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The 27th annual New Orleans Film Festival on Wednesday announced its feature competition lineup for this year’s edition.
The films set to screen in October were chosen from almost 4,000 submissions from 115 different countries. The New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) claims that 45 percent of the final selections have female helmers, and 36 percent are films with nonwhite directors.
“This year’s lineup typifies the festival’s strong commitment to supporting new cinematic voices,” said NOFS director of programming Clint Bowie.
The fest is set to run Oct. 12-20 in a variety of venues across New Orleans, particularly focusing on the downtown area. “This year, we are excited to introduce new venues that will create a walkable downtown campus for the festival, giving our audiences the chance to see even more films,” said NOFS executive director Jolene Pinder.
See below for the documentary, narrative and Louisiana features in the competition this year (descriptions provided by NOFS).
Farmer/Veteran | dir. Alix Blair, Jeremy M. Lange
One veteran’s mission to find healing through farming is haunted by the wounds of a family lost and the soldier he still yearns to be.
Jackson | dir. Maisie Crow
Set against the backdrop of the fight to close the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, Jackson captures the hard truth of the lives at the center of the debate over reproductive healthcare in America.
Jonas and the Backyard Circus (Jonas e o Circo sem Lona) | dir. Paula Gomes
Jonas is 13 and his passion is running a neighborhood circus he created in his backyard — but as adolescence sets in, what will becomes of Jonas’ childhood circus dreams?
The Nine | dir. Katy Grannan
Modesto, California’s notorious South Ninth Street — the Nine — is a no-man’s-land where the rules of polite society do not apply, a ravaged micro-community whose Darwinian existence is a day-to-day hustle.
Painted Nails | dir. Erica Jordan, Dianne Griffin
The doc follows a Vietnamese immigrant’s life-changing journey from her vibrant nail salon to the steps of Congress, becoming the first person to testify for safe cosmetics in over 30 years.
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes | dir. Brett Story
The film is a meditation on the prison’s disappearance in the era of mass incarceration through a series of places across the U.S. where prisons do work and affect lives.
Shelter | dir. Brent Renaud, Craig Renaud
Filmed over the course of a full year, the film tells the raw and emotional stories of the incredible kids who seek shelter at the Covenant House, located on the outskirts of the New Orleans French Quarter, and the staff struggling to work miracles everyday on their behalf.
The Shelter (Panahgah) | dir. Abbas Sendi
Against a backdrop of desolation along the outskirts of Rasht, Iran, one woman exudes compassion and hope as she establishes a shelter to care for injured animals.
You and Me (Tú y Yo) | dir. Natalia Cabral, Oriol Estrada
A 70-year-old widow and her young maid live in isolation in a house in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The minutiae of their daily lives is captured, speaking volumes about race, class, and culture.
72 Hours: A Brooklyn Love Story? | dir. Raafi Rivero
A bright, charismatic Brooklyn teenager has a ticket out of the projects and 72 hours to decide if he’s up to the challenge, all while fending off a rival who’s after his girl.
Are We Not Cats | Xander Robin
Fired, dumped and evicted Eli leaps at the chance to escape the city on an errand upstate. Plagued by a strange illness, his sojourn culminates in an affair with a woman who shares his habit of eating hair.
Daddy’s Boy | dir. Daniel Armando
Led by its lush black-and-white photography and a frank portrayal of male sexuality, this lyrical film tells the interlocking stories of four men on the fringes of the gay porn industry.
Fugue | dir. Jorge Torres-Torres
A woman takes flight to a tiny island, where she chases after wild horses and carouses with drunken revelers. As memories of her past close in, the line between freedom and madness becomes blurred.
Hearts of Palm | dir. Monica Peña
An intimate documentary-style portrait of a collapsing relationship opens up deep questions about the space between languages, the nature of artist-muse pairs and the pain and fecundity of romantic loss.
Hara Kiri | dir. Henry Alberto
August and Beto, two hard-up skate punks, decide to prove their love by following in the steps of Romeo and Juliet, wandering across Los Angeles as they celebrate their last day on earth.
A Morning Light | dir. Ian Clark
After they reconnect by chance, Zach and Ellyn’s peaceful summer of camping is gradually distorted by a foreign presence that vibrates through the woods around them.
My First Kiss and the People Involved | dir. Luigi Campi
Sam, a non-verbal young woman living in a remote group home, becomes obsessed with the mystery of her missing caretaker Lydia.
No Light and No Land Anywhere | dir. Amber Sealey
Leaving her own family on a moment’s notice, an enigmatic British woman embarks on a journey through a strange and shadowy Los Angeles with hopes of finding her long-lost father.
The Other Kids | dir. Chris Brown
The struggles of six small-town teens on the verge of high school graduation are chronicled, told in a doc/fiction hybrid style in which real teenagers collaborated with the filmmakers to tell their own personal stories.
Back Story | dir. Iman Shervington
Five young black men from different backgrounds and areas of New Orleans filmed their lives for six months, sharing their personal views on everything from education to criminal justice.
Before the West Coast | dir. Oyd Craddock
The story of Coach Otis Washington’s St. Augustine High football team during the years after the court ruling admitting them into Louisiana’s all-white high school sports association.
Bookie | dir. Michael Yusko
A New Orleans man attempts to make a feature film to satisfy the Kickstarter backers who invested in him.
Forgotten Bayou | dir. Victoria Greene
The pic follows five families from the quaint Cajun community of Bayou Corne, whose survival was thrown into question four years ago by the 24-acre sinkhole that opened up on its outskirts.
One Note at a Time | dir. Renee Edwards
An homage to the musicians who returned to their hometown after the devastation following Hurricane Katrina, told through the prism of the heroic New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic.
My Father, Die | dir. Sean Brosnan
Deaf and mute since the age of 12, Asher has been training for almost two decades to avenge himself on the man that killed his older brother, who also happens to be his father.
People | dir. Shane McGoey
A pitch-black comedy composed of six intertwined vignettes and an ensemble of characters grappling with each other in a vain attempt to gain control over their lives.
A Quiet Storm | dir. Jason Affolder
A musically gifted teenage girl from New Orleans’ Ninth Ward is torn between family loyalty and doing what she knows is right after discovering her older cousin has become a violent criminal.
She Was Famous | dir. Kenna J. Moore
A widowed college dropout finds herself going down a rabbit hole inspired by her recent discovery of Karl Marx and the German language, only to learn that things have become a bit mental.
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