New Orleans Film Festival Audience Award Winners 2019 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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New Orleans Film Festival Audience Award Winners 2019

Revisiting the Best of the Fest

Nov 13, 2019 By Zach Hollwedel
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The 30thNew Orleans Film Festival might have ended three weeks ago, but the films I saw over the course of the fest are still fresh in my mind. With hundreds of films to choose from, deciding which to watch was no easy feat. Nonetheless, with more collective runtime than there were hours in each day, I made some tough decisions and narrowed my focus to over a dozen screenings. Over 30,000 attendees did the same, and at every showing, audiences were asked to vote on the best films of the 2019 NOFF. After much vote tabulation, the New Orleans Film Society, which produces the yearly event, recently announced the Audience Award Winners in each category. 

Just Mercy, which opens in select theaters on Christmas Day, won in the Spotlight Film category. From director Destin Daniel Cretton, the moving film stars Michael B. Jordan as civil rights attorney and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson, as he works to free a wrongly convicted man from death row. Jamie Foxx stars opposite as the accused, Walter McMillian; he and Jordan both delivery tour de force performances. James Sweeney wrote, directed, and stars in the Audience Award-winning narrative feature, Straight Upa romantic comedy about intellectual (but not necessarily romantically physical) soul mates.

Director David Charles's film Gay Chorus Deep South 
was recognized as the best feature documentary. The film followed the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus on a road trip through the Deep South, a trip taken in response to discriminatory laws and freshly aired homophobia in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election.  The winner of the Louisiana Features category was also a documentary. Mossville: When Great Trees Fall chronicles the David versus Goliath battle between Stacey Ryan, a native of Mossville, Louisiana, who has watched his hometown be devoured by petrochemical plants, and Sasol, the international corporation that has gobbled up his town and has its sights set on building its fifteenth plant in Mossville - the largest planned for the western hemisphere. There were ties in both the documentary and narrative short competitions, and winners in the Louisiana, animated, and experimental short categories, as well as an Audience Award recipient music video and original series. All winners can be found here. 

Continue to check Under the Radar
's website and upcoming print issues for coverage of select above and other films from NOFF 2019. And for filmmakers aspiring to nab a coveted Audience Award at the 31st New Orleans Film Festival, you don't have to wait much longer to enter your work. Submissions for the 2020 NOFF open later this month. The 31stAnnual New Orleans Film Festival runs October 14-21, 2020. 


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