Individual tickets are now available to book! Click here to see the festival pass options and click here to see membership benefits. Download the print-friendly schedule here.

The competition lineup is now out! After receiving over 3000 submissions from 104 countries for the 32nd anniversary of the festival, our seasoned team of programmers selected a slate of 170 films in competition that represent a wealth of perspectives. Overall, films directed by women and gender non-conforming directors account for 64% of the lineup, and films helmed by directors of color make up 73% of the lineup, with 36% of films coming from Black directors. Films made in the American South represent 60%, and Louisiana-made films represent 22% of the lineup and the directors of selected films represent 24 different nationalities. Additionally, the lineup boasts 28 world premieres and 11 US premieres.

View 2021 New Orleans Film Festival film guide.

NOFF2021 Filmmaker Conference Lineup

The majority of our conference programming will be free and open to the public in the NOFF2021 Virtual Cinema for the duration of the festival (Nov 5-21, 2021). Don’t miss our two live programs in the NOFF Virtual Cinema, listed here first.


Live Events


Beyond Resilience: Wellness and Sustainability for Artists at the End of the World
LIVE Nov 11, 3pm

Amid the multiple, intersecting apocalypses of a worldwide pandemic, climate disaster, and racial and economic injustice, how do filmmakers of color sustain their careers and creative practices while also caring for themselves, their loved ones, and their communities?

Firelight Media presents a special edition of its Beyond Resilience series with the New Orleans Film Festival to bring together nonfiction filmmakers for a discussion about wellness and sustainability during unprecedented and possibly end-times. The discussion will include specific resources, strategies, and practices related to financial stability and self-care that these filmmakers have discovered or created to sustain themselves and their work.

Featured Panelists:
Julianna Brannum
Byron Hurt
PJ Raval
Angela Tucker

Moderated by:
Ani Mercedes

Panel Sponsor:
Firelight Media

Virtual Cinema link


Louisiana Tax Incentives, Demystified
LIVE Nov 15, 3pm

Motion picture production in Louisiana is at an all-time high and it looks like 2021 will be another record-breaking year for our state. Join us for a discussion with Chris Stelly, Executive Group Director of Louisiana Entertainment (a division of Louisiana Economic Development) about the current state of the Louisiana film industry. This is a live presentation, to be followed by a brief Q&A period open to virtual audience members.

Panel Speaker:
Chris Stelly

Moderated by:
Zandashé Brown

Panel Sponsor:
Louisiana Entertainment & Digital Media

Virtual Cinema link


Pre-recorded Events


Keynote: “Future Architects of Cinema” by Sonya Childress

For over two decades, Sonya Childress has leveraged the power of film to support social justice movements and narrative change. She is a sought-after strategist, speaker, and writer on cultural strategy and impact production. Sonya currently serves as Senior Fellow with the Perspective Fund where she advances ethical, accountable, and impact-focused filmmaking practices through research, writing, and initiatives.

Virtual Cinema link


Aesthetics of Black Love

Featured filmmakers from our lineup share the inspiration that has helped shape their aesthetics beyond stories of struggle and trauma, instead evoking strength, beauty, love and joy. Each of these directors brings a depth of experience in multiple mediums that informs their practice.

Featured panelists:
Juliana Kasumu
Vashni Korin
Renee Maria Osubu

Moderated by:
Zandashé Brown

Virtual Cinema link


Anywhere But Here: Time Travel, Escapism and Imagination in Cinema

As the world around us becomes unrecognizable, filmmakers are finding imaginative ways to explore and envision a radically hopeful future or a safe and comforting past. Filmmakers traverse the endless possibilities of time travel in cinema by creating spaces of escape (both real and imagined) for those threatened by the real world.

Featured Panelists:
Koku Musebeni
Nisha Platzer
Joseph Sackett
Naures Sager
Anna Zhukovets

Moderater:
Zandashé Brown

Virtual Cinema link


Channeling the Past: The Power of Archival

How can archival be both a form of liberation and a form of oppression? Is one more true than the other? Four filmmakers from this year’s festival discuss their work and how we can engage with archival material to tell a story.

Featured Panelists:
Audrey Jean-Baptiste
Maxime Jean-Baptiste
Tarabu Betserai Kirkland
Nailah Jefferson

Moderated by:
Kiyoko McCrae

Virtual Cinema link


Getting to Know Your Local Film Commission

Your local film commission might be an asset to your next project in more ways than you think. St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commissioner Tony Armer walks us through some of the most underutilized resources offered by film commissions and their value in the world of independent film.

Featured Speaker:
Tony Armer

Moderated by:
Zandashé Brown

Panel Sponsor:
St. Peterburg Clearwater Film Commission

Virtual Cinema link


Indie Media Arts South Presents: Big and Small Steps Towards Inclusive Programming

With the national conversation around inclusion in full swing, the film industry is undergoing its own soul searching regarding equitable practices. Public critique is centered on the push back against extractive filmmaking (i.e. who gets to tell the story?) and systems of rewards (i.e. Oscars so White). How do film programming organizations advance meaningful inclusion and responsibly renegotiate their relationships with filmmakers, subject matters, and audiences? This conversation among programmers in the South will explore inclusive programming values, the shift in focus to regional and local filmmakers, and ideas for adopting more equitable practices regardless of resources or capacity.

Featured Panelists:
Zandashé Brown
Lana Garland
Dr. Thaddeus W Jones Jr

Moderated by:
Jordan Young

Virtual Cinema link


Lifting as We Climb: Building an Independent Filmmaking Community

Writer and director Felicia Pride explores what it means to build and be a part of a filmmaking community. How can we be the support that we need? Through systems of shared support, knowledge, resources, and feedback, we are able to simultaneously lift as we climb.

Featured Panelists:
Melissa Jones
Felicia Pride

Moderated by:
Zandashé Brown

Virtual Cinema link


Love On Screen: Creating Trust and Chemistry in Fiction

Lovers, cousins, siblings, parent and child. Filmmakers navigate the world of intimacy and relationships onscreen. What does it look like for actors to cultivate the love and care that their roles require? And what behind-the-scenes practices make this work possible?

Featured Panelists:
Mandy Marcus
Martin Edralin

Moderated by:
Zandashé Brown

Virtual Cinema link


Southern Resources for Documentary Filmmakers

The South is much more than delicious food, great weather, and Southern hospitality. It has become a hub for documentary filmmaking. In this roundtable, Southern Documentary Fund hosts a discussion on organizations in the South that are supporting the documentary genre and why it’s so important to cultivate and support talent in the region.

Featured Panelists:
Rahi Hasan
Teresa L. Hollingsworth
Nick Price

Moderated by:
Christopher Everett

Panel Sponsor:
Southern Documentary Fund

Virtual Cinema link


The Voice of the Protagonist: Creative Writing for Documentary Film

Three festival featured films guided by writing from their protagonists that take a lyrical approach to storytelling guide this discussion on creative writing in documentary. What do these collaborations look like between artists in front of and behind the camera to honor these stories?

Featured Panelists:
Nasir Bailey
Zack Godshall
Emily Cohen Ibañez
Jackson Kroopf

Moderated by:
Kiyoko McCrae

Virtual Cinema link


The 2020 New Orleans Film Festival hosted live panel discussions with filmmakers, industry professionals, critics, and grantors from all around the South and the world. Most panels are now available to watch for free on our YouTube channel on this playlist. We hope you enjoy and take benefit from watching these recordings.