2016 New Orleans Film Festival picks

By Shotgun CinemaPublished on 10/13/2016

We’re really excited to be a partner to this year’s New Orleans Film Festival; we’ve brought in our projection equipment to outfit the festival’s newest venue, the Ace Hotel. We’ll be spending the next week with the festival, and we thought we’d give you some of our most anticipated screenings to consider while you’re perusing their 230+ film lineup.

We’ve had the pleasure of presenting the Bill and Turner Ross’ previous film Western this past February, and we’re happy to be the Community Partner for the New Orleans debut of their latest documentary, Contemporary Color. This visually lush and truly unique take on the concert documentary presents Contemporary Color, a large-scale color guard exhibition, curated by the inimitable David Byrne. Featuring performances by the likes of St. Vincent, tUnEyArDs, and Mr. Byrne himself, Contemporary Color is an immersive experience that’s best saved for a BIG screen (like that of the Entergy Giant Screen).

The film festival’s new media partner Cinema Reset is the place to experience innovative experimental filmmaking and art installations over the weekend. We’re particularly excited for Sex Lab Inc.’s Beware, New Orleans!, an immersive screening experience that’s coupled with local filmmaker Michael Arcos’ Check Surroundings for Safety. Check out the rest of Cinema Reset’s offerings for more experimentally focused work.

Check It follows a queer youth gang in Washington, D.C. Started by teenagers to combat (literally) the city’s particularly common violence against LGBT youth, Check It now counts over 200 members, providing a support network for young people of color who are extraordinarily at risk in every way, while also ferociously lashing out at anyone who crosses them. The film reveals the complex realities facing these individuals and the people who help them: their self-possession and almost nihilism squaring off every day.
We and many others will definitely be talking a lot about Moonlight over the coming months, but NOFF provides your first chance to see Barry Jenkins’ astounding new film that tracks three episodes in the life of a shy black male. Moonlight is definitely of the moment, but formally, Jenkins’ filmmaking choices are brilliantly focused, with the whole narrative always moving toward a single, powerful point. It’s a film that will start new conversations about both its content and its fresh, insistent filmmaking vision.
In the well-trodden path of the coming-of-age film, Cheerleader is particularly smart, funny, and perceptive. Following a girl as she begins to grow beyond her prescribed social role and faces the consequences, Cheerleader finds its strength in portraying the ambiguities that make it so challenging to act ethically. Likes and dislikes, actions and reactions: all coexist uneasily and unexpectedly, illustrating the painful strictures of the pecking order.
It’s difficult to adequately describe the impact of Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (which closes out the festival): the impressionistic aesthetic, the beautiful depiction of Gullah community rituals, the African  the fact that this was first feature film directed by an African-American woman to receive theatrical distribution. This 25th anniversary restoration is breathing new life into this often overlooked classic, and with Julie Dash in attendance, you won’t want to miss this significant event.

Upcoming Screenings