As the New Orleans Film Festival enters its 31st year, festival organizers aren’t letting the pandemic stop the show from going on.
The New Orleans Film Society will screen more than 160 films for the 2020 edition taking place from Nov. 6 to Nov. 22.
Just like everything else in 2020, the festival will operate in a completely different format this year. Organizers turn to technology and the outdoors to still give filmmakers a platform to tell their stories to audiences.
This year, the festival will showcase films through the New Orleans Film Festival Virtual Cinema, available globally. Additionally, a selection of films will show at two screens at an open-air cinema on the Lafitte Greenway, between Dorgenois and Tonti Streets, and the Broadside, the Broad Theater’s new outdoor venue in Mid-City.
There’s an emphasis on celebrating Southern voices this year, with films made in the American South representing 45 percent of the lineup and Louisiana-made films representing 26 percent.
“We feel it’s vital to make space for Southern art. The South is our home, and we recognize that the American South and South Louisiana more specifically are sites where stories and inspiration have been thoughtlessly mined by outsiders, a harmful, extractive practice that sidelines artists with a greater connection to the region and often results in stereotyping and a lack of authentic representation in the work,” said Zandashé Brown, New Orleans Film Society programming manager.
Programmers also spotlight representation in this year’s crop of films, as Hollywood grapples with diversity and inclusion on-screen and behind-the-scenes.
Overall, the directors of selected films represent 44 different nationalities. Films directed by women and gender non-conforming directors account for 57 percent of the lineup, and films helmed by directors of color make up 58 percent of the lineup.
“Our programming team celebrates work that, in its form and construction, offers a rebuke to conventional means of filmmaking and forges new storytelling pathways,” said New Orleans Film Society’s artistic director Clint Bowie. “Through this year’s lineup, we invite audiences to engage with work that addresses the social and political inequities of our collective past and present.”
The Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival feature film competition brings together eight narrative feature films and 17 documentary feature films from 12 countries. The Louisiana Features Competition will host seven feature films made in Louisiana. See the complete film guide here.
Open-air cinemas on the Lafitte Greenway and Broadside at Broad Theater will screen films from Nov. 6 to Nov. 15. The NOFF Virtual Cinema will run from Nov. 6 to Nov. 22 featuring all films in the lineup.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Oct. 20. Festival-goers can purchase an All-Access Pass good for all Open-Air Cinemas and NOFF Virtual Cinema screenings or purchase individual tickets for the Open-Air Cinemas.
For more information about tickets, film schedule and lineup, visit the New Orleans Film Festival website.