Celebrating its 28th edition, the annual New Orleans Film Festival this year features a lineup of more than 230 films and a theme that stresses diversity, says artistic director Clint Bowie.
“We have a new mission statement with an emphasis on amplifying diverse voices and story- tellers from all different backgrounds,” Bowie says. “Out of that lineup, more than 53% are from female directors and 45% from directors of color, so it’s probably the most diverse program we’ve ever created.”
The festival will take place in The Big Easy on Oct. 11-19.
After receiving a record number of nearly 5,000 entries from 109 different countries — an increase of more than 20% over last year — the festival is welcoming over 400 filmmakers. Programmers have curated a slate with Louisiana-made films representing 29% of the lineup.
Anchoring the diverse program is the centerpiece movie, the Louisiana-shot, period epic “Mudbound,” which premiered at Sundance and was acquired by Netflix.
“It was perfect for us as it’s both local — and we love any opportunity to showcase a local production — and it ties into this year’s theme of diversity,” Bowie says.
Additionally, “Mudbound” is directed and co-written by a woman who is also black, Dee Rees (“Pariah,” “Bessie”), with a lot of women in the crew, including the DP and editor, and it deals with timely issues of racial tension.
“Mudbound” also has a stellar cast that includes Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Garrett Hedlund, and New Orleans native Jason Mitchell.
Mitchell will be presented with a Trailblazer Award for his work in “Mudbound” and such films as “Straight Outta Compton.”
Continuing its diversity theme, New Orleans is showcasing seven directorial teams of documentary filmmakers of color who, with support from Firelight Media and Field of Vision, created seven shorts collectively referred to as “Our 100 Days” that document the experiences of…