Green Book

'Green Book,' the story of a black concert pianist traveling in the Jim Crow South, will open the New Orleans Film Festival.

“Green Book,” the People’s Choice Award winner at last week’s Toronto International Film Festival, will open the 2018 New Orleans Film Festival.

Screening Oct. 17 at the Orpheum Theater, the Louisiana-filmed “Green Book” stars Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. Directed by Peter Farrelly, the film recreates a tour by an African-American classical pianist and his white driver and bodyguard through the segregated South in 1962. Farrelly will attend the screening, introduce the film and participate in a post-film discussion.

The festival also announced that “Widows,” directed by Steve McQueen, is this year’s Centerpiece Film. McQueen previously directed the Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave,” which opened the New Orleans Film Festival in 2013.

Oscar-winner Viola Davis leads the cast of “Widows,” a crime drama about four women linked by their husbands’ deaths. Variety praised Davis’ performance, citing “Viola Davis’s commanding performance roots this scenario in icy fear and shock.”

Actor Paul Dano’s directorial debut, “Wildlife,” starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal, was also announced as a 2018 Spotlight Films selection.

“The New Orleans Film Festival continues to showcase quality films produced in Louisiana, and to provide educational opportunities for our local filmmakers,” said Chris Stelly, executive director of Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development.

“As the festival embarks on its 29th year, the films scheduled this year are simply incredible,” Stelly added. “It is especially meaningful that the festival kicks off with ‘Green Book,’ which was filmed here in Louisiana. ‘Green Book’ is generating a lot of awards buzz and will perhaps further Louisiana’s tradition of Oscar-caliber movies, such as ‘Ray’ and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild.’ ”

The festival also announced a special screening of the newly remastered “Cane River.”

Written and directed by Horace Jenkins in 1982, the film hasn’t been seen for more than 36 years, in part because of Jenkins’ death after the film’s premiere in New Orleans.

The racially tinged drama is set in Natchitoches.

Festival passes are now available. Pass holders and NOFS members will be able to reserve tickets online on Sept. 24. Individual tickets will go on sale to the public on Oct. 3. More information is available at neworleansfilmfestival.org.