The 33rd New Orleans Film Festival will have three Uptown venues this year to present a wide variety of films, many of which cannot be seen any other way.
The festival will showcase dozens of films, including short programs, at the Prytania Uptown, 5339 Prytania St.; the New Orleans Jazz Market, 1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.; and Second Line Stages, 800 Richard St.
The festival opens Thursday (Nov. 3) and closes on Tuesday (Nov. 8). In between are a great number and diversity of films to enjoy. They also will be shown virtually Nov. 3-13 through NOFF Virtual Cinema available globally.
The Prytania Theatre Uptown will be screening nine films, including Louis Armstrong’s Black and Blues, a documentary directed by Sacha Jenkins (Fresh Dressed, Word is Bond). It shows on Friday (Nov. 4) at 7:15 p.m.
Through archival footage and never-before-heard home recordings and personal conversations, the film delves beyond the jazz icon’s amiable public image to reveal a complex and defiant character. It shows how Armstrong’s life spans the shift from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, and how he became a lightning rod figure in that turbulent era.
Women Talking, directed Sarah Polley (Don’t Think Twice, Away from Her) will screen on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. The dramatic feature depicts the women of an isolated religious community grappling with reconciling their reality with their faith. It is based on a novel by Miriam Toews.
Showing at the New Orleans Jazz Market are seven different programs of short films, as well five full-length films. The latter includes the star-studded Empire of Light, directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road and the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre) and starring Olivia Coleman. It will also be the location of the closing-night film Music Pictures: New Orleans.
The opening night takes place at Second Line Stages on Nov. 3, complete with a red carpet event, an after party and the screening of the film The Inspection, directed by Elegance Bratton (My House, Pier Kids and Buck). There will be three other films shown there throughout the festival, all tied to New Orleans.
These include Algiers, America directed by Jackson Fager (Vice; Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird) a five-part series about the Edna Karr Cougars’ remarkable high school football coach in one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods. It screens Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.
A New Orleans Noel, directed by Angela Tucker (TV series Black Folk Don’t) will be shown at Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. The holiday romance features Keshia Knight Pulliam, Patti LaBelle (as a New Orleans praline tycoon) and Tim Reid.
Following that film on Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. is A Taste of Heaven: The Ecstatic Song & Gospel of Maestro Raymond Anthony Myles, directed by Grammy award-winning producer Leo Sacks. Considered the electrifying gospel genius of New Orleans, Myles was a rising star when he was shot to death in 1998.
A selection of more than 170 films from the film competition brings together narrative feature films, documentaries and shorts from 10 countries, representing a wealth of perspectives. Louisiana-made films represent 22% of the lineup, and the directors of selected films represent 35 different nationalities. Additionally, the schedule boasts 24 world premieres and seven U.S. premieres.
“Half of the lineup is made up of Southern films, and we are proud to shine a light on filmmakers from the region and around the world who are shifting mainstream narratives and pushing artistic boundaries.” said Kiyoko McCrae, director of documentary programming and filmmaker labs at NOFS.
“In considering films for this year’s lineup,” said Clint Bowie, artistic director of the New Orleans Film Society, “our programming team sought to interrogate the totality of individual films. While what is on screen is obviously important to us, we’re also interested in what went into a film’s making: how the filmmakers built their production teams and how they approached issues of working with the communities in their films.”
Recipients of the Jury Award for Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts, and Animated Shorts competitions will be eligible for consideration in the respective categories of the Academy Awards without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.
The New Orleans Film Festival is one of 14 in the country that has an “Oscar Qualification.” That means that any short film or documentary that wins an audience award can be considered in the upcoming year for an Academy Award.
The film festival screening schedule and film guide are now available at neworleansfilmfestival.org. Tickets and passes for the film festival can be purchased online. Click here for more information, including prices.
Festival-goers can purchase an All Access Pass, good for admission and priority entry to in-person screenings and the NOFF Virtual Cinema, parties and receptions, panels, and events or purchase individual tickets for each screening.
Film lovers can also buy a Virtual Pass For One or a Virtual Household Pass for at-home access to all films in the lineup throughout the festival; a Six Film Pass to watch any six films virtually or in-person; or buy individual tickets for each virtual screening. Discounted student and teacher passes are also available.
New Orleans Film Society members receive $50 off All Access passes, $3 off in-person screening tickets, and $2 off NOFF Virtual Cinema tickets. To join the New Orleans Film Society, sign up here.
All festival transactions will be contactless; cash or check payments will not be accepted. Acceptable forms of payment include credit and debit cards, and Apple and Google Pay.