The 230 films screening at the New Orleans Film Festival include such high-profile awards contenders as “Widows,” “Roma” and “Green Book.” This year’s lineup is also the most diverse in the festival’s 29-year history.

“The festival is recognized more and more as an important stop in the South,” said New Orleans Film Society Executive Director Fallon Young. “It’s recognized for its quality programming and for being a really diverse festival. The festival has an amazing track record of programming women in the director’s chair, people of color in the director’s chair.”

Opening night film “Green Book,” a civil rights-era drama featuring Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, was filmed in New Orleans and the surrounding area. Director Peter Farrelly will attend the screening, Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Orpheum Theater.

“We’re always excited to spotlight a film that has deep ties to the New Orleans production community,” said Clint Bowie, the Film Society’s artistic director. “ ‘Green Book’ represents local talent and it’s an incredible story, one that speaks to our history and the musical traditions that are so alive here.”

The festival runs Oct. 17-25. Venues include the Contemporary Arts Center, the Broad Theater, Orpheum Theater, Prytania Theatre and The Advocate. Passes, tickets and information are available at neworleansfilmsociety.org/festival.

“Green Book” star Ali was previously seen at the festival in 2016’s “Moonlight.” This year’s Spotlight series offerings include the new film from “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk.” “Widows,” one of festival’s Centerpiece Films, is a drama from director Steve McQueen, whose Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” opened the festival in 2013.

The presence of prestige films such as the Coen brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and Oscar-winning Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” at the New Orleans Film Festival illustrate its growing importance on the festival circuit.

Local films are an important part of festival programming, Young and Bowie said. The Louisiana Features Competition includes the local documentaries “A Man and His Trumpet: The Leroy Jones Story” and Lily Keber’s film about dance traditions, “Buckjumping.” Closing night film “A Tuba to Cuba” documents the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s 2015 visit to a Caribbean nation that culturally has much in common with New Orleans.

“We’re using the festival’s growing national platform to showcase Southern stories and Louisiana stories,” Young said. “The stories we program can be an opportunity to shape and reflect a contemporary Southern identity.”

This year’s festival expands its footprint in the Central Business District through the new festival hub at the Contemporary Arts Center. The hub includes screening rooms of 1,800 and 300 seats, and the festival’s main box office. The CAC is also walkable distance from another of this year’s screening locations, The New Orleans Advocate, 840 St. Charles Ave.

More than 6,000 films and screenplays from 120 countries were submitted to the 2018 festival. Descriptions, times and venues for many of the films are below. For a compete schedule see neworleansfilmsociety.org/festival.

Opening Night Film

“GREEN BOOK”: Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) plays an African-American jazz and classical pianist who tours the segregated South in 1962. Viggo Mortensen co-stars as his working-class Italian driver from the Bronx. Director Peter Farrelly will attend. Showing 7 p.m. Oct. 17, Orpheum Theater.

Centerpiece Films

“ROMA”: Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity”) revisits his tumultuous childhood in 1970s Mexico City. Showing 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22, Prytania Theatre.

“THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS”: Tim Blake Nelson stars in a comedic western from Ethan and Joel Coen. Nelson will attend the screening. Showing 8:15 p.m. Oct. 20, Contemporary Arts Center.

“WIDOWS”: Director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) and Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”) collaborate for a drama about four Chicago women whose criminal husbands are murdered. Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Erivo lead a cast including Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya and Lukas Haas. Showing 2:25 p.m. Oct. 20, Prytania Theatre.

Closing Night Film

“A TUBA TO CUBA”: Documents the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s visit to Cuba in 2015. Following the screening, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will perform for the festival’s closing night party. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25, CAC; 8 p.m. Oct. 25, CAC.

Spotlight Films

“BOY ERASED”: Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe play fundamentalist parents who insist that their gay son (Lucas Hedges) participate in a conversion-therapy program. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23, Prytania Theatre.

“IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK”: Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) adapts James Baldwin’s novel about a young woman whose wedding plans are derailed when her fiancé is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. 8:30 p.m. Oct. 21, CAC.

“LITTLE WOODS”: Tessa Thompson plays a young parolee in North Dakota who risks more prison time to help her struggling, pregnant sister. Co-starring Lily James, this directorial debut from Nia DaCosta won Tribeca Film Festival’s juried Nora Ephron Award. 6 p.m. Oct. 25, The Advocate.

“THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM”: On 200 acres north of Los Angeles, John and Molly Chester strive to create an agricultural utopia that includes 10,000 orchard trees. 8:15 p.m. Oct. 24, CAC.

“TIGER”: A Sikh is banned from boxing because of his religious beliefs. Prem Singh plays the aspiring boxer and Mickey Rourke is his coach. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19, Prytania Theatre.

“VOX LUX”: Natalie Portman plays a singer-songwriter who survives a school shooting and becomes a pop star. 8:45 p.m. Oct. 23, CAC.

“WILDLIFE”: Actor Paul Dana directs this drama about a Montana woman whose husband abandons her and their 14-year-old son in 1960s Montana. Featuring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, Prytania Theatre.

Louisiana Features Competition

A MAN AND HIS TRUMPET: THE LEROY JONES STORY”: A profile of New Orleans jazz musician Leroy Jones. 8:30 p.m. Oct. 18, CAC; 3:30 p.m. Oct. 24, CAC.

“BENDING THE LINES: THE SCULPTURE OF ROBERT WIGGS”: A documentary about Lafayette sculpture Robert Wiggs. 6 p.m. Oct. 23, CAC; 1:15 p.m. Oct. 24, CAC.

“BUCKJUMPING”: A celebration of New Orleans dance traditions from director Lily Keber (“Bayou Maharajah”). Free screening and world premiere. 7 p.m. Oct. 21, Orpheum Theater.

“MISSISSIPPI MADAM: THE LIFE OF NELLIE JACKSON”: A film about Nellie Jackson, an African-American woman who operated a brothel in Natchez for 60 years in clear view of the city’s officials and police. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23, Broad Theater; 3:45 p.m. Oct. 25, The Advocate.

“SAME GOD”: Dr. Larycia Hawkins, a professor of political science at Wheaton College, spurs a firestorm by posting a message of religious unity to Facebook. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18, Broad Theater; 1:15 p.m. Oct. 24, The Advocate.

“TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS”: A documentary about a lifelong couple, including the transgender Shar Jones, confronted by Jones’ decision to die following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, Broad Theater.

“THE TRUE DON QUIXOTE”: Tim Blake Nelson (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) stars in this St. Bernard-set comedy based on Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th-century novel. Written and directed by local filmmaker Chris Poché (“Over the Hedge”). World premiere. 6:15 p.m. Oct. 20, CAC; 11 a.m. Oct. 25, CAC.

Special Presentation

“CANE RIVER”: Featuring an African-America cast, this long-lost drama about social tensions in the Louisiana’s Cane River community will be screened in a digital restoration. Members of the film’s cast and crew will attend. 7:45 p.m. Oct. 22, CAC.

Narrative Features Competition

“CHAINED FOR LIFE”: A dark comedy that challenges the way disfigured people are depicted on screen. Free screening. 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, CAC; 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at The Advocate.

“EMPTY METAL”: Three millennials in a failing band are recruited for an anti-government insurrection led by Buddhists, telepathic separatists, hardline rastas and survivalists. 8:30 p.m. Oct. 20, The Advocate; 3:45 p.m. Oct. 23, The Advocate.

“FAMILY FIRST”: A young man is continuously pulled into his self-destructive family’s problems. 9 p.m. Oct. 24. Broad Theater; 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25, The Advocate.

“FORT MARIA”: A housebound woman sends texts to her adult daughter and tours her Bulgarian hometown via Google maps. 6:45 p.m. Oct. 19, The Advocate; 5:30 p.m. Oct. 22, The Advocate.

“A HAUNTING HITCHHIKE”: In this drama from Korea, 16-year-old Jeong-ae searches Seoul for the adults who abandoned her. U.S. premiere. 11:30 a.m. Oct. 18, The Advocate; 11:15 a.m., Oct. 21, CAC.

“JULES OF LIGHT AND DARK”: Following a devastating accident, a young woman and her girlfriend are helped by a hard-drinking oilfield surveyor. World premiere. 6:45 p.m. Oct. 20, CAC; 3:15 p.m. Oct. 22, CAC.

“LIFE IS FARE”: The multiple threads of “Life is Fare” include a filmmaker who pitches a movie idea about a homesick cabdriver from Eritrea. 1:45 p.m. Oct. 20, The Advocate; 11 a.m. Oct. 22, CAC.

“PIG FILM”: In this end-of-the-world imagining, the last woman on Earth wonders about the life she had when she might have been human. Free screening. 4:15 p.m. Oct. 21, The Advocate; 3:45 p.m. Oct. 23, CAC.

“SOLACE”: Seventeen-year-old Sole has issues, including her flighty grandmother (Baton Rouge native Lynn Whitfield). 3:30 p.m., Oct. 20, CAC; 11 a.m. Oct. 23, The Advocate.

“WARU”: Eight Māori women in New Zealand directed the film’s individual segments about their lives. 6 p.m. Oct. 24, The Advocate; 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25, The Advocate.

In Competition

“AMĔRICA”: América, 86, relies on her three grandsons, especially Diego. Filmed over a three-year period in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 5:45 p.m. Oct. 22, CAC; 11:30 a.m. Oct. 25, The Advocate.

“FOR THE BIRDS”: A woman in a small town fights to keep her chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys from being removed from her property. 8:15 p.m. Oct. 18; The Advocate; 6 p.m. Oct. 20, Broad Theater.

“GIMME A FAITH”: Chinese students in North Carolina embrace evangelical Christianity. World premiere. 11:30 a.m. Oct. 20, The Advocate; 4 p.m. Oct. 22, CAC.

“JADDOLAND”: A documentary about Lahib Jaddo, an art teacher in west Texas who emigrated to the United States from Iraq. Free screening and world premiere. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21, The Advocate; 1 p.m. Oct. 22, The Advocate.

“LAILA AT THE BRIDGE”: In Kabul, Afghanistan, Laila Haidari treats addiction with a simple program of abstention, group meetings and cold showers. 1:45 p.m. Oct. 21, The Advocate; 1:15 p.m. Oct. 23, The Advocate.

“MAN MADE”: Atlanta’s Trans FitCon is the only bodybuilding competition open to transgender males. Free screening. 8:45 p.m. Oct. 22, Broad Theater; 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24, Broad Theater.

“THE UNAFRAID”: Undocumented and outspoken young immigrants in Georgia are students, workers and activists who hope to earn college degrees. 4 p.m. Oct. 21, CAC; 1 p.m. Oct. 22, CAC.

“WHILE I BREATHE, I HOPE”: When Bakari Sellers won a seat in South Carolina’s House of Representatives, he became the youngest black elected official in American history. He subsequently runs for lieutenant governor. World premiere. 7 p.m. Oct. 19, CAC; 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23, CAC.

“WRESTLE”: Four Alabama high school students train for the state’s wrestling championship in hopes of winning a scholarship. 4 p.m. Oct. 18, CAC; 11:30 a.m. Oct. 19, The Advocate.