Louisiana Film Festival set April 19-22 in B.R.

BATON ROUGE — The 6th Annual Louisiana Film Festival announced its main slate, of 50 feature films, as well as a mentorship program and music lineup in Baton Rouge from April 19-22, with a special preview screening of Alex Shebanow’s Fail State at LSU on April 18.
The April 19 opening night features the Louisiana premiere of Ethan Hawke’s Blaze, a biopic of the late singer songwriter Blaze Foley that stars Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat, Josh Hamilton Sam Rockwell, Charlie Sexton, Wyatt Russell, Steve Zahn and Kris Kristofferson. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival for Dickey’s performance.
Closing the festival on April 22 will be the Louisiana premiere of Michael Berry’s Stuck, starring Giancarlo Esposito, Amy Madigan, Ashanti, Arden Cho, Omar Chaparro, Gerard Canonico, and Tim Young.
This year features the second edition of the Dan Ireland New Voices/New Visions competition, named after filmmaker and founding LIFF artistic director Dan Ireland, who passed away suddenly in 2016. Renée Zellweger starred in Ireland’s 1996 award-winning The Whole Wide World and attended last year’s fest to present the inaugural award.
“Dan Ireland was indispensible to the creation and success of this festival,” said LIFF Executive Director Chesley Helmsfield. “We are so proud to be able to honor his legacy and vision by presenting this exceptional lineup of films and I look forward to welcoming audiences to this year’s festival.”
This year’s Dan Ireland New Voices/New Visions competition lineup includes:
—And Then I Go (U.S., directed by Vincent Grenshaw);
—Brimstone & Glory (U.S./Mexico, directed by Viktor Jakovleski);
—The Guilty (Denmark, directed by Gustav Möller);
—The Light of the Moon (U.S., directed by Jessica M. Thompson);
—Montparnasse Bienvenue (France, directed by Léonor Serraille);
—Stealing Rodin (Chile, directed by Cristóbal Valenzuela Berríos).
The winner will receive a $3,000 cash award.
“One of the great joys of programming is the ability to bring a selection of great films from all over the world to an audience that might not otherwise get a chance to see this incredible work in a theater,” said program director Ian Birnie. “This year’s event showcases some of the best recent work from Louisiana filmmakers as well as a sampling of exceptional work from around the world and we’re delighted to bring them to Baton Rouge.”
Southern erspectives is this year’s selection of films from or focusing on the southern United States and the 10 films include narratives and documentaries and three world premieres, including Lauren Durr’s documentary 1000 Year Flood, chronicling the aftermath of the 2016 flood that inundated huge swaths of Louisiana, Teddy Smith’s Urban Country, starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Jason London, C. Thomas Howell and Brighton Sharbino, and Jowan Carbin’s drama Cut Off, starring Brad Dourif, William Baldwin, Laura Cayouette. Also featured are Rankin Hickman’s Dark Meridian; Stephen Sepher’s Dead on Arrival, Josh Freund’s Do U Want It?; Jonathan Evans’ On Our Watch, Rancher Farmer Fisherman from director SU.S.n Froemke; Two Trains Runnin’ from Oscar nominee Samuel D. Pollard (4 Little Girls) and Sonny Marler’s Tinker.
In addition to opening and closing nights, this year’s festival also features two other gala presentations: American Animals from director Bart Layton and starring Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Udo Kier and Ann Dowd, and Brett Haley’s Hearts Beat Loud, starring Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Blythe Danner and Toni Collette.
Special Presentations include Alex Shebanow’s Fail State (U.S.), Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Japan, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi), Off the Menu (U.S., director Jay Silverman), Outside In (U.S., director Lynn Shelton, starring Edie Falco and Jay Duplass), Pick of the Litter (U.S., director Don Hardy Jr.) and Where is Kyra? (U.S. director Andrew Dosunmu, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Kiefer Sutherland).
The Celebrity Spotlight section features six documentaries from some of the most recognized documentary filmmakers working today who have turned their lenses on some legendary personalities in the world of music, the arts and government, including violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin.
This year’s selection includes: Sammy Davis Jr: I Gotta Be Me (U.S., dir: Samuel D. Pollard); Itzhak (U.S./Israel, director Alison Chernik); Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (Ireland/UK, director Sophie Fiennes); RBG (U.S., dirs. Julie Cohen, Betsy West), The King (U.S., dir: Eugene Jarecki) and Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story (U.S., director Tiffany Bartok). Six American documentaries comprise The Real Reel, including Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos’ Bending The Arc, Jon Dunham’s Boston, Kevin Hines’ Suicide: The Ripple Effect, Maya Washington’s Through the Banks of the Red Cedar, James Lester’s Getting Naked: A Burlesque Story and Harriet Hirshorn’s Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End Aids.
The World Cinema section includes Cédric Klapisch’s Back to Burgundy (France), Ross Whittaker’s Between Land and Sea (Ireland), Xavier Legrand’s Custody (France), Francois Ozon’s Double Lover (France), Fellipe Barbosa’s Gabriel and the Mountain (Brazil), Koki Shigeno’s Ramen Heads (Japan), Bavo Defurne’s Souvenir (Belgium) and Peter Luisi’s Streaker (Switzerland).
LIFF’s non-film offerings include a musical performance from country music star Ben Dickey, who stars as Blaze Foley in Blaze with others to be announced, as well as mentoring sessions for aspiring and established filmmakers, led by Sam Claitor (Maze Runner) and Carol Bidault de L’Isle (Cut Off) among others. A full lineup of parties, musical performances, mentors and other special guests will be announced closer to the festival dates.
Passes and individual tickets for LIFF are on sale online at www.lifilmfest.org for tickets, passes and all other film festival information.

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