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Zachary Richard, Cajun Heart

Zachary Richard, Cajun Heart, will make its U.S. Premiere as the opening night film of the 12th Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, followed by a gala reception with honored guests, Canadian filmmaker Phil Comeau and Zachary Richard.

This beautiful, cinematic showcase follows renowned singer Zachary Richard on his quest to understand why Acadians and Cajuns are such a resilient people and to assess the status of the Acadian identity today.  The film made its world premiere in November at the Festival International du Cinema Francophone en Acadie, where it played to a 700+ sold out crowd at the historic Capitol Theatre in Moncton and won the Festival’s Best Documentary and Audience Awards.

Tatara Samurai
Tatara Samurai

The annual eight-day Festival will close on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, with the U.S. Premiere of the feature film Tatara Samurai. The evening will end with a closing gala reception with honored guests, Japanese director Yoshinari Nishikori, executive producer Eugene Nomura and actors in the film, as well as a Japanese TV and press crew.

Set in 16th century Japan, this visually stunning film tells the story of a young master blacksmith who inherited an ancient steel-making technique, known as Tatara, for creating the purest form of steel used to craft samurai swords, but decides he can best defend his village by leaving to become a samurai and then returns to see his village embrace guns for defense with devastating results. The film made its world premiere in August at the Montreal World Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Artistic Contribution.

Pat Mire, founder and artistic director of the Festival said, “Our opening and closing night films, both U.S. Premieres, will be two of our most exciting red carpet events since the second year of the festival, when we sold out more than 800 seats at a local movie theater for our opening night film. We are extremely proud to open this year with a documentary film featuring our own, beloved Zachary Richard and our friend and COTB alum, the award-winning director Phil Comeau, and then to close out this truly international festival with a narrative film featuring an all-star Japanese cast and the award-winning director, Yoshinari Nishikori, as our guest.”

The eight-day Festival will screen 163 official selections from COTB’s open call for submissions from independent filmmakers around the world along with panels discussions, workshops, music and parties. Over 200 directors, producers, cinematographers, distributors, actors, grant sources and other industry professionals are expected to attend the festival from across the United States and Canada, as well as from Japan, Australia, India, the U.K. and France. Film screenings will take place at Acadiana Center for the Arts, Cité des Arts, the Vermilionville Performance Center, and the Lafayette Public Library South Regional Branch.

The 2017 festival lineup was chosen from a total pool of more than 1,200 submissions, and includes 106 narrative films, of which 22 are features and 84 are shorts; 40 documentary films, of which 23 are features and 17 are shorts, and 17 animated short films. The majority of the films are World, U.S. or Louisiana Premieres. Included within the official selections are 32 French-language films and 23 films from Japan, as well as films from Cuba, Spain, the U.K., India, Australia, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria, China, Mauritius, Cyprus, the United Republic of Tanzania, Canada, France and across the United States. Of the 163 official selections, 43 are directed by women, the highest percentage of women directors to date at the festival. Films in competition will be eligible to win our coveted “goujon caille” award created by local artist Pat Juneau and his son Andre.

Rebecca Hudsmith, who acts as the festival director, said “Once again, independent filmmakers new to the Cinema on the Bayou community, as well as many of our loyal alums, who continue to spread the word about what a great time is had at our festival, have given us the privilege of presenting their precious films to our audiences here in Acadiana. We look forward to providing them the nurturing environment, for which COTB is so well-known, within which they can thrive and be inspired to create their next great moving image.”

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