After surviving the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and many other obstacles, the New Orleans Film Society is back in full force for the 32nd Annual New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF). Running from November 5 to 21, the festival is a hybrid film festival that offers both in-person and virtual screenings with more than 170 films on display in various venues across the city.
With a focus on diversity, the festival is the perfect outlet for creators around the world, with filmmakers from nearly 104 countries submitting more than 3,000 films to this year’s festival. The lineup includes 28 world premieres and 11 US premieres.
According to the NOFF website, “Films directed by women and gender non-conforming directors account for 64% of programming, and films directed by directors of color represent 73% of programming, with 36% of films coming from of black directors. “In addition, films made in the southern United States represent 60% and films made in Louisiana represent 22% of the programming and the directors of the films selected represent 24 different nationalities.
There were even LSU staff with works to present at the festival! Creative writing and performing arts professor Zack Godshall presented his feature-length documentary, “The Laughing Man,” last weekend at the Broad Theater which is about part-time actor Thomas Alan Williamson, which he met while working on another project. Professional-in-Residence Glen Pitre was also producer and screenwriter of the documentary “Mary Queen of Vietnam” which serves as a behind-the-scenes look at the annual Tet Festival in New Orleans.
With a plethora of independent films, documentaries, and short films to check out, there’s also a great selection of “Spotlight Films,” typically high-profile footage from established filmmakers. This year’s opening gala film that kicked off the festival was Mike Mill’s “C’mon C’mon,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and newcomer Woody Norman, at the Orpheum Theater. Set in New Orleans during the third act, the film follows a documentary maker assigned to care for his nine-year-old nephew. It’s a warm and moving film about families and their loopholes that are worth seeing, but the most special thing about the screening was that Mills was present for a question-and-answer session after the movie where he was shown. actually answered one of my questions!
Baton Rouge resident Jane Lynam said “it was an amazing experience watching a movie at the Orpheum Theater and seeing [Mills] before and after and listening to him talk about making the movie was so cool. She added how “seeing a movie set in New Orleans, where so much art is done, was an amazing experience… It was really cool to be in the same place where it was made while doing it. looking. “
Well spoken and emitting unabashed kindness, it was truly a pleasure to hear Mills deliberate on his latest work.
Other Spotlight films scheduled to premiere include Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket,” which revolves around a former pornstar who returns to his hometown of Texas, starring the New Orleans actress. Judy Hill. In addition, Kenneth Branagh’s personal love letter “Belfast”, “Petite Maman” by Céline Sciamma who also directed “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”, “Memoria” by Apichatpong Weerasethakul who won the jury prize of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, and “King” by Reinaldo Marcus Green Richard “on Serena and Venus Williams’ father screened at the festival.