The Baton Rouge-based non-profit hosted its annual Mardi Gras Masquerade on Tuesday for crowds attending Sundance.
The masked event began with a second-line to the venue, where more than 1,300 attendees were in attendance, organizers said.
The venue was transformed into an ode to New Orleans jazz clubs with Spanish moss and plastic beads littering the balcony as funky beats encouraged partygoers to dance and snap.
Visitors dined on food from chefs Cody and Samantha Carroll, of Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads and Sac-A-Lait in New Orleans, as well as chef Sean Rivera, of the upcoming Driftwood Cask and Barrel in Baton Rouge. The food included red beans and rice, a vegetarian gumbo and king cake, of course.
No Louisiana party can go on without music, either, and the masquerade featured sounds from C.C. Adcock and Zydeco bluesman Curley Taylor.
Louisiana artist T.J. Black live painted the event, adding eccentric costumes and personalities that flooded the venue on a large canvas on one side of the room while partygoers watched.
LIFF executive director and event organizer, Chesley Heymsfield, said that by creating an international film festival for the state, local artists are able to share work with artists throughout the country.
The event provides the Louisiana festival an opportunity to grow as well.
“It is a great way to market what we are doing in the state to professionals in film, music and innovation,” Heymsfield said. “Most importantly, it’s a way for us to keep the goodwill going in the film industry for Louisiana.”
“We’re here for a good reason, we’re not promoting a corporate brand. We’re promoting people in a state that is far away from here, but we do it in a kindred way.’’