27th NOLA Film Festival showcased local talent, received little national recognition

Christopher Walker, Editor-in-Chief

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On Oct. 12, hundreds of members of the New Orleans Film Society packed into the Orpheum Theater in downtown New Orleans to kick off the twenty-seventh annual New Orleans Film Festival.

The opening film of the festival began with “LBJ,” a film directed by Rob Reiner starring Woody Harrelson, both of whom were in attendance.

The New Orleans Film Festival is now a nationally respected festival that came to serious prominence during the last decade when Louisiana created some of the most generous filming tax credits in the world.

The New Orleans Film Festival lasted from Oct. 12 -20, and every day had several full-length features and collections of short films playing throughout the city.

Producer John Wood, who put together the short film “Plaquemines” that was one of the larger budget short films of the festival, said, “I found this year’s film festival very interesting since there were a few shorts that I was quite impressed by, but less so by the features. I went to the animation block at the aquarium and was blown away by the entertainment value.”

Two notable movies the festival screened were “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea.” “Manchester by the Sea” won the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the most coveted award in cinema. “Moonlight” deals with growing up gay in a poor, black neighborhood and explores the theme of hyper-masculinity in black culture.

However, due to the cessation of the film tax credits, Louisiana is not a hotspot for cinema this year. Therefore, many large distributors and studios chose to not bother entering their films in this year’s festival. That meant more local productions got a spotlight at NOFF.

“This year had way more very independent films. I think the only true theatrical releases shown this year will be ‘LBJ,’ ‘Book of Love,’ ‘Moonlight,’ and ‘Manchester by the Sea,’” said Wood. “I feel like this year was a much better experience for true artistic films that normally wouldn’t be front and center. I actually prefer this method of programming.”

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