New Orleans Film Fest 10/12-10/20

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Published on: October 7th, 2016

The New Orleans Film Fest is back and bigger than ever. Its 27th incarnation will run from Wednesday, October 12 to Thursday, October 20. The festival will again feature many films by local filmmakers and films that are especially of local interest, plus a few with music as their focus. See trailers at each film's link. Full schedule and passes available now at

Music Films

Alive & Kicking gives the audience an intimate, insider’s view into the culture of the current swing dance world while shedding light on issues facing modern society. No matter what troubles they are facing in their lives, swing dancers are filled with joy, exhilaration, and even giddiness while they dance. Boiled down to its core, swing dancing is about the pursuit of happiness. Most people think of happiness as a passive emotion: if something good happens, I will be happy. But we all have the ability to feel joy despite the worst of circumstances once we realize that happiness exists inside of us.

Dew Drop The Dew Drop Inn’s newest owner Kenneth Jackson struggles to reopen the cultural landmark’s doors for a new generation.

One Note At A Time Music was and remains the heart and soul of New Orleans; even as Katrina turned toward the city there were still musicians playing in the streets. Necessary relocation scattered band members across the US, but as soon as possible many returned. One Note at a Time speaks to a cast of these musicians and the organization that works to give them the healthcare and attention to continue their passion: The New Orleans Musician’s Clinic. In treating the ailments that affect the city’s musicians, the Clinic bears witness to the rebirth of New Orleans’ music community and the new issues facing its members. Though some claim that the creative spirit since the tragedy has grown better and more diverse, new city noise ordinances, health problems, and lack of funding threaten the musical traditions that have carried on in the face of loss. – Amber Love. NOTE: WWOZ is a sponsor of the One Note At A Time screening at the New Orleans Film Fest. We've been previewing sneak peeks and extras from the film all week. Check them out.

Sicily Jass: The World's First Man In Jazz If you find yourself strolling through Greenwood Cemetery, you may encounter the tomb of Nick LaRocca emblazoned with the not-so-subtle epitaph “Here lies the world’s first man in jazz.” It’d be crazy to believe him, but let’s not speak ill of the dead. You won’t find him in many jazz histories, but believe it or not, LaRocca was a big name in 1917. Fresh off the success of the first jazz track put to vinyl, his Original Dixieland Jazz Band was tearing up dance halls around the world and winning the ear of an impressionable young Louis Armstrong. Old records, family interviews, and jazz historians tell the story of the rise and fall of “The Beatles of the 1910’s” (complete with creative rifts and ego trips) and how jazz exploded from a little known eclectic New Orleans regional art form to the internationally adored genre it is today. – Peter Goldberg

Two Trains Runnin' Mississippi was a dangerous place the summer of 1964. Hundreds of college students traveled south in support of Freedom Summer to face the Ku Klux Klan and a violent police force. In the midst of this, two separate groups of young men also headed to Mississippi on an altogether different mission: to track down two forgotten blues singers and bring them out of retirement. In this searing documentary Sam Pollard explores the explosive events that unfolded in Mississippi that summer and the captivating hunt for the musicians Son House and Skip James, two campaigns that eventually collided in tragic fashion. Narrated by Common, and featuring new music by Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Lucinda Williams, and others, Two Trains Runnin’ engages serious issues – police brutality, racism, civil rights, and the legacy of black music – that are as urgent today as they were in 1964.

Waiting For B How long would you wait for the chance to see Beyoncé? In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the most dedicated fans have camped out in front of the stadium for two months for a chance at the best seats. As the concert date approaches and the camp grows into a buzzing Bey-hive, fans pass time by singing their favorite Beyoncé songs and memorizing her dances. But for many of these fans Beyoncé is not just an artist: she is a role model through whom they have found their confidence and explored their sexual orientation. In mostly observational shots of conversations and encounters in this pop-up community, members do more than just praise Bey. Through discussions of the exorbitant price of her tickets or the presentation of her racial identity, Waiting for B makes it clear that Beyoncé is part of a larger conversation involving class, identity, and acceptance. – Amber Love

Local Interest Films

Amongst Strangers A man who has trouble recognizing familiar faces gets lost in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Arceneaux: Melpomene's Song, Vol. 1 A detective searches for the truth behind the murder of the daughter of a wealthy New Orleans real estate developer.

Back Story introduces Dedric, Daniel, Tyree, EJ, and Jeremy. Each has been given a camera, and has been told to document his life for six months; the result is an intimate portrait of what being young and black in the US is like. In their footage we see them in their homes, schools and neighborhoods throughout New Orleans as they share moments with their friends and family. Personal interviews explore their realities and dreams as they discuss a range of topics from relationships with their parents, to being harassed by police, to where they’d like to see their lives go. Intercut with clips featuring historic representation of black Americans in film and interviews with leading activist Al Sharpton and political leader Marc Morial, Back Story artfully challenges popularized stereotypes of black youth. -Amber Love

Before The West Coast In 1967 St. Augustine won the right to compete in the Catholic football league in Louisiana. As the only black team in an all-white league being good wasn’t enough: they had to be the absolute best. From 1968-79 the team, led by head coach Otis Washington, battled biased calls and outright racism to become the number 1 ranked team in the state. They revolutionized the game with new defensive and offensive plays-some of which were precursors to the West Coast offensive style – and invigorated New Orleans’ black community during a time when civil rights and integration were hugely contested issues. Using archival footage and interviews with former players, coaches, and community members, Before the West Coast chronicles the powerful and largely successful history of the St. Aug football team, and the people who made it happen. -Amber Love

Bixby — an abused teen on parole — becomes an enforcer and vigilante to protect his mother.

Black Majick A family of runaway slaves finds their path to freedom jeopardized when they meet a malicious witch in a Louisiana swamp.

Boy A little boy and his dog travel through the ruins of a fallen city to a place he will never forget.

Comedy Rising A laugh-out-loud short documentary featuring the performances and musings of four New Orleans based stand-up comedians.

Da Parish Filmed on the ground beginning shortly after the flood waters receded, this documentary follows three individuals from the eponymous St. Bernard Parish as they attempt to reconstruct their lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Each has had to struggle in different ways following the hurricane, and each has a story to tell about it. Whether they accidentally slept through the evacuation and witnessed the devastation first hand, or they came back to find theirs was the last home remaining on the block, through their accounts of survival, resilience, and rebuilding we learn that “home” can have as many meanings as there are people around to utter it. -Peter Goldberg

Disambiguation An experimental documentary based on actual events surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Ella Brennan: Commanding The Table It turns out that one of America’s greatest coaches is a woman, and her field is a restaurant. Ella Brennan is known today as the inspirational matriarch of the rambling Brennan family, the force of nature behind the first Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace who launched the careers of dozens of restaurateurs and chefs including Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. As a teenager in the 1940s, Ella envisioned New Orleans as the Paris of the food world. Since then she’s given every ounce of her being to reaching that goal, and demanded the same from her team. And she believes you can work very hard and not miss a minute of fun. Narrated by Patricia Clarkson, pairing interviews and vérité footage with chefs, restaurateurs, peers, family and friends, Commanding the Table provides past and present glimpses into Ella’s unique life and world.

Elnora In rural Louisiana, a brief friendship blooms between a spirited older woman and the young filmmaker who wants to document her.

Feufollet Known elsewhere as will-o’-the-wisp or pixie lights, a spirit called the feufollet lives in the dark swamps of Louisiana. NOTE: WWOZ was pleased to bring you the world premiere of this short in June!

Five Awake For twenty years Louisiana claimed one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country: on domestic abuse, the state of Louisiana was sleeping. Each touched by its atrocities in their own lives, a group of five women came together to fight for a law to strengthen the rights of those abused. Helmed by Charmaine Caccioppi and Kim Sport of United way, Mary Claire Landry with the New Orleans Family Justice Center, Beth Meeks with the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Helena Moreno, a Louisiana State Representative, the law aimed to – most controversially – restrict the gun rights of domestic abusers. Five Awake chronicles their campaign through the halls of the state capital as they recount the facts and harrowing stories that forced them to take action. Sweet dreams be damned; before they’re done, Louisiana is going to wake up. – Amber Love

Forgotten Bayou Bayou Corne, Louisiana was once a thriving community. Members reveled in Cajun pride, held their own Mardi Gras celebrations, and the families of many had been settled there for generations. Irresponsible brining practices caused all of this to come crashing down on Aug 3, 2012 when a sinkhole swallowed a swath of nearby bayou. Residents were left with an impossible choice: start their lives over elsewhere, or stay and face the risks. Featuring interviews from current and former community members, Texas Brine employees, and government officials, Forgotten Bayou chronicles the events leading up to the tragedy as well as the continuing ways it has altered their lives. Over four years ago a mandatory evacuation for the area was issued. At the time of this writing, that evacuation is still in effect. —Amber Love

Henry Henry James makes one-of-a-kind art using skills he learned while wrongfully serving a 30 year prison sentence at Angola.

A Hidden History: The Story of the New Orleans Tribune A father buries his rich black heritage to raise his children white in 1960s New Orleans.

Hunter A 14-year-old girl and her blind, porch-bound grandfather take illicit measures to protect the balance of their swamp.

Immaculate A brief moment in the life of a young woman trying to make a way on her own.

Joann Clevenger: A Girl Scout With Gumption Profiles JoAnn Clevenger, owner of Upperline, 2015 James Beard awardee, and one of her generation’s last restaurateurs.

Jonah Stands Up New Orleans artist, activist, and comedian Jonah Bascle faces his mortality and his legacy.

Lucas Camry Alex From the French Quarter to the Gulf of Mexico, a couple works out the kinks in their polyamorous relationship.

Magic Archway Chronicles the creation of a mosaic archway by a local artist and former residents of the Lafitte public housing development.

New Orleans Lives The story of New Orleans Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and her instrumental role in the rebuilding of her Broadmoor neighborhood after Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Sazerac To make the perfect Sazerac: combine one part technique, one part interpretation, and a dash of folklore.

Painting A Normal Life Hank Holland, a Louisiana folk artist with cerebral palsy, learns to embrace his disability through his art.

Plaquemines Trapped in a dwindling fishing town, a father and son try to navigate life in a dying culture.

Pontchartrain Ghostly apparitions are seen walking the banks of the bayou in Louisiana.

Shakedown By Hasizzle A showcase of New Orleans signature dance: bounce. “LETTTTT’S GO” – HASIZZLE

Shelter In an era of dwindling services for the homeless, the addicted, and the mentally ill, New Orleans’ own Covenant House is a thin thread of compassion holding back the city’s most at-risk youth from a life – or death – on the street. A Catholic organization that welcomes and affirms LGBT youth, a program of rules and structure that accommodates all in need, it transcends these apparent contradictions through its overriding mission to love and care for those who have no one and nowhere else. Shot over six months with total access, Shelter introduces us to Matty, whose mother put him on a bus with no return address. And Daniel, always threatening to return to surviving by himself in the woods of Mississippi. And Liz, the most profoundly ill resident that many of the staff have ever met, and many, many more who find hope in the halls of their last refuge. -Jon Kieran

Summer16 For the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the summer of 2016 has ushered in a season of police brutality, retaliation, and ultimately, a thousand year flood that left over 20,000 people displaced in southern Louisiana. SUMMER16 explores the intersection of race and class and how the two have played a part in this chronicle of Baton Rouge history by following the accounts of people of color.

The Tale of Elisha Bowman In 1805, the Methodist Episcopal Church sent its first missionary to New Orleans. What he found there overwhelmed him.

These Wild Things Two strangers collide on a desolate bayou road and form a bond under a most bizarre circumstance.

The Virtual Krewe of Vaporwave New Orleans’ only virtual Mardi Gras krewe livestreamed their First Annual Virtual Parade during Mardi Gras 2016. Comprised of 14 “floats,” the parade is a procession of music videos created by pseudonymous artists, musicians, programmers, and culture jammers from New Orleans and the Internet. The theme of the inaugural parade is “Vaporwave is Dead: Long Live Vaporwave,” and includes tributes to Allen Toussaint, Alan Rickman, and War Not Being the Answer, as well as a loving tribute to Vaporwave itself.

Worm Captures six months in the lives of the staff and residents of New Orleans’ Covenant House, a home for runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth.

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