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24th annual New Orleans Film Festival

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As a 24-year veteran on the regional film festival circuit, the New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) has firmly established itself as one of the most reputable in the country. Last year, it was named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the 25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, and was also named by Premium Beat as one of the Fifteen Fests You Should Enter. Born in a city known for its eclecticism and artistic vibrance, NOFF seeks out bold and passionate storytellers. With top-notch programming in one of the world's most cinematic cities, NOFF serves up a dose of southern hospitality that's hard to beat. Last year's festival 200 films screen over the course of eight days, and also hosted a number of panels and conversations, featuring representatives from major U.S. distributors (like Neal Block from Magnolia Pictures) and other leaders in the industry (like Michelle Satter, founder of the feature film program at Sundance).

The festival drew more than 17,000 total attendees, including over 170 filmmakers who attended to show their work.Filmmakers found themselves hatching plans for future projects over red beans and rice, meeting new filmmaking collaborators while dancing to tunes spun by DJ Spooky, and rubbing elbows with Oscar winners during the filmmaker brunch at the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans.

NOFF is dedicated to nurturing new voices and making our filmmakers feel like they've found a second home here in New Orleans. Given this commitment, NOFF has, in recent years, provided two complimentary nights of lodging for every attending filmmaker, along with a Festival All-Access pass to enjoy all films, parties, and more.The festival's recent growth has dovetailed with the region's continued expansion as a major film and television production hub.

The city is, after all, home to Court 13, the filmmaking collaborative responsible for Beasts of the Southern Wild, as well as Bill Ross, co-director of the multiple award-winning films Tchoupitoulas and 45365. It's also where an increasing number of big-budget and small-budget Hollywood films are shot (including Django Unchained and Looper).

NOFF taps into this local talent pool and industry presence, allowing festival goers to benefit from the experience and knowledge that the filmmaking community in New Orleans has to offer. It's also not uncommon to find celebrities, in town shooting films, at festival screenings (John Goodman attended opening night recently, and James Franco was at a Sunday afternoon documentary screening last year). Every year, the festival offers awards to films in seven different categories.

Last year's total value was over $70,000 in camera packages, film stock, cash prizes, and software. (One of NOFF's earliest winners was a documentary by first-time director Todd Phillips who has gone on to direct The Hangover and Old School.) Jurors for these awards represent some of the most talented leaders in the industry, including the likes of Oscar winners Melissa Leo, Tia Lessin, and Luke Matheny; IndieWire contributors Matt Singer and Nigel Smith; Independent Lens producer Lois Vossen; Variety reporter Jeff Sneider; actor Wendell Pierce (The Wire); and godfather of Third Cinema Kidlat Tahimik. Some of the filmmakers who have presented their films at NOFF in the past couple of years include Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty), Joshua Sanchez (Four), Oscar-winner Jonathan Demme (I'm Carolyn Parker), Melanie Shatzky (Francine), D.A. Pennebaker (Don't Look Back), Yoav Potash (Crime After Crime).

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