The 28th New Orleans Film Festival is upon us, presenting nine days of movies, parties and special guests at locations around the city. Screening more than 230 films, the festival runs Oct. 11-19 throughout the city.
This year’s diverse lineup offers multiple programming categories, including narrative, documentary and Louisiana feature films in competition; the Spotlight film series featuring high-profile feature films not in competition; and the issue-oriented Change Makers slate of documentaries.
The film highlights listed below are just a sampling of the festival’s hundreds of screenings and events. For more information, tickets and passes go to neworleansfilmsociety.org.
“The Florida Project,” Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Orpheum Theater
In the festival’s opening night film, Brooklynn Prince plays a precious 6-year-old who lives with her struggling single mother in a budget motel near Disney World. Willem Dafoe co-stars as the motel manager who is not as stern as he seems.
“Marshall”: Thursday, 8:30 p.m., Ace Hotel New Orleans
Chadwick Boseman (“Get on Up,” “42,” “Captain America: Civil War”) stars in this based-in-fact story about the early career of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Shortly before World War II, the cash-strapped NAACP sends Marshall to Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur against his wealthy socialite employer’s changes of sexual assault and attempted murder. Josh Gad, Kate Hudson and James Cromwell co-star.
“Mudbound”: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Ace Hotel New Orleans and Thursday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m., New Orleans Jazz Market
Filmed largely at St. Joseph’s Plantation in St. James Parish, “Mudbound” follows the festival’s tradition of presenting epic dramas with local connections. Directed and co-written by Dee Rees (“Bessie,” “Pariah”) the festival’s centerpiece film tells a harsh yet poetic story about two families, one white and one black, in the Mississippi Delta shortly after World War II.
The McAllan family moves from Memphis to a Mississippi cotton farm where the Jackson family has worked as sharecroppers for generations. Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) rules his family with rigid, patriarchal arrogance. His comparatively enlightened wife, Laura (Carey Mulligan), mostly tolerates the decisions her husband routinely makes without her input.
The Jackson family, led by Hap and Florence Jackson (Rob Morgan and Mary J. Blige), strive to survive the demands the land make and the oppression of Jim Crow-era Mississippi. Life grows even more difficult for the Jackson family when oldest son Ronsel (New Orleans native Jason Mitchell), returns from World War II and befriends Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund), a fellow veteran who’s white.
“Darkest Hour”: Sunday, 5 p.m., Prytania Theatre
Gary Oldman portrays British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the onset of World War II. When one European nation after another falls to the German war machine, Churchill must choose between negotiating with Adolf Hitler or making a stand against the Nazi invaders. Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Pride & Prejudice”) directs from a screenplay by Anthony McCarten (“The Theory of Everything”). Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James co-star.
“More than Monuments”: Sunday, 5:30 p.m., Ace Hotel New Orleans
Three short documentaries — “Divided City,” “Silent Parade or the Soul Rebels Vs. Robert E. Lee” and “Goodbye Old Glory” — focus on the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans.
“Last Flag Flying”: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Prytania Theatre
Richard Linklater, whose 2014 film, “Boyhood,” received six Academy Awards nominations, directed and co-wrote this drama about three Vietnam War veterans who reunite on a mission of grief and healing. Steve Carell leads the cast as Richard “Doc” Shepherd, a former Navy Corps medic whose son has been killed in the Iraq War. Foregoing his son’s burial at Arlington National Cemetery, Shepherd and his fellow vets, played by Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne, transport the body up the East Coast to Shepherd’s home in New Hampshire.
“Call Me by Your Name”: Thursday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m., Ace Hotel New Orleans
Luca Guadagnino, an award-winning Italian filmmaker, directs “Call Me by Your Name” from a script by James Ivory, longtime collaborator of the late Ismail Merchant. Merchant Ivory Productions’ best-known films include “A Room with a View” and “Howards End.”
In “Call Me by Your Name,” Timothée Chalamet plays Elio Perlman, a 17-year-old who’s spending the summer with his family in sunny northern Italy. Elio and his father’s intern, an American scholar played by Armie Hammer, find themselves attracted to each other amidst the splendor of the Pearlman family’s 17th-century villa and its natural surroundings.
Patricia Clarkson, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Ace Hotel New Orleans
New Orleans native Clarkson, an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actress, will be interviewed by Vulture staff writer Angelica Jade Bastien at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ace Hotel New Orleans. Clarkson is in New Orleans to film “Out of Blue,” a mystery directed by Carol Morley. Admission for film society members is $15, $20 for nonmembers.
Jason Mitchell, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Ace Hotel New Orleans
New Orleans native Mitchell, a co-star in the festival’s centerpiece film, “Mudbound,” will attend the “Mudbound” screening at 7:30 p.m. Following the movie, Mitchell, whose previous work includes his widely praised performance in the NWA biopic, “Straight Outta Compton,” will accept the New Orleans Film Festival’s Trailblazer Award.
Gabourey Sidibe, Saturday, 5 p.m., Ace Hotel New Orleans
An Oscar-nominated actress, Sidibe is presenting her directorial debut at the festival, the short film “Tale of Four.” She’ll also participate in a recording of Slate’s “Represent” podcast with host Aisha Harris on at 5 p.m. Saturday at Ace Hotel New Orleans. Admission for film society members is $15, $20 for nonmembers.
Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, Sunday, 8 p.m., The New Orleans Advocate, 840 St. Charles Ave.
Bliss and Rogers, the creators of the TV comedy series “Search Party,” will appear in conversation with Paste Magazine’s Matt Brennan.