NEW ORLEANS -- Louisiana-made films are being shown alongside the work of filmmakers from across the world at the New Orleans Film Festival, which opened Thursday night with a red-carpet showing of the Louisiana-shot thriller "The Paperboy."
The film starring Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey premiered earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, but it's being celebrated in New Orleans because it was filmed in Louisiana and released by Millennium Entertainment, a production company based in the Bayou State.
"There's no doubt this has been an exciting year for filmmaking in Louisiana," said Jolene Pinder, executive director of the New Orleans Film Society, the group that organizes the festival.
Roughly 60 of the 200 films being shown have a Louisiana connection, including a documentary about New Orleans jazz singer Meschiya Lake and her struggle to overcome drug addiction as the city recovered from Hurricane Katrina.
The festival is in its 23rd year and will run through Oct. 18. It will also include a documentary about former U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao, R-New Orleans, who was the first Vietnamese-American to serve in Congress.
"It's an interesting portrait and a very well-respected film, so we are proud to be showing it here," said Clint Bowie, program director for the New Orleans Film Society.
Also to be shown: "The Sessions," a winner at this year's Sundance Film Festival that stars Helen Hunt and John Hawkes, and works by filmmakers from France, Denmark, Argentina, Israel and Puerto Rico.
In all, roughly 175 filmmakers are expected to attend the festival, Bowie said.
"The Paperboy" screening at the Joy Theater on Canal Street wasn't expected to include the film's stars, but filmmakers were invited to walk the red carpet.
The festival is set to close Oct. 18 with a showing of the Louisiana-shot thriller, "The Iceman," which is based on the true story of the notorious New Jersey contract killer and family man, Richard Kuklinski. The movie was filmed partly in Shreveport, La., and stars Michael Shannon, James Franco, Benicio del Toro and Winona Ryder.
New Orleans Film Festival: http://neworleansfilmsociety.org/festival