The New Orleans Film Festival kicks off its 27th annual event this week, running from October 12 to 20, 2016. I was privileged to attend this festival three years ago as a Juror and had a blast. The NOFS team, led by Executive Director Jolene Pinder, knows how to put on a show and treat filmmakers well. Between the creative and very New Orleans-based parties, the community of filmmakers and the many local film fans this is a wonderful, festive atmosphere to eat, drink and happily sink into film screenings for a week.
If you are lucky enough to attend NOFF this year, here’s a few of the programs I recommend checking out:
- Opening Night & LBJ: Coming off its premiere at TIFF, Rob Reiner’s latest film about President Lyndon Johnson (played by Woody Harrelson) will kick off the festival. NOFF had by far one of the best Opening Night events I have attended. They fully embraced and celebrated the local scene, having a second line parade from the film to the party, where live jazz and brass band continue to play throughout the evening.
- FARMER/VETERAN: I was honored to host the world premiere of this intimate documentary at DIFF earlier this year. It follows Alex Sutton, an Iraq vet with PTSD, as he attempts to rebuild a life and family by creating a farm at home. It’s a haunting and honest portrait of a soldier.
- WHITE GIRL: Filmmaker Elizabeth Wood is a force. She’s definitely one to watch and this feature is proof.
- CONTEMPORARY COLOR: The Ross brothers’ latest captures a rare and unique live event with performances by David Byrne, Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent, Ira Glass, tUne-yArds and others.
- Short films: Short films are always a treat and important as I’ve mentioned before. NOFF has a great lineup of shorts this year. While I haven’t seen it yet, I must highlight THE NEW ORLEANS SAZERAC in the “Louisiana Stories: Act Three” block. I am so intrigued and love the synopsis (and the cocktail)!
In between films and festival parties, be sure to check out a few of my favorite spots for a taste of New Orleans. (Plus, there are things to do beyond Bourbon Street y’all.)
- Treat yo’self to an amazing meal at Cochon or Herbsaint. You won’t regret it. I’m drooling just thinking about it. (Reservations encouraged.)
- Speaking of Sazeracs, sip one at the beautiful Sazerac Bar inside The Roosevelt. #NewOrleansClassyDrinking #Adulting
- If you can manage to get a seat, take a spin on the Carousel Bar & Lounge at Hotel Monteleone and order a Vieux Carre.
- Don’t miss the amazing fried chicken at Willie Mae’s.
- If near the French Quarter or Central Business District, you can’t go wrong with brunch at Palace Cafe or Mother’s.
- Looking for a dive? Try a frozen irish coffee at Molly’s at the Market.
- Po’boys and beignets (and cash). That’s really all you need in life.
Congratulations to Clint Bowie and the programming team on a great lineup! And best wishes to Jolene as she moves on to new and exciting work after this year’s festival. It will be strange not to see her at the helm of NOFS, but I’m looking forward to what the future holds for her and the film society.
Have you attended NOFF before? Are you excited to see any films in their lineup? What’s your favorite restaurant in New Orleans? Tell me in the comments below.