The New Orleans Film Festival always shines a spotlight on films shot in Louisiana or made by Louisiana filmmakers. The 2011 schedule includes a diverse array of local films. Opening night includes both Brawler and The Big Fix.
Brawler was both filmed and set in New Orleans. Starring Bryan Batt (Mad Men), it's the story of brothers involved in illicit boxing matches. The Big Fix is Josh Tickell's (Fuel) documentary about the BP oil disaster (trailer above). Like a string of recent documentaries about environmental challenges (Crude, The 11th Hour) it relies on some star power (Peter Fonda, Jason Mraz) to draw attention to environmental degradation and activism.
There are several films addressing post-Katrina rebuilding issues. Flood Streets is a feature based on Helen Krieger's collection of short stories In the Land of What Now. It collects the tales of various Bywater residents trying to rebuild after the storm and features appearances by local musicians and bands including the New Orleans Bingo! Show. I'm Carolyn Parker: The Good, The Mad and The Beautiful is a documentary about Carolyn Parker, a resident of the Lower 9th Ward who was the last to evacuate her neighborhood and the first to return.
The Experiment is former WWL-TV reporter Ben Lemoine's documentary about New Orleans charter school movement. It follows five children (ages 9-11) and their families as their parents try to secure the best educational opportunities for them. It's ambitious to try to capture the complexity of the issue, and Lemoine crafted a pointed and thorough investigation of the role schools play in their communities and in shaping children's futures.
(more films and trailers after the jump - including Dale Brown, Swamp Shark and more.)
Man in the Glass: The Dale Brown Story is a heroic portrait of Brown that captures his charm and eccentricity. It's sure to please LSU basketball fans, but also works as a motivational speech. Review here.
Swamp Shark is a shark film filmed and set in Acadiana. It stars Kristy Swanson (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Buffer the Vampire Slayer) and she will attend the Tuesday screening at Chalmette Movies.
Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center hosts a screening of Helen Hill's The Florestine Collection. Hill was an award-winning filmmaker who was killed in her home in 2007. This film was completed by her husband Paul Gailiunas, who will attend the Tuesday screening and a reception afterward.
The documentary King Crawfish is about the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Cajun culture and efforts to preserve the crawfishing industry.
Also of local note is Who the Hell is Tony Green? about musician/artist Tony Green.
There also are several showcases of narrative and documentary shorts filmed in Louisiana. See the New Orleans Film Society site for details.