Click here to reserve your FREE spot for the 2023 South Summit (May 10-11, 2023).

The 2023 conference will be entirely virtual, free, and open to the public. Names of speakers and specific events will be announced soon. Register today to save the date on your calendar!

South Summit seeds conversation and action around creating, resourcing, and amplifying film and media in and about the American South.

The New Orleans Film Society’s South Summit is a convening of local, regional, and national media makers, arts funders, and institutional stakeholders, intended to seed conversations and action around creating, resourcing, and amplifying storytelling through film and media that shapes the perspective of the American South for those both outside and within it.

2022 South Summit

The 2022 South Summit (May 3-5, 2022) was the fourth iteration and followed 2021’s theme of shared power, mutually beneficial relationship building within the region, and mobility. South Summit is free and open to the public.





This field-building summit provides an opportunity to discuss critical issues facing both artists and institutions working outside the focus of the financial and media industry concentrated in New York and Los Angeles.

The conversations around this year’s summit are threaded together by a theme of Southern Legacy. Through a series of southern artist-led conversations in the shape of keynotes, spoken word presentations, panels, essays, and artist workshops, we will explore how the American South of today has been so deeply shaped and defined in media and storytelling by the events of its past. The Summit asks Southern filmmakers and storytellers to reflect on the many legacies they come from and envision the new legacies they would like to leave behind.

The summit will offer a keynote speech, four panel discussions, one breakout session, three featured artists and organizations, and an artist talk and workshop led by New Orleans born-and-based director and cinematographer Zac Manuel, presenting filmmaker and honoree of the 2022 South Summit.

The South Summit is free and open to the public to attend. The Zoom link will remain the same throughout the conference. During breaks between sessions, we’ll be spinning our Southern Playlist – a mix of tunes from different genres and parts of the region that celebrate the diversity of the South. 

Click to download: [Press Release] [Social Media Toolkit] [Flyers]

2021 South Summit





The 2021 South Summit is the third iteration, following 2018’s focus on envisioning what it means for Southern filmmaking to thrive, and 2019’s focus on contextualizing and curating film at the intersection of social justice and Southern identity for the cinema, gallery, and museum space. This year’s event extends the conversation to feature sessions examining how we share power, build mutually beneficial relationships in our region, and mobilize and develop creative leadership and dynamic storytelling within broader power dynamics in film and media that tend to center power on the East and West coast, and with those who benefit from socioeconomic power.

Click to Read South Summit 2021 Essays

South Summit 2021 will offer two keynote speeches (an opening and closing), four panel discussions, two breakout sessions, and two spoken word performances in addition to four commissioned essays that will be released concurrently with the summit by Southern artists Adam Forrester, Lee Laa Ray Guillory, Michelle Lanier, and Monique Michelle Verdin. South Summit 2021 will begin with a keynote speech by Alabama-based filmmaker Bo Mcguire on lessons he learned from his Alabama-roots that he employed while making his first feature, Socks on Fire, winner of the jury award at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Chaedria LaBouvier’s keynote speech on “How to Live with Your Dead” will end the summit on March 4th. See the full schedule and panel registration links below. See the full schedule on the left menu tab. New Orleans Film Society organized its inaugural South Summit in 2018, with the goal of convening just a small portion of the robust brain-trust that gathers at our flagship event, the New Orleans Film Festival. Since its inception, more than 100 national, regional, and local media stakeholders have participated in the convening. Through the Summit, we endeavor to collectively envision what it means for Southern filmmaking to thrive. The South Summit is designed to spark collaborative ideation among artists and institutional leaders, expand networks, and spotlight strong work being done across the region by Southern artists. At the summit, we hear directly from filmmakers and thought leaders whose work inspires us to imagine new possibilities for a Southern identity and the nation’s understanding of our region, and map the challenges and opportunities unique to our region. Topics explored at the South summit include: accountable curation in the south, countering extractive storytelling, and the challenges, needs and strengths/assets of Southern artists. We hope that the resulting documents will be impactful for organizations who wish to better understand and resource the Southern film community–– it was created to be shared & to instigate sharing, and we look forward to your thoughts! Click here to read the 2019 South Summit Report Click here to read the 2018 South Summit Report

Additional Resources

In an effort to broaden the dialogue to include many important voices who could not be in the room, New Orleans Film Society, in 2018 NOFF also surveyed 100 filmmakers from 12 Southern states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia. 22 industry representatives also completed the survey. View the survey results in full here For a list of funds, programs, and other resources specifically designed for Southern filmmakers and addressed during the South Summit, visit: We deeply appreciate the generosity of spirit with which our participants reflected and visioned with us as part of the South Summit. We look forward to continuing and deepening this conversation in partnership with other festivals and organizations, and at the New Orleans Film Festival to come.

South Summit Schedule


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

11:00 AM- 11:15 AM CST | Welcome Remarks & Land Acknowledgement
Speakers: Clint Bowie, Zandashé Brown
The 2022 South Summit launches on May 3rd with welcoming remarks by New Orleans Film Society staff members Zandashé Brown and Clint Bowie. Register here.

11:15 AM – 12:00 PM CST | Opening Keynote by Darcy McKinnon
Speaker: Darcy McKinnon
The South needs a new legacy, crafted around the diverse and rich complexities that truly make up the place(s) we call home. When people are more familiar with popular culture than they are with history, as storytellers our job is to bridge the gap through the art we push into the world. As we ask politicians, teachers, and leaders to critically examine the narratives of history, we must ourselves open up to a radical reimagining of the South’s problems and promise. Register here.

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM CST | Southern Playlist Break
Mixed by D.J. Chinua

12:15 PM – 12:25 PM CST | Artist Spotlight: Jose Torres-Tama presents “United States of Amnesia”
Speaker: Jose Torres-Tama
Visual and performance artist Jose Torres-Tama’s spoken-word piece is an effort to preserve the legacy of Latin American reconstruction workers who have helped to rebuild New Orleans but disappeared from the cultural memory of the city. It explores how undocumented immigrant workers that continuously rebuild are disappeared in current books of local history. Register here.

12:25 PM – 1:20 PM CST | Essay Panel: Writers on Southern Legacy
Speakers: Cierra Chenier, Ryan Craver, April Dobbins, and A.J. Riggins
Moderator: Zandashé Brown
Four Southern born-and-based writers and artists share excerpts from their commissioned essays exploring Southern Legacy for the 2022 South Summit. Using the written works as a guide, this conversation invites the audience to reflect on their own understandings of the personal, familial, communal, and historical legacies of the American South. This panel will be followed by a short breakout room where participants can continue the conversation. Register here.

1:20 PM – 1:50 PM CST | Breakout Session: Southern Legacy

1:50 PM – 2:00 PM CST | Southern Playlist Break
Mixed by D.J. Chinua

2:00 PM – 2:10 PM CST | Artist Spotlight: Yuts presents NORCO
Speakers: Yuts
Norco is a sci-fi Southern Gothic Adventure that immerses the player in the sinking suburbs and verdant industrial swamps of Louisiana’s petrochemical hinterlands. It is the first game from the collective Geography of Robots, created by Norco, Louisiana-born-and-raised writer and designer Yuts. Prior to its full release, the game won the inaugural Tribeca Games Award at Tribeca Film Festival and has been lauded as “a master of interactive storytelling” (Los Angeles Times) and “one of the best-written games of the year” (Kotaku). Join us for a short presentation of the game by its creator, Yuts. Register here.

2:10 PM – 3:30 PM CST | In Conversation: Zac Manuel x Nic Brierre Aziz
Speakers: Zac Manuel, Nic Brierre Aziz
Two New Orleans natives, award-winning filmmaker Zac Manuel and interdisciplinary artist and curator Nic Brierre Aziz explore key moments in the city’s history that have informed their artistry, and the intersection of historical and popular culture iconography as a tool for social commentary. Register here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

11:00 AM – 11:10 AM CST | Opening Remarks + Debrief
Speakers: Zandashé Brown, Clint Bowie. Register here.

11:10 AM – 12:45 PM CST | Panel: Building Legacies of Support feat. ITVS
Erica Deiparine-Sugars (Austin Film Society), Chris Everett (Southern Documentary Fund), Kiyoko McCrae (New Orleans Film Society), Rachel Raney (PBS North Carolina + Reel South)
Moderator: Sherry Simpson (ITVS)
How do you build lasting legacies of support that uplift Southern communities from within? Join ITVS in celebrating the role South-based organizations have played in fostering connections between filmmakers in the South and national partners. Register here.

12:45 PM – 1:00 PM CST | Southern Playlist Break
Mixed by D.J. Chinua

1:00 PM – 1:10 PM CST | Artist Spotlight: Juan Luis Matos presents Brief Friendly Reminders
Speaker: Juan Luis Matos
Miami-based filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist Juan Luis Matos presents “Brief Friendly Reminders” of our collective power, with love. Register here.

1:10 PM – 2:30 PM CST | Elements of Documentary Workshop with Zac Manuel and Vashni Korin
Speakers: Zac Manuel, Vashni Korin
What is the lifecycle of a documentary? Filmmakers Zac Manuel and Vashni Korin share their insights and experiences of producing a documentary from the initial idea to its eventual release and beyond. Register here.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

11:00 AM – 11:10 AM CST | Opening Remarks + Debrief
Speakers: Zandashé Brown, Clint Bowie. Register here.

11:10 AM – 11:20 AM CST | Artist Spotlight: Andy Sarjahani
Speaker: Andy Sarjahani
Arkansas and Louisiana-based filmmaker and photographer Andy Sarjahani takes us on a personal journey about legacy and upbringing. Register here.

11:20 AM – 12:50 PM CST | Panel: Our Strange New Land
Speakers: Roni Henderson-Day, Faren Humes, Nicholas Manuel Pino
Moderator: Alex Harris

For the book, Our Strange New Land: Narrative Movie Sets in the American South, Alex Harris photographed on over 40 film sets throughout the south as way to portray the creative imaginations of a new generation of southern filmmakers. In this panel, Harris joins three directors represented in his book (Roni Henderson-Day, Faren Humes, and Nicholas Manuel Piño). He will show some of the photographs made on each set and the filmmakers will show clips of their films as an introduction to a discussion about photography, filmmaking, and the creative process. Register here.

12:50 PM – 1:00 PM CST | Southern Playlist Break
Mixed by D.J. Chinua

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CST | Panel: Return to Center feat. Indie Media Arts South
Speakers: Sai Selvarajan, Cydney Tucker, Isaac Udogwu
Moderator: Curtis Caesar John
The Indie Media Arts South (IMAS) Screening Series was conceived to help make the general public and fellow artists more aware of the creativity and versatility of Southern filmmakers, particularly those from historically underrepresented communities. With their first edition, co-presented at South Summit, IMAS showcases 5 original films under the theme “Return To Center”, as beauty queens, a lost boy, a cultural preservationist, a birth doula, and an atypical basketball superfan, focus your attention on two equally key meanings of life: care and self-determination. It’s with this theme that the filmmakers crafted their films and that they have been curated for you to absorb and experience. Funding provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation – empowering world-changing work. Register here.

2:30 PM CST | Closing Remarks
Speakers: Zandashé Brown, Clint Bowie. Register here.


South Summit received critical support from JustFilms Ford Foundation, which is part of the Ford Foundation’s Creativity and Free Expression program and is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Oolite Arts, and South Arts.