The New Orleans film festival is only a few days from now, and I’ll be checking in here through the end of the festival bringing you reviews of feature and animated films. The 2014 schedule is the biggest lineup in the festival’s history consisting of over 230 films, which will premiere this coming Thursday through Oct. 23rd and will screen at a dozen or so venues, to include various panels, workshops and parties.The festival’s significant growth is evidenced by the city’s long-standing ability to engage the local indie arts and film industry, which highlight local artists.
The festival will also introduce two new series, Centerpiece and Marquee films, which will feature the year’s most highly anticipated films and a collective of films made in or about New Orleans. To include, an eight-film music series. For the third year in a row, the festival will premier with a locally produced film. Writer-director Mike Binder‘s Black and White (2014), starring Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, and will close with Joe Lauro‘s documentary The Big Beat: The Story of Fats Domino and His Band.
This will be my third year in attendance and as with each of those years, I have to make some difficult choices about which films I will see, and which films I will have to forego. Should I strictly pursue the wealth of narrative features–or pursue my penchant for documentary films? Brave the long-lines to view the opening and closing night premiere features? Network in the filmmaker’s lounge? Or continue to maintain my festival-wallflower modus opperandi? What ever I decide, I am sure to enjoy some if not all of the many events the festival has to offer. Below are a few of this year’s highly anticipated films on my list:
Narrative Feature: U. S. Premiere of THE IMITATION GAME (2014) October 19th – Prytania Theatre
Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Nora Grossman
Producer: Ido Ostrowsky, Teddy Schwarzman
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance and Mark Strong.
Runtime: 113 minutes
Based on a book by Andrew Hodges. Benedict Cumberbatch plays mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing, instead of being hailed as a hero, instead ws arrested on charges of gross indecency which lead to a devastating conviction of homosexuality. Knightley stars alongside Cumberbatch’s Turning as Joan Clarke, Turing’s ally and colleague.
Narrative Feature: BLACK AND WHITE (2014) Opening Night – October 16th – Civic Theatre and October 22nd – Prytania Theatre
Director/writer: Mike Binder
Producer: Kevin Costner, Mike Binder and Todd Lewis
Starring: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Gillian Jacobs, Jennifer Ehle and Bill Burr
Runtime: 121 minutes
The American drama film Black and White (2014) stars Costner as Elliot Anderson, who raised his biracial granddaughter since her mother died in childbirth. When his wife dies, he is challenged for custody rights by the young girl’s paternal grandmother (Spencer). Filmed on location in New Orleans.
Documentary feature: THE GREAT INVISIBLE (2014) [CENTERPIECE FILM] October 20th – Prytania Theatre
Director: Margaret Brown
Producer(s): Margaret Brown, Julie Goldman, Kyle Martin (co-producer)
Runtime: 92 minutes
Filmmaker Margaret Brown traveled to small towns and cities to explore the fallout of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster speaking with rig workers, and residents of the Gulf coast. The Great Invisible documentary tells the story of the modern south–through the lens of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.
In addition, the festival will showcase experimental, animated and short live-action films, narrative and documentary features competition. The festival has grown exponentially in its 25-year history, attracting writers, directors, producers and industry professionals.
For more about the festival’s screenings and events, here’s the link to the festival catalog.
The choices can be overwhelming so choose carefully. Get in line, early. If all else fails, I recommend that go with your gut.
Art and supplementary materials and descriptions are property of the ©2014 New Orleans Film Festival and its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.