New Orleans 2018: Documentary Overview

The 29th New Orleans Film Festival

October 17-25

Filmmakers and industry continue to be drawn to this popular and well-regarded Southern regional event, which presents nearly 40 docs among its 60+ feature offerings.


Among the films competing in the Documentary Competition are: Emily Harrold’s WHILE I BREATHE, I HOPE, which follows Bakari Sellers uphill struggle as he runs for lieutenant governor in South Carolina; Nadia Shihab’s JADDOLAND, a portrait of the filmmaker’s mother, an Iraqi artist in Texas; and Hao Zhang’s GIMME A FAITH, which follows evangelical Christian Chinese students studied in North Carolina.


The Louisiana Competition’s nonfiction titles include: Mark K Brockway and Timothy Givens’ MISSISSIPPI MADAM: THE LIFE OF NELLIE JACKSON, about an African-American divorcee-turned-brothel madam; Allison Bohl Dehart and Peter Dehart’s BENDING LINES: THE SCULPTURE OF ROBERT WIGGS, a portrait of an artist and his unique scientific approach to his work; and Lily Keber’s BUCKJUMPING, a look at New Orleans’ dance traditions.


Other sections featuring documentaries include: Spotlight Films, with upcoming DOC NYC opening night selection, John Chester’s THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, which follows a couple’s odyssey to establish a biodynamic farm; Caribbean Voices, with Jose Hiriart’s PÉP SOUVREN (SOVEREIGN PEOPLE), about activists fighting for true democracy in Haiti; and Change-Makers, which includes Harry Moses’ GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY, a case study exposing the injustices in New Orleans’ criminal justice system; Ada McMahon and Wendi Moore-O’Neal’s THIS LITTLE LIGHT, about a woman forced to stay closeted to do relief work post-Katrina; and Rodrigo Dorfman’s THIS TACO TRUCK KILLS FASCISTS, about a traveling theatre project exposing the impact of immigration on New Orleans.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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