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A thunderclap amongst mountains: The 2022 New Orleans Film Festival declares its filmmaker awards from an extraordinary field

2022 New Orleans Film Festival

“A crop of Louisiana filmmakers so strong it could benchpress your mom.” 

That was the quote from…no, no–literally nobody said that. I’m trying to be dramatic. What I should have said was this: 

I walked into the “Doc Shorts: Southern Dreams and Ruminations” screening at the New Orleans Jazz Market on Saturday. The lights dimmed. I took a seat. Around 24 minutes later I watched the ethereal beauty of Andy Sarjahani’s To the Bone and experienced a flowing surge of emotion straight through my chest. I was living inside this filmmaker’s essay captured overtop the visually immersive beauty of snowflakes gently gathering in the Ozark National Forest. 

What followed was a watery feeling in my eyes that emotionally functional adults might call “tears”. 

The in-person portion of the 2022 New Orleans Film Festival started November 3rd with its premiere of The Inspection at Second Line Stages and concluded on the 8th at the Jazz Market with a wonderfully bluesy performance by Little Freddie King. In between those dates, independent filmmakers from Louisiana and around the world gathered to appreciate what they’ve invested and to explore the stories of their peers, their old friends, and the just-made-soon-to-be-forever friends.

2022 New Orleans Film Festival - Jazz Market - Little Freddie King

The gathering is a “thunderclap” because well, how do you best describe a gathered outpouring of creative energy? All these storytellers together exude power, and that’s what was seen in the muscular storytelling present in an extraordinary field of selections for this year’s festival.

The awards ceremony took place at the New Orleans Jazz Market during the Sunday morning Filmmaker’s Brunch (AKA the “Saturday afterparty hangover award thing”). Here were some of the highlights of the 2022 New Orleans Film Festival:

  • The Best Louisiana Feature Award goes to Hollow Tree by director Kira Akerman. The film is a coming-of-age film about three girls from different heritages and tells the story of their experience with the climate crisis. The award also came with a $15,000 Panavision camera package and one free screening at Light Iron.
  • Our Father the Devil directed by Ellie Foumbi wins the Narrative Features Jury Award. With the award, Foumbi received a $15,000 Panavision camera rental package and $13,500 worth of services from Light Iron post-production. Our Father the Devil winning an award is nothing new – it has been sweeping the circuit and just won “Best Narrative Feature” at the Indie Memphis Film Fest a few weeks ago.
NOFF 2022 Best Narrative Feature
  • Little Trumpet by director Megan Trufant Tillman (she also goes by SOLTHOUGHT) wins the Best Louisiana Short Award. Little Trumpet embeds itself in the heart of New Orleans in the 7th Ward and follows a nine-year-old boy who wants to learn the trumpet.
  • The John-Carlo Monti Memorial Award is awarded for the second year. This award shines a light on an on-set behind-the-scenes crew member, an area rarely (or never) acknowledged outside the film community. The award goes to a recipient who exudes positive energy as an on-set presence and Swiss Army knife. This year’s recipient was Bao Ngo, who also authored a documentary in 2021 about the New Orleans Vietnamese community titled Mary Queen of Vietnam.
  • The South Pitch Award is won by Andy Sarjahani for his documentary feature pitch for “Untitled Iranian Hillbilly” project. The award gives him the invitation to apply for an artist’s grant from Warner Bros. Discovery in the amount of $10,000.

The New Orleans Film Festival recognized creators in several other categories and the comprehensive list of awards can be viewed on the 2022 NOFF Awards page.

From a technical perspective, these filmmakers were all competing against each other for recognition. Creatively? They all shared a foundation that connected them: 

They were all here to tell stories.

Fable House is a video production company based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that specializes in production for film, video, commercials, and TV. Our team are experts in physical production, post-production, and VFX. We produce content for major brands, TV networks like Syfy and Lifetime, and provide production services to Louisiana’s never-say-die indie filmmakers.

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