The New Orleans Film Festival kicks off Wednesday with the opening night presentation of LBJ, director Rob Reiner's portrait of President Lyndon Johnson starring Woody Harrelson (pictured), Jeffrey Donovan and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The festival screens more than 200 films, including narrative features, documentaries, short animated and live-action films, experimental works and more. The festival also curates slates of Caribbean films, music documentaries, music videos, films made in Louisiana and web movies. There are filmmaker panel discussions, a pitch competition and parties as well. Tickets for regular screenings are $12, $9 for New Orleans Film Society members. Visit www.neworleansfilmfestival.org for schedule and details. Below are some of the highlights for this week's showings.
LBJ. Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally, This Is Spinal Tap) focuses on Johnson's political career and the upheaval from when he lost the Democratic Party primary to John F. Kennedy to assuming the presidency following Kennedy's assassination.(7 p.m. Wed., Oct. 12; Orpheum Theater)
Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table. Patricia Clarkson narrates the profile of the legendary restaurateur and her career at Brennan's and Commander's Palace. Read an interview with the filmmaker here. (8:30 p.m. Fri., Oct. 14; Orpheum Theater)
Multiple Maniacs. John Waters' rarely seen 1970 film stars Divine, Mink Stole and the rest of his Dreamlander crew. Divine plays Lady Divine, the leader of a trashy traveling carnival show that pushes the bounds of perversity and gross-out acts. Her life plunges into chaos and sacrilege when she learns that her partner is cheating on her. (9 p.m. Fri., Oct. 14; 9:15 p.m. Sun., Oct. 16; Chalmette Movies)
Two Trains Runnin'. Rapper Common narrates the story about separate searches for retired blues musicians Son House and Skip James in Mississippi during the upheaval of 1964, when Civil Rights activists faced the Ku Klux Klan. The score features music by Gary Clark Jr., Lucinda Williams and others. (8 p.m. Thu. Oct. 13, Ashe Cultural Arts Center; 7:45 p.m. Sat., Oct. 15, Ace Hotel New Orleans)
Lion. In this Australian film by director Garth Davis, an Indian boy is separated from his family by accident and winds up in a Kolkata orphanage, where he is adopted by an Australian couple. As a young man, he relies on Google Earth to try to find his way home. (8:30 p.m. Thu., Oct. 13; Ace Hotel New Orleans)
Contemporary Color. The documentary covers a 2015 event in which Talking Heads' David Byrne recruited musicians to work with "Color Guard" teams, which perform routines with flags, rifles and sabers, at a show in New York's Barclays Center. Musicians included St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, Nelly Furtado and others. (8:30 p.m. Mon., Oct. 17; Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas)
Louisiana Shorts: Act Three. A showcase of short documentary films about local subjects features food and music. JoAnn Clevenger: A Girl Scout with Gumption profiles the restaurateur behind Upperline Cafe; The New Orleans Sazerac stars notable local mixologists; Dew Drop looks at a new owner's attempt to reopen the legendary music club, the Dew Drop Inn. (12:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 15; Entergy Giant Screen Theater)