Where can you see small independent films and future buzzworthy releases? The Louisiana International Film Festival.
In its sixth year, the festival turns Baton Rouge into Hollywood with regional premieres, mentorship programming, live music, stand-up comedy and appearances from filmmakers, producers, writers and actors.
This year's event is already underway, and screenings continue through Sunday at Cinemark Perkins Rowe. For cinephiles, the draw of the festival is seeing a movie that might never hit Baton Rouge big screens again. Just how many movies will be shown? More than 50, including features, documentaries, shorts and Louisiana-shot fare.
Too many films could spell trouble for other festivals, but for programming director Ian Bernie, the wide selection was a good problem to have.
"We had a lot of good films enter this year," Bernie said. "I didn't want to have to cut something. We just put them all on the schedule, and in doing that, we still had enough room to repeat a few selections. We were able to play the right film at the right time."
To prep for the weekend's events, Bernie told The Advocate about a few must-see movies, the ones that will be lodged in moviegoers' brains until awards season.
"1000 Year Flood": 6:15 p.m. Friday. This documentary focuses on the forgotten victims of the 2016 flood and how residents from the greater Baton Rouge area banded together to save themselves.
"Brimstone and Glory": 7 p.m. Friday. A documentary honoring the spirit of the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, Bernie called this is a tour de force that demands to be seen on the big screen.
"Hearts Beat Loud": 7:30 p.m. Saturday. In this drama from director Brett Haley, Nick Offerman ("Parks and Recreation") plays an aging hipster who gets away from personal crisis by starting a band with his daughter. An uplifting portrait of a father-daughter bond is how Bernie described this one.
"Dark Meridian": 5 p.m. Sunday. New Orleans' own Billy Slaughter takes the lead in this locally-filmed, Quentin Tarantino-esque revenge thriller.
"Do U Want It?": 4 p.m. Sunday. Filmmakers Josh Freund and Sam Radutzky capture the story of one of New Orleans' most-loved and now-defunct bands, Papa Grows Funk.
"And Then I Go": 2:15 p.m. Saturday and 4:15 p.m. Sunday. Based on Jim Shepard's novel "Project X," this drama focuses on the tortured psyches of two adolescent boys. Bernie said it's a powerful, well-done coming-of-age drama.
"The Light of the Moon": 9:15 p.m. Friday. Stephanie Beatriz ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine") gives a standout performance as an architect recovering from sexual assault.
"Back to Burgundy": 5:40 p.m. Saturday. A French drama about siblings reuniting at the request of their dying father, Bernie said this film is leisurely, literate and boasts gorgeous views of rural France.
"Double Lover": 8:45 p.m. Friday and 8:40 p.m. Saturday. Bernie described this as a psycho-sexual mind bender. A troubled young woman falls in love with her psychoanalyst in this French thriller.
"Stuck": 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Trapped together on a stalled subway car, six strangers confront their assumptions of one another. Oh, and it's a musical. Bernie said festivalgoers who take a chance on this uplifting award-winner won't be disappointed.
Meet the makers
Here are the actors, producers, directors and screenwriters appearing at the 2018 Louisiana International Film Festival.
Producer Carol Bidault, of "Cut Off"
Actor Ben Dickey and Sybil Rosen, of "Blaze"
Producer Tom Bhramayana, writer Stephen Hoover and director Sonny Marler, of "Tinker"
Actor Billy Slaughter and producer Rankin Hickman, of "Dark Meridian"
Writer/director Josh Freund, of "Do U Want It?"
Director Teddy Smith, executive producer Earl Heard, producer Matt Keith, writer Gianna Montelaro and actor Dean West, of "Urban Country"
Writer/director/producer Stephen Sepher, of "Dead on Arrival"
Writer/director Michael Berry, of "Stuck"
Director Vincent Grashaw, of "And Then I Go"
Directors/producers Greg Dicharry and Kevin Hines, of "Suicide: The Ripple Effect"
Director Tiffany Bartok, of "Larger than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story"
Director Maya Washington, of "Through the Banks of the Red Cedar"
Director Lauren Durr and producer Dane Moreton, of "1000 Year Flood"
Director Jonathan Evans, of "On Our Watch"
Director Harriet Hirshom, of "Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End Aids"
Louisiana International Film Festival
Featuring film screenings, live music, stand-up comedy and mentorship programming
WHEN: Screenings start at 6:15 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. Sunday
WHERE: Cinemark Perkins Rowe and XD, 10000 Perkins Rowe, Suite 125, Baton Rouge
COST: $10 per screening; VIP passes available.