The New Orleans Film Festival celebrates cinema like only New Orleans can, with brass bands, second-line parades, gumbo, and Mardi Gras beads for every filmmaker. It’s a city known the world over for its hospitality—and it’s also a city that knows how to party. NOFF is no exception—but the festival never loses sight of what it’s celebrating: exciting new films from bold, passionate storytellers.

Now in its 28th year, the New Orleans Film Festival has grown into an internationally respected annual event. It is one of the few film festivals that is Oscar-qualifying in all three Academy-accredited categories: Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short—and it’s been recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” every year since 2012 (one of only two fests to receive that recognition for five straight years).

The festival’s growing reputation is built upon a commitment to discovering new and diverse voices, with 95% of the lineup coming directly from submissions. Paste Magazine praised the festival for offering “a platform to voices that still fight to be heard,” and indeed, last year’s festival saw 36% of its films helmed by filmmakers of color and 45% from female filmmakers.

For the past several years, the festival has played host to around 400 filmmakers who come to show their work and lend their artistic voice to the festival gumbo. To encourage filmmaker attendance, NOFF offers lodging to each out-of-town filmmaker and a travel stipend to all feature films in competition. Additionally, the festival works hard to offer guests countless opportunities to connect with the industry presence at the fest, facilitating meetings with distributors like The Weinstein Company, Array, FilmBuff, Paramount, and The Orchard; as well as funders, agencies, broadcasters, and other film organizations like Firelight Media, Cinereach, Vimeo, Kickstarter, Film Sprout, the National Black Programming Consortium, ITVS, Seed&Spark, and the International Documentary Association.

Last year’s festival doled out over $120,000 in cash and prizes to filmmakers. Some of the prizes included Panavision camera packages, Kodak film stock, post-production services, and cash prizes from the New Orleans Film Society.

Past attendees and honorees have included Julie Dash, Rob Reiner, Lupita Nyong’o, Woody Harrelson, Alfre Woodard, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Steve McQueen, Sarah Paulson, and countless others. Add your name to this impressive list and share your new film with our festival—we would love to see it.