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Preview: The New Orleans Film Festival

Will Coviello on this year's Cannes-on-the-Mississippi

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The New Orleans Film Festival (Oct. 11-18) announced a schedule full of major studio features, films shot in Louisiana, and films selected from competitive categories for features, documentaries, shorts, animated and experimental films.

  Feature highlights include films with dark subjects such as The Paperboy, About Cherry (pictured), Compliance and Iceman. Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Cusack and Nicole Kidman star in The Paperboy, in which a reporter suspects a man on death row has been wrongfully convicted. About Cherry, starring James Franco, Heather Graham and Ashley Hinshaw, is about a high school girl who goes from working in a strip club to doing fetish modeling in San Francisco. Director Stephen Elliott is a former sex worker and some of the film was shot at the San Francisco Armory, the largest adult film studio in the world. Compliance is based on a true story in which a fast food restaurant manager attempts to investigate a criminal complaint about a young female employee and oversteps her bounds. Silver Linings Playbook, with Robert DeNiro and Chris Tucker in supporting roles, features two dysfunctional people who accidentally find a way to support each other and get a handle on their lives. Iceman chronicles the life of Richard Kuklinski, an infamous contract killer.

  Other features include Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet, about retired opera singers who can't get along. In Gayby, two high school friends hit their thirties and despite their unconventional lives decide to have a child together. David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, writes and directs Not Fade Away, a film about a group of friends in 1964 New Jersey who form a rock band, and it stars James Gandolfini.

  The festival includes more than 45 films made in Louisiana. Among them is Varla Jean Merman's Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads, Bayou Blue about murders in a poor area of southeastern Louisiana, Mr. Cao Goes to Washington, about Anh "Joseph" Cao's political career, and T-Galop: A Louisiana Horse Story. Herman's House is a documentary about Herman Wallace, who spent years in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and imagined a house in which he would like to live.

  For a full schedule of films and events, visit www.neworleansfilmsociety.org. — Will Coviello

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