POSTED Wed. Oct 9, 2013
Nola & Me's Film Festival fandango
Cathy Hughes
Written by CATHY HUGHES
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In New Orleans, who has time for movies? Especially in October, when the worst of the heat is over, musicians have returned to local clubs after their summer tours, and street festivals compete for attention each weekend.

Still, even in the midst of all this entertainment, there are some stories that movies tell best. The New Orleans Film Festival Oct. 10-17, will bring together dozens of films chosen for local audiences by the aficionados of the New Orleans Film Society.

The highest-profile screenings will be the opening and closing films, 12 Years a Slave (pictured above) and Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker both of which will be presented at the Civic Theatre. If you want to see one of these films, plan ahead; ticket availability at the door is expected to be very limited.

Between these towering bookends, however, will be a week of cinema examining the glorious past and edgy future of the art form. Oh, and parties. It wouldn’t be New Orleans without the parties.

Stories of foreign lands are especially well-suited to movies, where viewers are immersed in exotic sounds, colors, and movements.

Aatsinki, directed by New Orleans native Jessica Oreck, is the result of a yearlong exploration of the lives of Arctic cowboys Aarne and Lasse Aatsinki, who live with their wives and children well north of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland. The 85-minute documentary will be screened at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Contemporary Arts Center.

The Garden of Eden, directed by Ran Tal, studies the innermost parts of Israeli society through the eyes of visitors and workers at one of the largest, most famous, and most visited parks in that country. Tal is scheduled to attend the screening of the 73-minute documentary at 6:30 pm. Sunday, Oct. 13, at The Theatres at Canal Place 1.

Tough Bond, directed by Austin Peck and Anneliese Vandenberg, examines the alarming trajectory of a new generation of Kenya’s indigenous tribes that has abandoned its broken villages in search of a new life and new family in the nearby towns and exploding city slums. Peck and Vandenberg are scheduled to attend the screenings. The 84-minute documentary will screen at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at The Theatres at Canal Place 1; and at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at The Theatres at Canal Place 9.

Movies are also a great way to experience the thrill of fear, without the physical risk.

2 Bedroom 1 Bath, directed by Stanley Yung, is the story of a couple living in an apartment where the tormented spirit of a former tenant threatens to tear their marriage apart. Actress Christine Tonry is scheduled to attend the screenings of the 90-minute narrative film at Chalmette Movies at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10, and Sunday, Oct. 13.

Schism, directed by Adam Gierasch, draws from 1940s film noirs such as “Double Indemnity” and horror films such as “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Irreversible” to tell the story of Baton Rouge cook Dylan White, who has horrifying visions that lead him to the dark underbelly of New Orleans. Gierasch is scheduled to attend the screenings, along with producers Jace Anderson and Peter Hoffman. The 88-minute narrative film will screen at midnight on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Prytania Theatre, and at 9:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at the Prytania Theatre.

Movies provide a way to get much closer to music and dance performances than is usually possible.

The African Cypher, directed by Bryan Little, explores the complex underworld of street dance in South Africa, where former thugs “find purpose with our bodies.” The award-winning 88-minute documentary will screen at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Prytania Theatre and at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdasy, Oct. 15, at The Theatres at Canal Place 9.

Brasslands, directed by the Meerkat Media Collective, takes us to the world’s largest trumpet competition in a tiny Serbian village. Directors Adam Pogoff, Alison Brockhouse, Sara Huneke, Eric Phillips-Hors, Jay Sterrenberg, and Zara Serabian-Arthur are scheduled to attend. The 88-minute documentary will be screened at 4:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Prytania Theatre; and at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at the Prytania Theatre.

Omitted, directed by Kenna J. Moore, follows the lives of Shelby “Skip” Skipper and Donald “Big Choo” Morris as they dance and perform to bounce music through the streets of New Orleans during Super Bowl XLVII and Mardi Gras 2013. Moore, Skipper, and Morris are scheduled to attend, along with assistant director Andrea Hall and cinematographer Alex Payne. The 50-minute documentary will be screened at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Contemporary Arts Center.

Love stories are always complicated. In movies, there is time and visual real estate enough to get closer to the whole story.

The Republic of Two, directed by Shaun Kosta, expands from a simple love story to an examination of the last leap from youth into adulthood, with special appeal for those who take their love stories with a shot of something dark. Kosta is scheduled to attend the screenings, along with producer Melanie Blair, actor Brent Bailey, and editor David Anderson. The 98-minute narrative film will screen at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at The Theatres at Canal Place 1; and at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Prytania Theatre.

Suitcase of Love and Shame, directed by Jane Gillooly, is a reconstructed narrative of an adulterous love affair from the 1960s, constructed from 60 hours of reel-to-reel audiotape discovered in a suitcase purchased on eBay. The 70-minute documentary will screen at 6:15 p.m. at The Theatres at Canal Place 2; and at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Contemporary Arts Center.

Le Week-End, directed by Roger Michell, accompanies a long-married middle-class British couple as they attempt to reinvigorate their marriage by visitig Paris for the first time since their honeymoon. The 93-minute narrative film will screen at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Prytania Theatre; and at noon Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Prytania Theatre.

If anything is more complicated than love stories, it is the family ties and tangles that evolve from them over the years.

In Awful Nice, directed by Todd Sklar, two brothers who haven’t seen each other in years rebuild their strained relationship as they attempt to restore the house they grew up in. Sklar is scheduled to attend the screenings, alongwith writer Alex Rennie and producer Brock Williams. The 93-minute narrative film will screen at 9:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at Theatres at Canal Place 1; and at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at Theatres at Canal Place 9.

For I Know My Weakness, directed by John Dentino, shows what happens when a woman who has been a homeless alcoholic for many years returns to the children she had abandoned. Dentino is scheduled to attend the screenings. The 85-minute documentary will be shown at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at The Theatres at Canal Place; and at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at The Theatres at Canal Place 2.

Nebraska, directed by Alexander Payne, accompanies a cantankerous father and his son as they take a road trip to claim the fortune promised in a sweepstakes letter the father received in the mail. The 115-minute narrative film will screen at 7:15 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Prytania Theatre.

Louisiana has hosted more than 300 film and television productions since 2006, and the state’s film tax incentive package was sought by more than 150 projects in 2011. It’s no wonder that the state’s character and diversity have captured attention.

Can’t Stop the Water, directed by Rebecca Marshall Ferris and Jason Ferris, takes us to a tiny island deep in the bayous of south Louisiana where Chief Albert Naquin desperately looks for a way to bring his tribe together on higher ground as the land that has sustained them for generations vanishes before their eyes. The Ferrises are scheduled to attend the screening, along with producer Kathleen Ledet, Naquin, and members of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indian tribe. The 38-minute documentary will be screened at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Contemporary Arts Center and will be followed by a reception in the CAC atrium.

Elle, directed by Geraldine Brezca, is the portrait of a 72-year-old New Orleans artist on a quest to rid the world of toy Barbies. Jesse Freeman’s new alternative, the paper doll named Elle, confronts the unrealistic physical and cultural ideals that have been historically portrayed by the Barbie doll. The 57-minute documentary will screen at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at The Theatres at Canal Place 2. Brezca, cinematographer Jason Powell, assistant director Lauren Claret, and editor Jen Suran are scheduled to attend.

Hillbilly Wolf, directed by Bradford Willingham, follows a societal misfit from north Louisiana troubled by unemployment, poverty, and the death of his dog. He copes with his anguish by believing in the salvation of the hereafter. The 75-minute narrative film will screen at 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at the Contemporary Arts Center, and at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Theatres at Canal Place 9.

Individual tickets are $8 for members of the New Orleans Film Society, and $10 for others. Film Society members and All-Access passholders can reserve tickets online now, and at the box office at the Contemporary Arts Center beginning on Oct. 7. Tickets will become available to the general public on Oct. 8.

The main box office at the Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., will be open Monday, Oct. 7, through Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 10 through Thursday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Passes purchased online can be picked up at the main box office at the Contemporary Arts Center beginning Oct. 7.

During the festival, box offices at each screening venue will open one hour prior to the first screening of the day at that venue.

Tickets for the opening film, “12 Years a Slave,” and the closing film, “Bayou Maharajah” The Tragic Genius of James Booker,” will be $15 for members of the New Orleans Film Society and $20 for others.

Venue addresses:

  • Theatres at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., third floor
  • Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St.
  • Chalmette Movies, 8700 W. Judge Perez Drive, Suite D, Chalmette
  • Ashe Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
  • Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania St.
  • The Civic Theatre, 500 O’Keefe Ave.
  • Generations Hall, 310 Andrew Higgins Drive

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    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.

    WWNO

    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at WWNO.org.

    WWOZ

    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.

    PRC

    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.

    NOMA

    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.

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