The 27th Annual New Orleans Film Festival will open with Rob Reiner’s, LBJ, which will screen at the Orpheum Theater on Wednesday, October 12. Closing the festival on Thursday, October 20 is a special 25th Anniversary showing of the recently re-mastered historic feature, Daughters of the Dust. In addition to opening and closing night Galas, the New Orleans Film Festival will also host the world premiere and special gala screening of Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table.
The nine-day festival will kick off with Rob Reiner’s LBJ, a New Orleans-shot drama tracing Johnson’s journey from the Senate to the Vice Presidency and into the Oval Office after Kennedy’s assassination. LBJ, which will have its World Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival this month, will screen at the Orpheum Theater on Wednesday, October 12. At the opening night screening event, Reiner will be honored with NOFF’s Career Achievement Award in recognition of his contributions to the motion picture landscape. The award will be presented by Woody Harrelson, who portrays Lyndon Johnson in the film. Following the screening and award presentation, audiences will form a traditional second-line parade, marching through city streets from the Orpheum Theater to the Opening Night Party.
“Rob Reiner’s impressive body of work offers a prismatic insight into the gamut of human emotion. His stories are an indelible part of our cultural memory—from genre-defining mockumentary to side-splitting comedy, from the fairy tale cult classic to an of-the-moment political narrative like LBJ. We are so grateful he has found a home for some of his stories here in Louisiana. We look forward to welcoming him back and celebrating his career on opening night of the New Orleans Film Festival,”
-Jolene Pinder, Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society
The Festival will close with a special 25th anniversary screening of Daughters of the Dust, the seminal 1991 film that recently underwent a complete digital restoration. With this film, director Julie Dash became the first African American woman to have a wide and general theatrical release of her feature film. During the closing night festivities at Ace Hotel New Orleans, Dash will also receive NOFF’s Career Achievement Award.
“Julie Dash has been a hero to an entire generation of filmmakers—and filmgoers. Demonstrating a strong point of view and wholly original visual style, she represents the kind of groundbreaking auteur that the New Orleans Film Festival seeks out and celebrates. Her body of work as a director continues to influence artists today, and her work as an educator and mentor has truly shaped the cinematic voices of tomorrow. We are excited to spotlight her work and career with this special screening and award.” -Clint Bowie, Director of Programming for the New Orleans Film Society
On Friday, October 14 the New Orleans Film Festival will host the world premiere gala screening of Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, from Oscar and Emmy-nominated director Leslie Iwerks, and narrated by actress Patricia Clarkson. The documentary tells the story of the legendary New Orleans restaurateur often credited with bringing Creole-style “wining and dining” into the American mainstream, helping to instigate the modern American food movement and pioneering the idea of the celebrity chef.
The 27th Annual New Orleans Film Festival runs October 12 – 20, 2016.
dir. Rob Reiner | 97 min | USA
After powerful Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (Woody Harrelson) loses the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination to Senator John F. Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan), he agrees to be his young rival’s running mate. But once they win the election, despite his extensive legislative experience and shrewd political instincts, Johnson finds himself sidelined in the role of vice president. That all changes on Nov. 22, 1963, when Kennedy is assassinated and Johnson, with his devoted wife Lady Bird (Jennifer Jason Leigh) by his side, is suddenly thrust into the presidency. As the nation mourns, Johnson must contend with longtime adversary Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (Michael Stahl-David) and one-time mentor Georgia Senator Richard Russell (Richard Jenkins) as he seeks to honor JFK’s legacy by championing the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Daughters of the Dust
dir. Julie Dash | 113 min | USA
At the dawn of the 20th century, a multigenerational family in the Gullah community in the Sea Islands off of South Carolina—former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions—suffers a generational split. An older group of sisters return after migrating north to New York with intentions of bringing the rest of their family back across the water to the mainland with them. But, tensions arrive when the newly Americanized sisters view their homeland’s way of living as backwards, all while Nana, the family elder who embodies the traditions and folklore of their African roots, is struggling to keep the family together and to pass on the knowledge of their ancestors.
Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table
dir. Leslie Iwerks | 96 min | USA
Ella Brennan is a household name in the restaurant industry, known today as the inspirational matriarch of the rambling Brennan family of New Orleans and the force of nature behind the first Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace. She helped create the idea of the celebrity chef and launched the careers of dozens of restaurateurs and chefs including Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. Interviews and verite footage with current and former chefs from Commander’s Palace, restaurateurs, peers, family, and friends provide past and present glimpses into Ella’s unique life and world. Told by Academy Award and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks, this is the intimate and inspiring story of a true American icon.