The third annual Louisiana International Film Festival opens Thursday, May 7, with a gala premiere screening of “Spy,” a comedy directed by Paul Feig of “Bridesmaids” fame and starring Melissa McCarthy.
This year’s festival runs Thursday-Sunday, May 10, at Cinemark Perkins Rowe. Workshops and other activities will take place throughout Perkins Rowe.
The festival includes world and Louisiana premieres. The eclectic program features dramas, comedies, animation, documentaries, foreign-language films and shorts.
Highlights include the American premiere of the new “Frankenstein.” Director Bernard Rose (“Candyman,” “Immortal Beloved”) will attend and participate in Q&A session. Based on the Mary Shelley classic, Rose set his “Frankenstein” in modern-day Los Angeles. The film recently won the Golden Raven, the top prize at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. Xavier Samuel (“Fury”) stars as the monster.
Other films likely to draw a large audience include “What We Do in the Shadows,” the New Zealand vampire comedy poised to become a cult classic.
French actress Catherine Deneuve stars in the drama “In the Name of My Daughter,” playing the glamorous owner of a successful casino on the French Riviera.
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” the festival’s closing gala screening, was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award.
The festival is also presenting a closing-night concert featuring the Louisiana International Film Festival Symphony Orchestra in the Great Hall at Perkins Rowe. The free concert will feature movie music from “The Wizard of Oz,” “Star Wars” and the “Harry Potter” films.
Single tickets for films go on sale through the LIFF website at http://lifilmfest.org/2015/ and at the Cinemark box office Friday. The price is $10.
All-access passes guaranteeing admission to all festival films are $100. All-access passes are available at http://lifilmfest.org/2015. Pickup will available at the LIFF box office in the Cinemark Theater lobby starting Monday.
VIP passes are available through the Patrons and Sponsors of the Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program 2015. VIP passes are not available for individual purchase. They can be reserved by sending name and contact information (email, phone number and address) to VIP@lifilmfest.org. Pickup for VIP passes will be available at the LIFF box office in the Cinemark Theater lobby Monday through Thursday.
(all screenings take place at Cinemark Perkins Rowe)
THURSDAY, MAY 7
7 p.m.: SPY
Melissa McCarthy stars in a globe-circling action-comedy directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”). Her co-stars include Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Bobby Cannavale and Allison Janney.
FRIDAY, MAY 8
4:30 p.m.: INTERNATIONAL SHORT ANIMATION PROGRAM
A worldwide selection of short animated films, including “Wackatdoo” (Canada); “Wolfgang, Wolfgang Jr.” (U.S.); “Monstro!” (U.S.); “Elephant’s Garden” (Australia); and “Tick Tock” (Turkey).
6 p.m.:BIG CHARITY
This New Orleans-set documentary tells the story of Charity Hospital. Founded as an institution for the poor by a dying French merchant in 1736, the public hospital was a symbol of compassion in New Orleans until its closure after Hurricane Katrina.
7 p.m.:PEOPLE PLACES THINGS
Jemaine Clement stars in a fatherhood-based drama-comedy directed by Jim Strouse (“Grace Is Gone,” “The Winning Season”). Clement plays an artist and art teacher facing the failure of his relationship with the mother of his children.
7:15 p.m.: THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING
The Yes Men are a pair of activists armed with thrift-store suits and no shame. In this documentary, they stage phony events and issue fake press releases to draw attention to corporate crimes
7:30 p.m.: BEST OF ENEMIES
Morgan Neville, director of the Oscar-winning music documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” focuses on the 1968 TV debates between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr.
8 p.m.: GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE 3D
French new wave director Jean-Luc Godard (“Breathless”) is 85 years old and still working. With “Goodbye to Language 3D,” he embraces 3D filmmaking technology, depicting a lush cascade of images, words, puns, camera tricks and literary and musical quotes.
9 p.m.: THE CUT
In this story of a man’s Job-like odyssey, Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin addresses a subject that’s taboo for Turks, the 1915 Armenian genocide.
9:15 p.m.: EDEN
A French documentary about the DJ who’s credited with inventing French house music, aka the “French touch,” an electronic music style popular in the 1990s.
9:45 p.m.: THE HARVEST
A couple played by Michael Shannon and Samantha Morton keeps their sick son in seclusion. A young girl who moves next door challenges their heavily controlled lives. John McNaughton (“Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer”) directs.
9:45 p.m.: MANGLEHORN
“Manglehorn” is the study of a former roustabout who works as a locksmith in Texas, quite a different life than the one he aspired to. Al Pacino and Holly Hunter star in this love story directed by David Gordon Green.
SATURDAY, MAY 9
10 a.m.: LOUISIANA SHORTS
Animated shorts by Louisiana filmmakers, including “Snip” (Eric Rippetoe); “Loveable” (Zac Taylor, Erica Silverman); “Based on Rosenthal” (Stephen Kinigopoulos); “A Bird’s Nest” (Christine Chen); “True Heroes” (Chris Ganucheau); and “Madeline’s Oil” (Caleb Michaelson).
11:45 a.m.: KHALIL GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET
Mexican-Lebanese actress-producer Salma Hayak is responsible for this animated adaptation of philosopher-poet Khalil Gibran’s guide to life, love and death. The voice talent includes the Houma-based, Oscar-nominated actress Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), Liam Neeson and Hayak.
Noon: OBAMA MAMA
A documentary about Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who was an anthropologist, social and political activist and inspiration for her son, a future president.
12:15 p.m.: DELI MAN and HAPPY GOATS
In “Deli Man,” a man gives up a promising career as a cordon bleu chef to open a Houston deli. It’s a tribute to his Jewish heritage and the food his grandparents served him as a child. “Happy Goats, Happy Cheese” features a visit to a chevre farm in South Carolina.
1 p.m.: DIPLOMACY
In 1944, as Allied troops fought their way to Paris, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler ordered Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz to mine the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame. The Swedish Ambassador arrived in Paris at the 11th hour, hoping to persuade von Choltitz to disobey orders from der Führer himself. Directed by Volker Schlöndorff (“The Tin Drum”).
1:30 p.m.: TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL
A documentary about 1950s movie star and heartthrob Tab Hunter. Romantically linked to Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds, he was secretly gay.
2:15 p.m.: CARTEL LAND
The winner of the best director and best cinematography award at the Sundance Film Festival, “Cartel Land” documents vigilantes who battle Mexican drug cartels on both sides of the border.
2:30 p.m.: THEEB
An adventure tale shot on location in Jordan, “Theeb” is set in 1916, when the Ottoman Empire is crumbling. A British military officer on a mysterious mission hires a Bedouin boy and his older brother as guides through the desert.
3 p.m.: JESUS TOWN, USA
For 88 years, a small Oklahoma town has staged a passion play on a reproduction of Jerusalem built into the Wichita foothills. But the present depicted in this documentary reveals the play’s popularity has dwindled and the actor playing Jesus is a local paperboy who has a secret.
3:45 p.m.: THE BLACK PANTHERS
More than 40 years after the Black Panther Party began in Oakland, California, the group and its leadership live on as powerful figures in the popular imagination. In this documentary, Stanley Nelson (“Freedom Summer”) weaves together the diverse voices of those who lived the story, including police, FBI informants, journalists and white supporters and detractors.
4:30 p.m.: ABOUT ELLY
A high-spirited outing to the seaside turns acrimonious when Elly, the only single woman in a group of 30-something couples, vanishes. The story is set amidst Iran’s conflicted middle class. Directed by Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”).
4:45 p.m.: PM BREATHE
This French drama is about two beautiful high-school girls, one a shy achiever, the other an extroverted new girl with a murky past. Their unlikely friendship moves from high-spirited ardor to rage and obsession. Directed by actress Mélanie Laurent (“Inglorious Basterds”).
5:15 p.m.: THE FLIGHT FANTASTIC
During the Golden Age of the American circus, the Flying Gaonas, a Mexican family of trapeze artists, are renowned for their triple somersault. The documentary is directed by Tom Moore, who’ll be present for a Q&A session.
7 p.m.: I’ll SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS
This bittersweet comedy features Blythe Danner as Carole, a widow and former songstress whose dog’s death shocks her out of her comfortable routine. Encouraged by friends played by June Squibb, Rhea Perlman and Mary Kay Place, Danner’s Carol begins some new relationships. A Q&A with director Brett Haley will follow the screening.
7 p.m.: TIMBUKTU
Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, proud cattle herder Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed aka Pino) lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife, daughter and the family’s 12-year-old shepherd. In the city, however, Jihadists rule the residents and ban music, laughter, cigarettes and soccer.
7:15 p.m.: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
In this mockumentary from New Zealand, a group of filmmakers interview a vampire family whose members’ ages range from 8,000 years old to 8 months. Also showing at 7:45 p.m. Sunday.
7:45 p.m.: ARK STAR: THE WORLD OF H.R. GIGER
A documentary about H.R. Giger, the late surrealist artist who created Oscar-winning monsters for Ridley Scott’s “Alien.”
9:15 p.m.: THE TRIBE
A winner of the Cannes International Critics Award, “The Tribe” tells a hallucinatory story set in a Ukrainian boarding school for the deaf. Crime, prostitution and corruption are a way of life there.
9:30 p.m.: FRANKENSTEIN
Director Bernard Rose (“The Devil’s Violinist,” “Candyman”) interprets Mary Shelley’s classic horror story, setting it in contemporary Los Angeles. Rose will do Q&A following the film. Also showing at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
9:40 p.m.: THE CONNECTION
This French crime drama features Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) as Pierre Michel, the prosecutor whose battle with heroine kingpin Tany Zampa, known as the French Connection, lasted six years, uncovering widespread corruption.
9:45 p.m.: BROKEN HORSES
Vidhu Vinod Chopra directed this classic western-style story with a modern setting. “Broken Horses” follows the lives of two brothers (Anton Yelchin, Chris Marquette) from the murder of their father during their youth to their adulthood. The cast includes Vincent D’Onofrio. Also showing at 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Sunday.
SUNDAY, MAY 10
10 a.m.: INTERNATIONAL SHORTS
A program of short films by international filmmakers, including “The Maltese Fighter” (Arev Manoukian/Malta); “Conversation with a Cigarette” (Russell Brown/USA); “A Teenage Drama” (Phillip Clark Davis/USA); “The Walk” (Aaron Wolf/USA); “Alone in the Dust” (Brandon Kapelow/USA); and “Rag Doll” (Zena Dell Lowe/USA).
11 a.m.: I AM BIG BIRD
A documentary about Caroll Spinney, the man who has played “Sesame Street’s” Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969.
Noon: THE GREAT MAN
The friendship of two French legionnaires forged in Afghanistan is renewed in Paris. One of them suffers from PTS and the other is an illegal resident.
12:30 p.m.: COURT
The trial of an elderly left-wing street singer accused of inspiring a working-class man to commit suicide forms the basis of this drama set in India. “Court” won the grand prize at the Venice and Mumbai film festivals.
1 p.m.: IRIS
A documentary by the late master filmmaker Albert Maysles about 93-year-old Iris Apfel, a free spirit and New York fashion icon loved by fashion lovers worldwide.
1 p.m.: NOBLE
Based on the life of Christina Noble, an Irishwoman who struggled to overcome her life on the streets of Ireland and later helped more than a million Vietnamese orphans escape poverty, starvation and disease.
2:15 p.m.: THE SECOND MOTHER
The winner of jury awards at the Berlin and Sundance film festival, “The Second Mother” is a character study of a live-in maid who neglects her own child in order to serve the upper-class Brazilian employers.
3:15 p.m.: IN THE NAME OF MY DAUGHTER
In this French drama, Catherine Deneuve plays Renee Le Roux, the glamorous owner of a successful casino on the French Riviera. Trouble starts when her wayward daughter disappears after she begins a relationship with the casino’s ex-business manager.
3:20 p.m.: CITY OF GOLD
A documentary about Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold and his relationship with sprawling Los Angeles. Featuring celebrity chefs Roy Choi, David Chang and Ludo Lefebvre.
4:45 p.m.: UNEXPECTED
A comedy-drama about class differences and similarities. Samantha Abbott (Cobie Smulders), a science teacher in a soon-to-be-closed inner-city Chicago high school, learns that she’s pregnant. The teacher’s best student, the college-bound Jasmine (Gail Bean), is also pregnant. They’re both due to give birth about the same time.
5 p.m. — THE LOOK OF SILENCE
In Indonesia, a country where criminals and victims live as neighbors, a brave 44-year-old optician meets the men who murdered his brother. The drama won awards at festivals in Chicago, Berlin, Zurich and Pusan.
5:30 p.m.:THE LESSON
An honest, hardworking schoolteacher in a small Bulgarian town learns that she has only a few days to save her home from foreclosure. “The Lesson” has won awards and acclaim at festivals across the world.
7 p.m.:ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL
The film was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival (Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award). In “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” the mother of an awkward high school senior (Thomas Mann) insists that he spend time with a girl in his class (Olivia Cooke) who’s been diagnosed with cancer.
9:40 p.m.:GIRL ON THE EDGE
After a seemingly normal teenager with a tragic past is targeted, manipulated and victimized by an online predator, she tries to cope with the trauma in an unhealthy, self-destructive way.