The Invader’s Guide to the New Orleans Film Festival: Our Top 15 Picks

Celebrating its 25th year, the New Orleans Film Society has assembled another stellar lineup of big-name films along with international and local cinema productions. With screenings, parties, and panels spread throughout the city for an entire week (October 16-23), NOFF is sure to be great time. With 237 films at this year’s New Orleans Film Festival – a mixture of shorts and features, narratives and documentaries, experimental and animation – choosing what to see is an almost impossible endeavor.

So, to help you decide what to films to check out, we have compiled a modest list of our Top 15 picks:

 

Dear White People
(Dir. Justin Simien)

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The lives of four black students at an Ivy League college converge after controversy breaks out due to the ill-conceived theme of a campus Halloween party.

Premiering earlier this year at Sundance, it was a huge hit that garnered critical acclaim for its sharp wit and society-probing commentary on modern-day race relations.


 

Below Dreams
(Dir. Garrett Bradley)

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Against the backdrop of New York and New Orleans, Elliott, Leanne and Jermaine question their ability to dream amidst a crumbling economic climate.

Many local artists appear in the film, including Meschiya Lake, Mario Abney and Vockah Redu, who will also perform with Cru for a one-night only special performance after the film’s first screening

 

Big Charity: The Death of America’s Hospital
(Dir. Alexander Glustrom)

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Never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews tell the story of Charity Hospital, from its founding in 1736 to its controversial closing during the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

 

Imperial Dreams
(Dir. Malik Vitthal)

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With the re-emergence of a young ex-convict into the precarious world of the Watts projects, he struggles to forge a path of dignity against the gravitational pull of gangs and institutions that monitor his every step.

The Audience Award winner at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

 

Foxcatcher
(Dir. Bennett Miller)

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The story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, who sees a way out from the shadow of his more celebrated wrestling brother, David, and a life of poverty when he is summoned by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont to move onto his estate and train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In the process, du Pont lures Mark into dangerous habits, breaks his confidence and drives him into a self-destructive spiral.

One of the most anticipated films of the year that has already garnered massive critical acclaim at the Toronto and Telluride film festivals. Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, and Vanessa Redgrave.

 

Whiplash
(Dir. Damien Chazelle)

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A promising young drummer enrolls at a cutthroat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

Winner of both the Grand Jury and Audience awards at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Starring Miles Teller, Paul Reiser, and J.K. Simmons.

 

Wetlands
(Dir. David Wnendt)

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The adventures of an eccentric girl who has strange attitudes toward hygiene and sexuality longs for the reunion of her divorced parents.

Billed as “the most WTF, NSFW movie of the year” and “raunchy, post-millennial art,” this German comedy is equal parts fascinating and repulsive. One of the most talked about films on this year’s festival circuit.

 

White Bird in a Blizzard
(Dir. Gregg Araki)

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In 1988, a teenage girl’s life is thrown into chaos when her mother disappears.

From one of the most influential LGBT directors and based on the novel by Laura Kasischke. Starring Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Thomas Jane, Gabourey Sidibe, Christopher Meloni and Angela Bassett.

 

Fort Tilden
(Dirs. Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers)

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A comedy about Allie and Harper and their needlessly difficult journey to the beach. A hilariously insightful and recognizable look at the consequences of extended adolescence.

Winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Feature

 

Big Moccasin
(Dir. Chelsea Moynehan)

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An intimate portrait of an area and its people, riddled with complexity, but painted with simplicity. Life, friendships, and death on Big Moccasin Road – a 25 mile stretch of pavement in the Appalachian Mountains.

 

Big Bad Art
(Dir. Ben Cannon)

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This no-holds-barred look at the making of Brooklyn hip may just be the funniest documentary to ever come busting out of the art world.

 

Homemakers
(Dir. Colin Healey)

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A rootless young singer with a penchant for destruction must reconcile her domestic fantasies as she attempts to restore her late grandfather’s abandoned Pittsburgh home.

 

Flood Tide
(Dir. Todd Chandler)

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The story of a group of artists and musicians who create extraordinary boats out of ordinary junk and set out for open water.

 

Proud Citizen
(Dir. Thom Southerland)

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After winning second place in a play writing contest, Bulgarian Krasimira Stanimirova travels to Kentucky for the premiere of her dark, Communist-era autobiographical play.

 

61 Bullets
(Dir.  David  Modigli)

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Bullets ricochet through the marble corridors of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge and two men are fatally wounded – Senator Huey P. Long, the most powerful man in Louisiana, and Dr. Carl Weiss, a respected physician and Long’s presumed assailant. Two families grasp for closure in the wake of a tragedy as the Weisses seek to clear their family name and the Longs strive to defend the legacy of their patriarch.

 

 

Check out the full lineup of films, panels, and parties, plus ticket and membership info, check out the New Orleans Film Society website.