Celebrating its 27th anniversary this year, the Oscar®-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival has firmly established itself on the regional film fest circuit as one of the most reputable in the country. It was named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the "25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" in their 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 editions, and it was also named by Premium Beat as one of the "Fifteen Fests You Should Enter." Born in a city known for its eclecticism and artistic vibrance, NOFF seeks out bold and passionate storytellers. With top-notch programming in one of the world's most cinematic cities, NOFF serves up a dose of Southern hospitality that's hard to beat.
Festival guests often reference the camaraderie among attendees, something that the festival nourishes through receptions, parties, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and opportunities to interact with local audiences. Filmmakers find themselves hatching plans for future projects over red beans and rice and praline bacon, meeting new filmmaking collaborators while exploring Mardi Gras floats at the annual filmmaker brunch, and rubbing elbows with Oscar winners at mansion parties in the city’s French Quarter. We are dedicated to nurturing new voices and making our filmmakers feel like they’ve found a second home here in New Orleans. Given this commitment, we offer two complimentary nights of lodging to every film with a representative coming in from out of town, along with a Festival All-Access pass for each filmmaker to make the most of the fest.
Last year’s festival screened more than 200 films over the course of eight days and reached over 25,000 attendees, including over 400 filmmakers who attended to show their work. NOFF also hosts a number of panels and conversations, featuring representatives from major U.S. distributors (like Magnolia Pictures, IFC, and Factory 25) and other leaders in the industry (like Michelle Satter, founder of the feature film program at Sundance; Eugene Hernandez, founder of Indiewire; Effie Brown, producer of Dear White People; and Debbie Zimmerman, executive director of Women Make Movies).
The festival’s recent growth has dovetailed with the region’s continued expansion as a major film and television production hub. The city is, after all, home to Court 13, the filmmaking collaborative responsible for Beasts of the Southern Wild, as well as Bill Ross, co-director of the multiple award-winning films Western (Sundance 2015) and Tchoupitoulas. It’s also where an increasing number of big-budget and small-budget Hollywood films and TV shows are shot (including Django Unchained,12 Years a Slave, and True Detective). NOFF taps into this local talent pool and industry presence, allowing festival goers to benefit from the experience and knowledge that the filmmaking community in New Orleans has to offer. Jurors have included local residents Michael Gottwald and Josh Penn (producers of Beasts of the Southern Wild), Eric Overmyer (writer/producer on shows like “The Wire” and “Treme”), and Wendell Pierce (actor, Four and “The Wire”).
Recent festivals have welcomed guests like Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar nominees Patricia Clarkson, Alfre Woodard, and Steve McQueen, and Golden Globe nominees Faith Ford and Sarah Paulson.