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New Orleans Film Society

by Greta Hagen-Richardson, New Orleans Film Festival Programmer

Submitting your film to a festival can be a scary, stressful, and opaque process. Despite years as a programmer, I did not fully appreciate the lack of clarity most filmmakers have around what happens after you click submit on FilmFreeway. It took producing a few films to understand that often, filmmakers feel as if they are taking their hard-earned final product and pushing into a void with no sense of who or what it might encounter.

I can only speak to my personal experiences. Festivals vary widely and taste can change frequently depending on who is in the room. …


by Kate Mason, New Orleans Film Festival Programmer

Between the creative spark and festival submissions, it’s easy for a filmmaker to second guess every decision they make. One of the long-standing problems in the entertainment industry is the proliferation of media that tends to follow the same characters, the same stories, and the same formal conventions. Film festival programmers say they look for work that provides a counterpoint to these mainstream tropes, but I’m not sure if I’m not the only one who has noticed that independent films have their own visual and narrative lexicon that can get quite repetitive. Below are three short films I think about…


by Jonathan Kieran, New Orleans Film Festival Programmer

Despite the truism that “no one knows anything” when it comes to what makes a successful film, there’s an awful lot of advice pointed at filmmakers. And I’m about to jump right into that pile of people who ought to know better than to try to speak with authority on the matter. I guess I’m compelled to do this because I find much of what’s handed out as filmmaking advice to be generic, obvious, and/or repetitive.

This is particularly true when the source of advice is festival programmers, perhaps because we’re not quite comfortable with our role as gatekeepers, or…


by Monique Verdin for South Summit 2021

The South I know best stretches from the bottomland hardwood forests, to the marshes, to the crystal quartz barrier islands found across the coastal territories of the Gulf of Mexico’s northern rim, from Houma, Louisiana to Pensacola, Florida. I’ve been thinking a lot about all the stories that I don’t know; discovering the meanings of names of places I have driven by hundreds of times; learning that these names, these places, Pascagoula, Biloxi, Mobile, are more than the names of places, they are names of forgotten Peoples and of Rivers that feed estuaries, connecting the lands and freshwaters to the…


by Lee Laa Ray Guillory for South Summit 2021

Standing knee deep in murky water, I unravel the tail end of my braid to welcome the water’s embrace. I mark my presence with a deep sigh then inhale the musty scent of the Mississippi river. My breath is stolen by the distant melody of a song I can’t quite discern from the gawking of a pelican loitering near my abandoned sandals. A reverb of metallic whistles strikes my ears, disrupting the rhythm of my breath and inspiring the bird to retreat into the smoke of the Louisiana sky. The sound grows closer and reveals itself as the Steamboat Natchez…


by Michelle Lanier (memory keeper, filmmaker, and folklorist) for South Summit 2021

What are the containers that hold our hearts?

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot these days.

I was taught to know this.

Cherished things went in a King Edward Imperial Cigars box, a massive Columbia Metropolitan Area phone book (with white, blue, pink and yellow pages), the Webster’s dictionary, heavy pots, prayer books, deep freezers, grease cans, rag bags, jewel boxes, pocket books, and lingerie drawers.

Heartstrings were tucked like stray strands of hair into hiding places, saving places, dark-dark places.

Waverly (historic Oasis Space of Columbia, Afro-Carolina) was and is one such heart-shaped box.

She was a…


by Adam Forrester for South Summit 2021

In 2019, on a brisk November evening in New York, I was wearing every piece of winter clothing that I brought with me, yet it wasn’t enough to keep me warm. I was in New York for a film festival and had memorized my route from one part of the festival to another — two long blocks east, five short blocks south — and tried to walk with the confidence and poise that I saw most of the city’s pedestrians display. …

New Orleans Film Society

We produce the Oscar®-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival annually and invest year-round in building a vibrant film culture in the South.

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