The New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) revealed one more Centerpiece Film: Roma from Academy Award®-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón, and five new titles from its Spotlight Films lineup for the upcoming 29th edition which will take place October 17th through October 25th in venues across New Orleans. These films join an already impressive lineup that includes Green Book, Widows, and Wildlife.
Roma premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where it was awarded the Golden Lion, the festival’s top juried prize, and received acclaim from critics and audiences alike. It later screened at Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was named the second runner-up for the People’s Choice Award. It has been selected as the Mexican entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards®.
The festival also announced the addition of several new Spotlight Films, including If Beale Street Could Talk, the new film by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins that took home the first runner-up prize for the People’s Choice Award after its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Also included in the new announcement of Spotlight Films is Boy Erased, the new film from Joel Edgerton starring Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges, and Russell Crowe; Vox Lux, starring Natalie Portman; The Biggest Little Farm, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival; and the Mickey Rourke boxing movie Tiger, which also stars Janel Parrish and Prem Singh.
ROMA | dir. Alfonso Cuarón | 135 mins | 2018
Monday, October 22, at 7:30pm, The Prytania Theatre
The most personal project to date from Academy Award®-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien), Roma follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s. Cuarón’s first project since the groundbreaking Gravity in 2013, Roma will be available in theaters and on Netflix later this year.
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK | dir. Barry Jenkins |117 min | 2018
Sunday, October 21, at 8:30pm at the Main Theater at the CAC
Academy Award®–winning writer/director Barry Jenkins’ first film since the Best Picture Oscar-winning Moonlight is If Beale Street Could Talk, his adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel—the first English-language feature film based on the work of the author, to whom the movie is dedicated.
Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the African-American family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (screen newcomer KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
Through the unique intimacy and power of cinema, If Beale Street Could Talk honors the author’s prescient words and imagery, charting the emotional currents navigated in an unforgiving and racially biased world as the filmmaker poetically crosses time frames to show how love and humanity endure.
BOY ERASED | dir. Joel Edgerton | 114 min | 2018
Wednesday, October 23, at 7:30pm at the Prytania Theatre
Boy Erased tells the story of Jared (Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small Southern town, who is outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) at age 19. Jared is faced with an ultimatum: attend a conversion therapy program—or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith. Boy Erased is the true story of one young man’s struggle to find himself while being forced to question every aspect of his identity.
VOX LUX | dir. Brady Corbet | 110 min| USA | 2019
Tuesday, October 23, at 8:45pm at the Main Theater at the CAC
Vox Lux begins in 1999 when teenage sisters Celeste and Eleanor survive a seismic, violent tragedy. The sisters compose and perform a song about their experience, making something lovely and cathartic out of catastrophe—while also catapulting Celeste to stardom. By 2017, the now 31-year-old Celeste is mother to a teenage daughter of her own and struggling to navigate a career fraught with scandals when another act of terrifying violence demands her attention.
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM | dir. John Chester | 91 min | USA | 2018
Wednesday, October 24, at 8:15pm at the Main Theater at the CAC
A testament to the immense complexity of nature, The Biggest Little Farm follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. When the barking of their beloved dog Todd leads to an eviction notice from their tiny LA apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and onto 200 acres in the foothills of Ventura County, naively endeavoring to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature. The land they’ve chosen, however, is utterly depleted of nutrients and suffering from a brutal drought. The film chronicles eight years of daunting work and outsize idealism as they attempt to create the utopia they seek, planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind– including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster. When the farm’s ecosystem finally begins to reawaken, so does the Chesters’ hope – but as their plan to create perfect harmony takes a series of wild turns, they realize that to survive they will have to reach a far greater understanding of the intricacies and wisdom of nature, and of life itself.
TIGER | dir. Alister Grierson | 100 min | USA | 2018
Friday, October 19, at 7:30pm at the Prytania Theatre
Inspired by the true story of a practicing Sikh man who was banned from the sport of boxing due to his religious beliefs, Tiger follows Pardeep Singh Nagra (Prem Singh) as he faces racial profiling, threats, and the daily pressure to change, even from his loved ones who are caught in the crossfire. Pardeep, supported by his coach and mentor Frank (Mickey Rourke), does what any headstrong American would do: fight back. Enlisting the help of civil rights lawyer Charlotte (Janel Parrish), Pardeep sues for the right to stay in the ring. Raw and uplifting, Tiger tracks the courageous path of a man whose life is shaped by two battles; one in the courtroom, the other in the ring.