The 29th annual New Orleans Film Festival (Oct. 17-25) has announced Green Book and Widows as its opening night and centerpiece films.
The fest will open with Green Book, a shot in New Orleans drama based on a real-life tour by Jamaican-American pianist Don Shirley and his white bodyguard Tony Lip in the 1960s Deep South. The movie, directed by Peter Farrelly, won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and has been tabbed as an early Oscar frontrunner by critics. It co-stars Oscar winner Mahershala Ali and Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen. Farrelly will attend the screening and participate in a Q&A afterward.
“It is especially meaningful that the festival kicks off with Green Book, which was filmed here in Louisiana,” said Chris Stelly, executive director of Louisiana Entertainment. “Green Book provided an estimated $20.5 million in local spending and an estimated $14.8 million in Louisiana resident payroll.”
For the centerpiece film, the New Orleans Film Festival selected the thriller Widows, directed by Steve McQueen. McQueen previously helmed 12 Years a Slave, which played during the 2013 New Orleans Film Fest and would later win the Oscar for Best Picture. McQueen’s latest effort tells the story of a group of women, led by Viola Davis, who participate in a risky heist after their husbands’ deaths. The script was written by acclaimed novelist Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects).
The fest also announced one of its spotlight films, Wildlife. It is the directorial debut of actor Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Love & Mercy) and stars Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. It tells the story of a family falling apart in 1960s Montana after the mother wants to leave the father for another man.
There will also be a special presentation screening of the newly 4K remastered film Cane River. Written and directed by Horace Jenkins in 1982, the film was unseen for 36 years due in part to Jenkins’ untimely death. The movie is set in Natchitoches and makes timely statements about racism while featuring a predominantly African-American cast.
Pass holders and NOFS members will be able to reserve tickets online starting September 24th and individual tickets will go on sale to the general public on October 3rd. Detailed information about passes and tickets can be found at NewOrleansFilmFestival.org.