IN THEATERS: We Are Your Friends, War Room, Z for Zachariah

by Arthur Vandelay on August 28, 2015

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It’s been hotter than hell, and although the temperature has finally started to drop, going to the theater this weekend should still be at the top of your to-do list. If the films below don’t float your fancy, there’s still holdovers like Jurassic World and Straight Outta Compton, both of which are excellent.

We Are Your Friends

Caught between a forbidden romance and the expectations of his friends, aspiring DJ Cole Carter attempts to find the path in life that leads to fame and fortune. 96 min. Rated R.

Z for Zachariah

In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors. 95 min. Rated PG-13.

War Room

A seemingly perfect family look to fix their problems with the help of Miss Clara, an older, wiser woman. 120 min. Rated PG.

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A little over a year ago, we cast Katherine Haik in a New Year’s fashion shoot for Scene Magazine. Now the Louisiana native has a full year of responsibilities ahead of her as the newly crowned Miss Teen USA. Congrats, Katherine!

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CREDITS:
Photos: Hunter Holder
Photo Asst: Kelli Binnings
Stylist: Andi Eaton
Style Asst: Amanda Clark
Hair: Micah Nickens
Hair Asst: Michelle Bordelon
Makeup: Tiffany Brown

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IN THEATERS: American Ultra, Hitman: Agent 47, Sinister 2

by Caitlin Brimer on August 21, 2015

BL5U8500.CR2The Louisiana-shot stoner flick American Ultra opens this weekend. The Social Network‘s Jesse Eisenberg stars opposite Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart. The script was written by Max Landis. Check it out.

The last major action movie of the summer, Hitman: Agent 47, promises to bring the epic explosions and one liners that moviegoers want. In 2007, the first screen adaptation of the video game, Hitman, grossed about $100 million worldwide. Fans of the video game series may be disappointed to see the game’s focus on stealth translated to loud action on the screen, but the reboot looks to be ninety-six minutes of the kind of mayhem gamers love to play. Hopefully, they’ll love to see that play out on the big screen.

In addition to the video game adaption, the Louisiana-filmed American Ultra and sequel Sinister 2 open in theaters this Friday.

Hitman: Agent 47

An assassin helps a woman find her husband and unearth countless tales of her ancestry. The action film stars Zachary Quinto and Rupert Friend. 96 min. Rated R.

American Ultra

The Adventureland romantic duo have teamed up again for the Louisiana-shot film American Ultra. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star as two slackers in love. He’s about to propose and then wham, he’s a secret spy, and the government is trying to eliminate him. Prepare to see Eisenberg and Stewart go full Jason Bourne in this film. 96 min. Rated R.

Sinister 2

The sequel to the 2012 hit horror movie follows a young mother and her twin sons moving into a rural house haunted by an evil spirit. 96 min. Rated R.

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LINEUP: 2015 New Orleans Film Festival

by Arthur Vandelay on August 19, 2015

Orpheum-webThe New Orleans Film Society has announced its features and documentaries in competition. The festival will open at the newly renovated Orpheum theater.

Here’s the press release:

New Orleans Film Society Announces 26th Annual New Orleans Film Festival

24 feature films selected for juried competition

New Orleans, La. (August 18, 2015)—The New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) announces the 26th annual New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF), taking place October 14–22 at venues across the city. The festival kicks off Wednesday, October 14, at the newly-restored Orpheum Theater and features 173 selections from NOFF’s open call for submissions from independent filmmakers, in addition to more than one dozen additional films that have acquired distribution.

“The sustained growth of the festival demonstrates that Louisiana is an established hub of the entertainment industry,” says New Orleans Film Society Executive Director Jolene Pinder, “and the New Orleans Film Festival serves as a barometer for what’s happening in the state.”

The 2015 festival lineup was chosen from a total pool of more than 3,400 submissions, a record number for the festival, and a 58 percent increase over the previous year. Submissions poured in from 100 countries—the largest and farthest submissions pool in the history of the festival. This year marks NOFF’s first as an Oscar®-qualifying festival, in the category of documentary shorts. The winner of the short documentary jury award will qualify to be nominated for an Academy Award®.

“I’m really proud of our selections and the quality of storytelling we’re bringing to our audiences,” said New Orleans Film Society Program Director Clint Bowie. “Each year new themes emerge that are clearly resonating in the independent film community. From stories of life in Cuba to fictional worlds far from our own, these films challenge our viewers to look at life from a different perspective.”

The 2015 Festival showcases 24 feature films selected for competition: eight films in the Narrative Films in Competition category, seven films in the Documentary Films in Competition category and nine films in the Louisiana Features category (by Louisiana filmmakers). Of the 24 films, seven will have their World Premieres at this year’s fest.

Opening, centerpiece and closing-night feature films will be announced in the coming weeks.

NARRATIVE FILMS IN COMPETITION

“Cover Me”

dir. Garrett Bradley | USA | 2015 | 60 min. | Louisiana Premiere

Returning to New Orleans, a young musician grapples with isolation in a changing landscape as it permeates her romantic relationships and artistic career. This film is the result of a remarkable artistic collaboration between director Bradley and avant-garde artist Tameka Norris, who plays the leading role in the picture. (Also in competition as a Louisiana Feature.)

“Cowards Do It Slow”

dir. Sean Loftus & Michael Padraic Scahill | USA | 2015 | 99 min. | World Premiere

A love letter to American films of the 1970s and late-night bar culture, “Cowards Do It Slow” looks into the funny, dark heart of an aspiring country singer, a Kentucky boy trying to take his career to the next level as he drunkenly stumbles through the Chicago nightlife and holds on to the spoils that come with it.

“Driving While Black”

dir. Paul Sapiano | USA | 2015 | 94 min. | Louisiana Premiere

A dark comedy about racial profiling, “Driving While Black” follows Dimitri (played by Dominique Purdy, who also co-wrote the script), who delivers pizzas for a living in Los Angeles. But as a young black man, he is faced with more than his fair share of unnecessary attention from the cops.

“Embers”

dir. Claire Carré | USA, Poland | 2015 | 86 min. | Southern Premiere

After a global neurological epidemic, those who remain search for meaning and connection in a world without memory. Five interwoven stories explore how we might learn, love and communicate in a future that has no past.

“fRENCH DIRTy”

dir. Wade Allain-Marcus & Jesse Allain-Marcus | USA | 2015 | 72 min. | Southern Premiere 

Against the skyline of Los Angeles, Vincent ruminates on his parents’ failed marriage, his own arrested development and the choice he must make to become a better man.

“It Had To Be You”

dir. Sasha Gordon | USA, Italy | 2015 | 83 min. | Louisiana premiere

Surprised by a sudden proposal and subsequent ultimatum from her boyfriend, Sonia has three days to decide which path her life will take. A whimsical romantic comedy that’s raunchy and yet gentle, “It Had To Be You” explores the choices women face today, while satirizing cultural expectations of gender and romance.

“Jackie Boy”

dir. Cody Campanale | Canada | 2015 | 87 min. | World Premiere

This gritty character drama centers on Jack, a self-destructive womanizer who substitutes his emotional insecurities with drinks, drugs and one-night stands. It’s only when he meets fiery, spirited Jasmine that he decides to change his ways. Little does he know she has something different in mind.

“Jason and Shirley”

dir. Stephen Winter | USA | 2015 | 79 min. | Louisiana Premiere

“Jason and Shirley” imagines what went on behind the scenes during the filming of the landmark 1967 documentary “Portrait of Jason,” as Jason Holliday regales filmmaker Shirley Clarke with stories of racism, homophobia, abuse and prostitution in pre-Stonewall New York City.

DOCUMENTARY FILMS IN COMPETITION: 

“Deal With It”

dir. Shamira Raphaëla | The Netherlands | 2014 | 58 min. | Southern Premiere

In this intimate family portrait, we enter the chaotic and colorful world of director Shamira Raphaëla’s loved ones: her drug-addicted father, Pempy, and her brother, Andy, who is following in his father’s footsteps. “Deal With It” is a raw and personal film about destructive family patterns and unconditional love.

“Hotel Nueva Isla”

dir. Irene Gutierrez | Spain, Cuba | 2014 | 71 min. | Louisiana Premiere 

Despite the building’s imminent collapse, the last inhabitant of a once luxurious hotel in Old Havana refuses to leave: he remains convinced that treasures—hidden by the hotel’s original owners—lie waiting within its walls. The film is a meditation on a country that exists in a state of permanent resistance.

“Missing People”

dir. David Shapiro | USA | 2015 | 81 min. | Louisiana Premiere

This tense, nonfiction mystery unfurls around Martina Batan, the director of a prominent New York City gallery who investigates her brother’s long unsolved murder, while obsessively collecting and researching the violent work and life of Roy Ferdinand, a self-taught artist from New Orleans.

“Portrait of a Lone Farmer”

dir. Jide Tom Akinleminu | Germany, Nigeria, Denmark | 2013 | 76 min. | Louisiana Premiere

When filmmaker Jide Tom Akinleminu returns to his father’s chicken farm in Nigeria, his initial intention is to create a film about his parents’ marriage. But life, as is often the case, has other plans.

“Scrum”

dir. Poppy Stockell | Australia | 2015 | 54 min. | Southern Premiere

In the lead up to the 2014 Bingham Cup, the lives of a self-assured Canadian jock, a chubby Irish backpacker and a stoic Japanese outsider change when they vie for a position on the Sydney Convicts, the world’s premiere, gay rugby team.

“The Seventh Fire”

dir. Jack Pettibone Riccobono | USA | 2015 | 78 min. | Louisiana Premiere

Terrence Malick presents this haunting and visually arresting nonfiction film about the gang crisis on Indian reservations, through the stories of a Native American gang leader recently sentenced to prison for a fifth time, and his 17-year-old protege.

“Touch the Light (Tocando La Luz)”

dir. Jennifer Redfearn | Cuba, USA | 2015 | 72 min. | Southern Premiere

In this intimate, character-driven film from Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Jennifer Redfearn, three blind women from Havana, confront their heartbreaks and hopes, and navigate their profound desire for independence.

LOUISIANA FEATURES 

“Consequence”

dir. Jonathan Nguyen & Ashley George | USA | 2015 | 81 min. | World Premiere

The lives of three college coeds are shaken after a weekend camping trip results in the accidental death of a fellow student. Instead of reporting the accident, they decide to conceal the student’s death, a decision that seems logical at first, but slowly begins to eat away at their friendship—and their sanity.

“Delta Justice: The Islenos Trappers War”

dir. David DuBos | USA | 2015 | 48 min. | World Premiere

“Delta Justice” gives a true account of St. Bernard Parish’s violent fight over land rights in the mid-1920s. The film sheds new light on an important, yet little-known part of Louisiana’s history.

“Dog Man”

dir. Richie Adams | USA | 2015 | 57 min. | World Premiere

“Dog Man” recounts the life story of world-renowned trainer Dick Russell, who worked with an estimated 30,000 dogs through his basic obedience class in South Louisiana and introduced the pivotal training technique of Large Field Socialization to North America.

“Forgive and Forget”

dir. Aaron Abdin | USA | 2015 | 101 min. | World Premiere

Brian believes that he has a loving wife, brothers and grandmother but, after a tragic accident claims the life of one of his brothers, the entire family collapses into a mass of secrets, lies and emotional turmoil. Brian is led down a road of discovery, which forces him to choose between holding onto the past or striding towards the future.

“The King of New Orleans”

dir. Allen Frederic | USA | 2015 | 83 min. | Louisiana Premiere

In pre-Katrina New Orleans, Larry Shirt is an aging taxi driver whose fares include the city’s hustlers, tourists, socialites, musicians, housekeepers, weirdos and reporters, as well as an aimless student, with whom he shares a special bond.

“Love Me True”

dir. Kirby Voss | USA | 2015 | 85 min. | World Premiere

A debilitating fetish for blond-haired women constantly thwarts any chance that Eric has for happiness, until a hairless man named Stanley enters his apartment and claims to be the reincarnation of Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky.

“The Mourning Hills”

dir. R. Todd Campbell | USA | 2014 | 81 min. | New Orleans Premiere

Mattie and Kate are sisters. They’re also orphans. Their mother died in a tragic accident, while their father took his own life in the beautiful and terrifying wilderness known as “The Mourning Hills.” When Mattie convinces Kate to run away with her, they decide to head for the very place where their father made them orphans.

“The Phantasmagorical Clarence John Laughlin”

dir. Gene Fredericks | USA | 2015 | 88 min. | North American Premiere

This documentary explores the enigmatic life of New Orleans native Clarence John Laughlin, considered the father of American Surrealist photography and often described as “Edgar Allan Poe with a camera.” The film includes the only known video footage of this unique individual, taken in 1977.

“Yazoo Revisited: Integration and Segregation in a Deep Southern Town”

dir. David Rae Morris | USA | 2015 | 84 min. | Louisiana Premiere

This film examines the history of race relations and the 1970 integration of the public schools in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Featuring interviews with local citizens of many ages and backgrounds, “Yazoo Revisited” paints a fascinating picture of the triumphs and failures of the Civil Rights Era.

NOFF PASSES & TICKETING SCHEDULE: 

Sep. 1: All-Access Passes available for purchase.

Oct. 1: Tickets available for All-Access Pass holders and New Orleans Film Society Producers Circle and Quarter Century Club members.

Oct. 7: Tickets available for purchase for New Orleans Film Society members Oct. 12: Main box office opens, tickets on sale to the public.

ABOUT THE NEW ORLEANS FILM SOCIETY 

Since 1989, the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) has engaged, educated and inspired through the art of film. This year marks the 26th anniversary of the New Orleans Film Festival. NOFS hosts special events throughout the year: the French Film Festival, the New Orleans International Children’s Film Festival and other events designed to benefit local film audiences, artists and professionals. NOFS partners with local organizations to present monthly film series. NOFS reaches 32,000 people year-round through its programming. NOFS is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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With remakes and sequels flooding the summer box office, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. follows suit as a reboot of the classic 1960s television show. The movie portrays the first case shared by the rival agents, acting as a prequel to the series. Other movies opening this Friday include the hip-hop biopic Straight Outta Compton and Final Girl.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

A CIA agent and a KGB operative take part in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization. Written and directed by Guy Ritchie, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. stars Alicia Vikander, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. 116 min. Rated PG-13.

Straight Outta Compton

NWA emerges from the streets of Compton and hits the screens of Hollywood. The most controversial hip-hip pioneers cause havoc in pop culture in the mid-80s. Paul Giamatti, Keith Stanfield, Aldis Hodge, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell and Corey Hawkins star in the story about the group and their life in the hood. 157 min. Rated R.

Final Girl

A sadistic group of teenage boys lure the shy new girl into the woods, only to discover she’s an assassin-in-training whose final test to hunt and kill them. 90 min. Rated R.

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Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams in ‘I Saw the Light’

by Arthur Vandelay

Although we’ve seen Tom Hiddleston tease his Hank Williams already, there hasn’t been any official photos released of the Thor actor as the country legend. Until now. Here’s your first look at Hank, whose the focus of the new narrative feature I Saw the Light, which shot in Shreveport, Louisiana last year. The biopic is currently set to […]

TRAILER: New Orleans-Shot Drama ‘Trumbo’

by Arthur Vandelay

The trailer for Trumbo has been released. The New Orleans-shot drama stars Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo, the famous screenwriter who took on Washington by refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Famously, he wouldn’t “name names” of those who might be Communists working in the motion picture industry. For it, he was blacklisted from work. […]

TEASER: Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’

by Arthur Vandelay

It’s been more than a year since director Quentin Tarantino first started sharing his Hateful Eight script around Hollywood, only to have someone leak it online. The writer/director, who won an Oscar for his New Orleans-shot effort Django Unchained, has since reworked the script for Eight. Here’s the trailer.

POSTER: New Orleans-Shot ‘Trumbo’

by Arthur Vandelay

The post for the New Orleans-shot film Trumbo has been released. Directed by Jay Roach, the film stars Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.