Rob Reiner's “LBJ,” a movie about President Lyndon B. Johnson that was filmed in New Orleans, will open the New Orleans Film Festival on Oct. 12 at the Orpheum Theater.
Following the screening, Woody Harrelson, who portrays Johnson, will present Reiner with the New Orleans Film Society’s Career Achievement Award.
The film festival on Wednesday announced its opening and closing night films and its celebrity guests.
The 27th annual fest will run Oct. 12-20 at multiple venues throughout the city. All-access passes are available at www.neworleansfilmfestival.org.
The 26 films Reiner has directed include “When Harry Met Sally,” “A Few Good Men,” “The Princess Bride,” “Stand by Me,” “Ghosts of Mississippi,” “The Bucket List” and “This Is Spinal Tap.”
“Rob Reiner's impressive body of work offers a prismatic insight into the gamut of human emotion,” said Jolene Pinder, executive director of the New Orleans Film Society.
“His stories are an indelible part of our cultural memory — from genre-defining mockumentary to side-splitting comedy, from the fairy tale cult classic to an of-the-moment political narrative like ‘LBJ.’ We are so grateful he has found a home for some of his stories here in Louisiana.”
The festival’s closing night will feature a 25th anniversary screening of “Daughters of the Dust.” After the screening, the New Orleans Film Society will present a Career Achievement Award to its director, Julie Dash. The 1991 drama was the first widely distributed feature film directed by an African-American woman.
On Oct. 14, the festival will host the world premiere of “Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table.” New Orleans native Patricia Clarkson narrates the documentary about the New Orleans restaurateur credited with bringing Creole-style dining to the American mainstream. She also pioneered the concept of the celebrity chef.
“Ella Brennan’s tireless work ethic, love of family and passion for food are beautifully depicted in this moving documentary,” said Alexa Georges, an honorary board member and former president of the New Orleans Film Society.
“LBJ” follows Johnson from his loss of the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960 to his quest after President Kennedy's assassination to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Harrelson’s co-stars include Jeffrey Donovan as Kennedy and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Johnson’s wife, Lady Bird.
“Daughters of the Dust” is set at the beginning of the 20th century in a multigenerational family living off the South Carolina coast in the Sea Islands. Descendants of slaves from West Africa, members of the islands’ Gullah community still practice their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions. Tension arises when a group of sisters leave the community and then return with plans to move the family to the mainland.
Brennan, the subject of “Commanding the Table,” is the matriarch of the Brennan family and a principal behind Commander’s Palace. She helped launch the careers of dozens of chefs and restaurateurs, including Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. Academy Award and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks directed.
Film Society members may purchase all-access passes for $200, non-members for $270.
Film packages and weekender passes go on sale Sept. 12. Tickets go on sale for film society members Sept. 26 and to the general public Oct. 3. The festival’s main box office opens Oct. 10 at the Ace Hotel New Orleans.
For details, see neworleansfilmfestival.org.