The folks over at the New Orleans Film Society have been hard at work for several months compiling the lineup of films for the 24th Annual New Orleans Film Festival. This year’s festival will take place at venues across the city from Thursday, October 10 - Thursday, October 17.
Two weeks ago, the festival’s Opening Night and Closing Night Films were revealed to much acclaim and anticipation. As announced, the festivities kick off with director Steve McQueen’s New Orleans-shot slave drama 12 Years a Slave at the newly renovated Civic Theatre. A week later, the fest will come to a close with Lily Keber's acclaimed NOLA-music documentary Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker.
“Both of the films were produced in New Orleans and represent the burgeoning film scene in the city,” says NOFS Executive Director Jolene Pinder. “We are honored that the New Orleans Film Festival will be the premiere for both films. With these two films bookending the festival, we can showcase both larger productions now calling Louisiana home while also celebrating our indigenous filmmakers.”
Today, the festival’s In-Competition Feature Films for both Narrative and Documentary categories were announced as well.
This year’s lineup was chosen from a pool of more than 1,500 submissions from 54 different countries – a record for the festival and a 25% increase from last year. The twelve competing films (eight of which are from first time directors) include five world premieres and three U.S. premieres. The rest are regional premieres. Chosen by separate three-person juries, winners in each category will receive a camera package from Panavision valued at $10,000.
“We’re especially excited about the number of world and U.S. premieres we have this year,” says Clint Bowie, Program Director of the New Orleans Film Society. “We feel like it really speaks to the growing national reputation of our festival that so many talented filmmakers are choosing to have their premiere at NOFF.”
Like in years past, many of the films have a distinct Louisiana connection. “We are thrilled to feature new work from so many filmmakers with deep ties to Louisiana this year. This just provides further testament to the fact that New Orleans is truly a thriving center for film in our country,” says Pinder.
NARRATIVE FEATURES IN-COMPETITION:
Aboard the Carousel (dir. Kevin McMullin)
Promiscuous Daphne moves back home to babysit her teenage brother Vincent while mom is away. She crushes on Vincent's shy art tutor, Alex, and decides to take him on as a project, giving him intimacy lessons. *World Premiere*
Forev (dir. Molly Green and James Leffler)
Sophie and Pete are kind of friends, but mostly they're just neighbors. On a whim, they become engaged—and then stranded in the middle of the desert. Forev is romantic comedy about how far you can go without saying what you mean. Southern Premiere.
The Republic of Two (dir. Shaun Kosta)
A close examination of the high-stakes game of heterosexual cohabitation in Los Angeles. Tim wants to be a doctor and Caroline doesn't quite know what she wants. They both know their love is real, but can that love endure a town full of possibilities and temptation? Southern Premiere.
Shadow Zombie (dir. Jorge Torres-Torres)
A lonely drug dealer finds peace in the Louisiana country when he transforms into “Shadow Zombie” by merely painting his face and snorting painkillers. With its hybrid doc/narrative approach, this is an existential horror film rooted in the tragedy of its characters. *World Premiere*
Skook (dir. Connor Hurley)
New York City fashion student Amy returns home to rural Pennsylvania and unexpectedly falls for the guy who made her life hell in high school. Caught off guard by the excitement of a new love, she starts to have flashbacks of the high school event that made her leave in the first place. *World Premiere*
You Make Me Feel So Young (dir. Zach Weintraub)
When her boyfriend lands a job at a recently renovated arthouse theater, Justine relocates with him to a small, nameless town. Dropped suddenly into an unfamiliar place and stripped of all routine and distraction, she is left to sit quietly by and observe the early signs of her own deteriorating relationship. North American Premiere.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES IN-COMPETITION:
For I Know My Weakness (dir. John Dentino)
At the margins of America, a filmmaker helps an alcoholic vagabond return to her children, only to find that her secret is the mother of human nightmares. U.S. Premiere.
Purgatorio (dir. Rodrigo Reyes)
Leaving politics aside, this provocative essay film takes a fresh look at the brutal beauty of the U.S./Mexico border and the people caught in its spell. Southern Premiere.
Searching for Bill (dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen)
A Louisiana man has his car and money stolen by a con man called Bill. When the car is found in Detroit, he decides to take a roadtrip to track down the man who stole his car, a journey that
Tough Bond (dirs. Austin Peck and Anneliese Vandenberg)
Shot over three years, Tough Bond is the story of Kenya’s “Survivors”- a fiercely loyal tribe of children living together in an urban wilderness, huffing glue to endure the hell of street life. Southern Premiere.
Water Like Stone (dir. Zack Godshall)
An impressionistic portrait of Leeville, Louisiana, a small fishing village in the midst of the disappearing wetlands along the Gulf Coast, Water Like Stone is a documentary about people living in a dying landscape. *World Premiere*
The Whole Gritty City (dir. Richard Barber)
This documentary plunges viewers into the world of three New Orleans marching bands, where mentors help guide kids past the lures and dangers of the streets, while passing on a powerful musical legacy. *World Premiere*
Feature films screening out of competition, as well as the short film lineup and the Louisiana feature film lineup, will be announced in the coming weeks.
All-Access passes are on sale now for the New Orleans Film Festival on the New Orleans Film Society’s website. Individual tickets will go on sale in the week leading up to the festival.
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