RETROPERSPECTIVE: The Jazz & Heritage Film Festival

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Showcasing the best in documentaries by and about southern Louisiana, with classic feature-length films paired with upcoming works-in- progress by current New Orleans filmmakers.

Film Festival

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation presents its first annual retrospective of documentary films, Feb. 19-21 at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center (1225 N. Rampart Street).

Covering topics ranging from Louisiana politics to New Orleans street culture to impending environmental catastrophe, the films we’ll screen offer unique perspectives on our community, often viewed through the prism of history.

It’s a rare opportunity to see important films – some of them funded by the Jazz & Heritage Foundation through its Community Partnership Grants – that are either seldom seen, or, in some cases, still in progress.

In addition to 13 screenings of feature-length films and shorts, we’ll host a kickoff party, a panel discussion on fair use of copyrighted material in films – and even a vinyl records swap. Admission to all events is free; no advance registration is necessary.

The Jazz & Heritage
Film Festival
Feb. 18-21, 2016
The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center

Thursday, Feb. 18: 
6:00 p.m.: Festival Kickoff Party
Join NOVAC at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center for cocktails in the courtyard to kick off the RETROPERSPECTIVE festival!

Friday, Feb. 19:  Political Culture and Cultural Politics in New Orleans
Filmmakers: Andy Koelker and Louis Alvarez, 1993
In Louisiana, Mardi Gras and elections run neck and neck as the favorite pastimes. This film presents a cast of characters only Louisiana could produce: Huey P. Long – “His Excellency,” the “Dictator of Louisiana”; Earl K. Long, Huey’s uncle, committed to an asylum while he was still governor; and Jimmie Davis, singing his farewell speech to the state legislature. This film is a romp through the high jinx and low morals of Bayou State politics.

7:15 p.m.: THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana
Filmmakers: Andy Koelker and Louis Alvarez, 1982, plus Q&A with filmmakers
This is the story of the Perez family and how its political wheeling and dealing have affected Plaquemines Parish. The film features interviews with Judge Leander Perez, whose total control of the parish was legendary. We also see clips of Leander Perez, Jr., and Chalin Perez, plus conversations with voters and prominent Plaquemines residents. The film reveals how – in a once-forgotten parish rocked by the discovery of oil in 1933 - poverty and wealth coexist uneasily amid political tyranny.

Saturday, Feb. 20: The Art of the Matter
3:30 p.m.: Vinyl Record Swap and DJ Session hosted by Euclid Records
Come exchange bona fides and jam to undiscovered gems with the gentlemen DJs from Euclid Records!

5:00 p.m.:  Panel Discussion: FAIR USE REVOLUTION - Yes you can! (use that footage)
When is it allowed – or not – to use film footage, a magazine cover, a family photo, a YouTube video (yes, the one with the celebrity in it), in your film? Fair use expert Patricia Aufderheide of American University explains how the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use makes those decisions easy and dependable.

6:00 p.m.: Screenings: WORKS IN PROGRESS
We offer sneak previews of exciting projects by respected New Orleans filmmakers before they’re released – or even finished – plus Q & A with the filmmakers.
BUCKJUMPING (Lily Keber, 2016)
THE FREE SOUTHERN THEATER (Jason Foster and Kiyoko McCrae, 2016)

Relive Mardi Gras with a trio of 2015 short films that focus on the bacchanal, plus Q & A with filmmakers.
FLOTSAM, Olivia Motley, 2015
BIG CHIEF, Paavo Hanninen, 2015

Filmmaker: Rebecca Snedeker, 2008, plus Q&A with the filmmaker
New Orleans filmmaker Rebecca Snedeker explores the insular world of the elite, white Carnival societies and debutante balls of Mardi Gras. Questioning their racial exclusivity, she takes an unprecedented insider's look at the pageantry and asks: What does it mean to be the queen of the masked men? As she examines her own place in an alluring tradition, Snedeker challenges viewers to reflect on the roles we all play – and disguises we wear - in our own lives.  

Sunday, Feb. 21: A SENSE OF PLACE - Everywhere else is just Cleveland
2:00 p.m.:  YEAH, YOU RITE! Andy Koelker and Louis Alvarez, 1984) explores the unique accents and vernaculars that make the spoken language of New Orleans so unique.
RUTHIE THE DUCK GIRL (Rick Delaup, 1999) tells the fascinating story of one of the French Quarter's most dynamic and eccentric characters, Ruth “Ruthie the Duck Girl” Moulon. For more than 50 years, the wedding dress-clad Ruthie roller-skated through the streets of the quarter with her pet ducks in tow. But, as we learn, every visible feature of Ruthie's outlandishly public existence echoes an event from her hidden past.

4:00 p.m.: THEY’RE TRYING TO WASH US AWAY - Environmental Justice in Louisiana
WORKS IN PROGRESS SCREENING: Learn about brewing environmental disasters in MOSSVILLE (Alex Glustrom, 2016) and FORGOTTEN BAYOU: Life on the Bayou Corne Sinkhole (Victoria Greene, 2016), followed by Q&A with the filmmakers.

5:30pm: BLUE VINYL
Filmmaker: Judith Helfand, 1995 
The hazards of bio-accumulation, pollution, and the makeup of what we commonly hope are benign plastics are tackled in this documentary. Judith Helfand follows the pathway of the siding destined for her parent’s house and traces its toxic origins in Louisiana.  Plus Q&A with the filmmaker.

"Retroperspective" is presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation with assistance from the New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC).


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