The 2016 Louisiana International Film Festival (LIFF) announce its lineup of feature films, including Ethan Hawke as troubled jazz legend Chet Baker in BORN TO BE BLUE.
The 2016 Louisiana International Film Festival slate of international and USA-made films includes the world premiere of earthquake relief documentary SEVEN DAYS IN NEPAL from executive producer D.A. Pennebaker (the legendary filmmaker of Don’t Look Back, Monterrey Pop and The War Room fame), Ethan Hawke as troubled jazz legend Chet Baker in BORN TO BE BLUE, and THE WRONG LIGHT about a filmmakers’ journey to document a non-profit in Thailand dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking among others.
In addition, this year’s festival boasts a brand new category: Southern Perspectives.
Southern Perspectives is a regionally-focused slate that will include nearly a dozen movies telling a wide range a narratives from the American South—from the erosion of small town culture with BOGALUSA CHARM, to AFTER THE SPILL, a documentary exposing the details of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
LIFF 2016 also is proud to showcase an impressive Women and Film category that includes 17 titles about women or directed by women, including Anne Fonteyne’s post-war Warsaw doctor drama THE INNOCENTS and Barbara Kopple’s MISS SHARON JONES!—the rousing music documentary following soul singer Sharon Jones’ battle with cancer and preparations for a world tour.
A complete schedule of screenings will be released soon.
Confirmed feature titles are listed in alphabetical order as follows.
FEATURE FILMS – LIFF 2016
The Adderall Diaries (USA) 105 min.
James Franco heads a cast that includes Ed Harris, Christian Slater and Amber Heard in this heady thriller based on the bestselling memoir by Stephen Elliott. Burdened with writer’s block and an escalating drug problem, Elliott becomes obsessed with a high-profile murder case that unleashes childhood memories of his cruel and distant father. When Daddy suddenly appears with his own story to tell, fact and fiction merge in an amphetamine-induced haze.
After The Spill (USA) 62 min.
Five years after Katrina devastated the coast of Louisiana, the BP operated Deepwater Horizon exploded and spilling 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Melissa Leo narrates this in-depth look at the worst ecological disaster in North American history, the effect of the spill and Big Oil’s production operations on the Louisiana coast.
L’Attesa (Italy|France) 100 min.
Juliette Binoche is simply magnificent as a Sicilian woman so grief-stricken by the sudden death of her son that she tells his new girlfriend (Lou de Laâge) – who has travelled from Paris to meet him – that he is delayed on business. And so ‘the wait’ (l’attesa) begins, and the lie becomes a ticking bomb. Marked by striking images and painterly lighting, L’Attesa is an intense psychological drama.
Baskin (Turkey) 97 min.
A backup squad of Turkish police called to a desolate mansion stumble upon a squalid and blood-soaked den of satanic ritual. Winner of the ‘Best Director’ award at Fantastic Fest, Baskin was hailed as “a meticulously crafted baroque puzzle box… a film to dread, a film that slips deep into the psyche and uncovers the topography of hidden nightmares.”
Bogalusa Charm (USA) 83 min.
WORLD PREMIERE. ‘Charming’ is not a word easily applied to Bogalusa, Louisiana with its smelly paper mill, closed up shops and aging population. However, one business is still going strong: a charm school that transforms local girls into ladies. Native son Steve Richardson portrays this dot on the map with affection, insight, and sadness while addressing a bigger American malaise: the erosion of small town life.
Born to Be Blue (USA|Canada|UK) 97 min.
Ethan Hawke turns in a soulful, sexy, and often funny performance – for which he learned to play the trumpet – as Jazz legend Chet Baker whose battle with addiction was as famous as his music. Set in 60s California with flashbacks to 50s New York, the film focuses on Baker’s search for redemption while juggling a new girlfriend, a movie offer and plans for a comeback at jazz mecca Birdland.
Boy and the World (Brazil) 80 min.
No dialogue is required to tell the beguiling story of a small boy who follows his father from their idyllic farm to an overpopulated city where he discovers an alien industrial and automated world. A soundscape of pan-flute, samba, and Brazilian hip-hop mixes with whirling carnival colors and exploding fireworks in this dazzling and completely original Oscar-nominated animated feature.
Chevalier (Greece) 99 min.
A female director casts a witty, sardonic eye on men and their competitive drive in this highly original film. Six men on a luxury yacht invent a series of surreal games complete with oblique rules and a point system. As the stakes heighten, comparisons are made, measurements taken, songs butchered, blood tested. Friends will become rivals and rivals will do anything to win.
Community (UK) 78 min.
Do packs of feral working class teenagers, high on super addictive weed, really roam the Drayman Housing Estate in Essex? The cops stay clear, but when 2 filmmakers arrive to debunk the myth, they soon find themselves on the menu! Bloody and brutal, Jason Ford’s shocker is a bold example of the new wave of hoodie-horror films to come out of the UK.
Dheepan (France) 115 min.
Winner of the 2015 Cannes Palme d’Or, this gritty film tells the story of Dheepan, a refugee from Sri Lanka and a former Tamil Tiger, who concocts a fake family to gain passage to France. But his violent past still haunts him. Slow-burning tension punctuated by explosions of violence mark Jacques Audiard’s timely, passionate film about a driven man caught in a unique moral dilemma.
El Clan (Argentina) 110 min.
Alejandro, a teen rugby star manipulated into helping his family profit from a series of meticulously planned abductions, discovers that the father he reveres is a cold-blooded killer. Produced by Pedro Amoldovar and based on the real-life exploits of the notorious Puccios, El Clan uses upbeat 80s pop as an ironic comment on the cynicism and immorality of the waning Argentinian dictatorship.
Embrace of the Serpent (Columbia) 125 min.
This Oscar nominee from Columbia, set in the Amazon jungle and inspired by the journals of two German explorers, follows a shaman and his unlikely travel companions in search of a rare psychedelic, medicinal herb. First-time director Ciro Guerra employs stunning black and white widescreen cinematography to take us deep into the heart of darkness… merging two parallel stories, 40 years apart, into a hallucinatory finale.
The Fits (USA) 72 min.
Director Anna Rose Holmer celebrates the physicality and fluidity of adolescence in her infectious character study of Toni, an African American tomboy who boxes at the same gym where a dance drill team practices. Toni yearns to join the tight-knit tribe of older girls but when mysterious fits of shaking and fainting strike the troupe, her desire for acceptance becomes complicated.
Giving Birth in America (US) 46 min.
Maternal health nonprofit Every Mother Counts presents a new three-part, short documentary series, “Giving Birth in America,” to examine some of the key reasons that the U.S. is falling so far behind in maternal healthcare. Each short film follows pregnant women and their healthcare providers in Florida, Montana and New York in the days leading up to delivery. Together, they navigate challenges of race, poverty, chronic illness, overuse of medical interventions and other inequalities that impact maternal health outcomes in America. Special Guest Christy Turlington Burns in attendance for Q&A.
Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words (Sweden) 114 min.
Three-time Oscar-winner Ingrid Bergman was a creative woman and loving mother who forged a career that few actresses do: from Swedish ingénue to Hollywood star, from exile in Italy with director Roberto Rossellini to cherished international stage and screen legend. Bergman’s own home movies, newsreels, and recollections by daughters Isabella and Pia combine to paint a nuanced portrait of a gifted, intelligent and sometimes conflicted individual.
The Innocents (France|Poland) 115 min.
In this dramatic, nuanced film set in post-war Warsaw, a Red Cross doctor who is summoned to a convent to deliver a baby in the middle of the night, discovers a pious, cloistered community brutalized by Soviet soldiers. Rising star Lou de Laâge (L’Attesa) gives a great performance as an idealistic young woman who puts herself in danger to guard a shameful secret.
Is That a Gun in Your Pocket? (USA) 97 min.
Small town Texas is rocked by an epic battle of the sexes when the local women band together to withhold sex until their men rid the town of guns. With a cast that includes Andrea Anders, Cloris Leachman and John Heard, this raunchy comedy/satire that won the audience award at the recent Sedona Film Festival tackles one of the hot-button issues of modern society.
Ixcanul (Guatemala) 93 min.
Eking out an existence on the remote slopes of a volcano (Ixcanul), a teenager admits to her loving mother that she is pregnant by the local dreamboat who has departed for America. Impoverished and unable to speak Spanish, the family embarks on a perilous journey to the big city to save the life of the child. A debut feature and winner of 13 international festival prizes, Ixcanul is a universal human tale.
Lit Lo And Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (USA) 98 min.
The droll, tech-phobic Werner Herzog – who has travelled to Antarctica and up the Amazon to document mankind’s dreams and fears – now explores the Internet’s unknown impact on human interaction, pro and con. Tracking its origins from a classroom at UCLA, thru its present day ‘dark side’, into a future world of robot cars and intergalactic tourism, the film is both scary and thrilling in its implications.
Lost & Found (USA) 90 min.
Two brothers forced to spend the summer on an island in Canada embark on a treasure hunt when they discover a map left behind by their eccentric wealthy grandfather who has mysteriously vanished. Pitting their wits against a ruthless land developer and two thugs, the boys uncover more than treasure and learn that the bonds of family are the most valuable riches of all.
Marguerite (France) 127 min.
Catherine Frot, Best Actress winner at this year’s Césars, is divine as a woman who dreams the impossible dream and possesses the innocence, madness and wealth to pursue it. Marguerite’s passion is opera and her delusion – fueled by the sycophants who swill champagne in her castle outside Paris – is that she sings beautifully. Ironically, this delightful comedy about sour notes is awash in gorgeous music, and features sumptuous 1920s clothes and décor.
The Mayor: Life of Riley (USA) 66 min.
The massacre of nine African Americans by a white supremacist on June 17, 2015 in Charleston, S. C. was a “worst nightmare” for Joseph P. Riley Jr, an Irish Catholic Democrat and the city’s mayor for an incredible 40 years. From the Civil Rights era forward, Riley was a visionary, fighting for inclusion in the face of divisiveness and for the restoration of once shabby Charleston to its former architectural glory.
Miss Sharon Jones! (USA) 93 min.
A cinema verité portrait of soul singer Sharon Jones as she battles cancer, develops a new album, and readies for a world tour. The film, bursting with funk and soul music, features toe-tapping excerpts of Jones’s performances with the Dap-Kings. Whether she is breaking barriers in the music business or beating disease, Jones is a fighter and a survivor, and Kopple’s rousing tribute celebrates the singer as an effusive life force
5 Missing People (USA) 76 min.
Missing People is a nonfiction mystery about Martina Batan, a prominent New York art dealer, who investigates her brother’s long unsolved murder while obsessively collecting and researching the violent work and life of an outsider artist from New Orleans. As Martina struggles to process her discoveries, the inevitable collision of these parallel narratives leads to a chain of dramatic events.
My Father, Die (USA) 102 min.
Deaf and mute since having his hearing knocked out at the age of 12, Asher – played by action star Joe Anderson (Hercules, The Grey) – has been training to avenge himself on Ivan, the man that killed his older brother 21 years earlier. And now that his nemesis is out of prison, he gets his chance. But Asher’s target also happens to be his father.
No Greater Love (USA) 92 min.
The place is mountainous Kunar Province, Afghanistan, infamous for jihad, guerrilla warfare, and suicide bombers; and the soldier armed with the camera, not a gun, is Chaplain Justin Roberts. In this heartstopping and heart-wrenching documentary, distinguished by extraordinary combat footage, Roberts follows his comrades in the legendary ‘No Slack’ battalion from battlefield to home front where many veterans face other enemies: PTSD, depression and loneliness.
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (USA) 91 min.
A warm portrait of the father of hit shows like All in the Family, Maud and The Jeffersons. Now a spry 92, Lear reflects on his role as the first television producer to use the genre of American sitcom to address serious subjects – racism, feminism, and homosexuality. In the words of Robert Redford he “brought humanity, edge, humor and vulnerability into the mainstream.”
The Ones Below (UK) 87 min.
Affluent professionals Kate and Justin are expecting their first baby, as are sexy Teresa and domineering Jon, the mysterious new couple in the downstairs flat. Suppressing her fears about motherhood, Kate bonds with her extroverted neighbor until an awkward dinner party turns tragic and a burgeoning friendship implodes. A dash of Polanski and Haneke season this eerie, stylish debut feature by acclaimed UK theater director David Farr.
Presenting Princess Shaw (Israel) 80 min.
Samantha Montgomery, 38, lives alone in one of New Orleans’ toughest neighborhoods working as a caregiver for the elderly. But at night she transforms into Princess Shaw, belting out original songs at local clubs and posting homemade a cappella clips on YouTube. Completely unaware that a secret admirer – an Israeli musician living on a kibbutz outside Tel Aviv – will change her life forever.
Raiders! (USA) 106 min.
The 35th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark would not be complete without this true story of two 11- year-old Mississippi kids who in 1982 remade the Hollywood blockbuster scene by scene with a Super 8mm camera. After 7 turbulent years that tested their resolve and strained their friendship, there was one scene left un-filmed. Thirty-three years later, the ‘boys’ reunite to realize their childhood dream.
Rams (Iceland) 93 min.
Brothers Gummi and Kiddi have been estranged for years, living separate lives on neighboring sheep farms in rural Iceland. When a fatal disease suddenly infects Kiddi’s herd, he schemes to save the breed while this isolated community comes to grips with its own economic extinction. A wry, charmingly deadpan and poignant comedy, Rams is the recipient of 17 international festival awards.
Search Engines (USA) 98 min.
This imaginative satire focuses on man’s relationship to his cell phone and suggests that technology can lead us astray from meaning, purpose and love. It’s Thanksgiving, and family and friends have just gathered to celebrate togetherness. But when cell phone reception mysteriously goes dead throughout the house, 6 each character is thrown into crisis: marriages are tested, values questioned, and futures hang in the balance.
Seven Days in Nepal (USA) 62 min.
WORLD PREMIERE. On April 2015, just before noon in Nepal, an earthquake took everything the Bajagain family possessed: house, farm, cattle, happiness. This cinema verité documentary takes us into the devastation with New Orleans contractor Michael Fanasci, a Katrina survivor, and Minoj Ghimire, a Nepali student from Missouri, who bring much-needed building materials – and hope – to a devastated family.
Sidemen: Long Road to Glory (USA) 78 min.
An intimate look at the lives and legacies of piano player Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie Smith, and guitarist Hubert Sumlin, all of whom were Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf sidemen. This rousing film depicts these artists’ thru their last interviews and their final live performances together and features additional music and personal insights from blues and rock stars inspired by these legendary sidemen.
Songs My Brothers Taught Me (USA) 98 min.
Two siblings coping with the loss of their father forms the heart of Chloé Zhao’s stunning directorial debut set among the Lakota people of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. In her directorial debut, Zhao sketches a complex, sensitive portrait of a community connected not only thru a rich cultural heritage but also by deep inner conflicts that manifest themselves in destructive ways.
Sunset Song (UK) 135 min.
Master director Terence Davies brings an epic sweep and grandeur to this saga of a young woman who comes of age in rugged north Scotland and sees her family beset by tragedy and the ravages of WWI.Though burdened with a stern father and an alcoholic husband, Chris endures. A woman with a passion for life, she draws strength from the ancient land and looks to the future.
Tickled (New Zealand) 92 min.
After stumbling upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to Jane O’Brien Media… only to be threatened with extreme legal action. Not one to be bullied, he digs deeper, uncovering a vast empire of secret identities and criminal activity. “Tense and increasingly weird… painful and funny and deeply sad.” – Screen Daily
Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt (Israel) 125 min.
This no-holds documentary provides a rare insight into the philosopher, author and outspoken intellectual Hannah Arendt who incited anger, praise, devotion, and scorn up to and beyond her death in 1975. A German Jew who fled Europe for New York in 1941, Arendt coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe how someone as seemingly insignificant as Eichmann could be responsible for the Holocaust.
The Wrong Light (USA) 77 min.
Setting out to document a non-profit in Thailand dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking, two idealistic filmmakers uncover a shocking truth: none of the ‘saved’ girls were victims of the sex trade; and Mickey, its charismatic leader, is perpetrating a scam to extort money from wealthy Westerners. This just completed film is an illuminating expose of an insidious industry dubbed ‘poverty porn.’