HARRIET

Cynthia Erivo stars as Harriet Tubman in director Kasi Lemmons' "Harriet."

"Harriet," director Kasi Lemmons' film about abolitionist Harriet Tubman, will close the 30th annual New Orleans Film Festival, which runs Oct. 16-23 at local theaters.

The New Orleans Film Society also made other festival lineup announcements, including that recent NOCCA-graduate Phillip Youmans' "Burning Cane," starring Wendell Pierce, will be the festival's Centerpiece film. 

The film festival received more than 6,500 submissions for slots in the juried portion of the festival. The festival will screen more than 230 films, including features, documentaries, short films and more. More than a quarter of the films were made in Louisiana. 

Cynthia Erivo stars in "Harriet," the biographical film about the former slave who helped slaves escape Southern plantations via the Underground Railroad. Janelle Monae and Joe Alwyn also appear in the movie, and Terence Blanchard wrote the score. Lemmons also directed the 1997 Louisiana-set film "Eve's Bayou," which will be screened during the festival.

Youmans' "Burning Cane" won the Founder's Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, becoming the youngest and first black director to win the honor. In the film, a woman living in rural Louisiana tries to reconcile her faith and relationships with her alcoholic son and a preacher.

burning cane

Wendell Pierce, as the Rev. Tillman, preaches to the congregation of Laurel Valley Missionary Baptist Church in a scene from 'Burning Cane.'

The film was produced by Benh Zeitlin, director of "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Youmans was named to Gambit's June list of 40 Under 40. "Burning Cane" screens Oct. 18 at Orpheum Theater. Youmans' short film "Nairobi" also will screen at the festival.

Festival tickets and information are available on the New Orleans Film Society website.

Email Gambit arts & entertainment editor Will Coviello at: willc@gambitweekly.com.