolts – there’s a passion and natural grit and beauty in New Orleans and its environs.
Local actor John Goodman, the festival’s spokesman and a founding member of the event, sums it up this way: “New Orleans is more than the setting for a film: New Orleans becomes a character. There’s something in the air, and you can’t find it anywhere else.”
You can buy individual tickets for the New Orleans Film Festival for $11 or an all-access pass for $250, with several options in between. Purchase tickets and passes at the festival website.