NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) is reuniting Eve’s Bayou (1997) director Kasi Lemmons and actor Lynn Whitfield for a special conversation to be livestreamed on Friday, Aug. 21, 5:30 PM CDT at bit.ly/evesbayou. The conversation is free to stream and will be moderated by NOFS Programming Manager Zandashé Brown. Registration is required at bit.ly/evesbayou.
Running up to the 31st annual New Orleans Film Festival (Nov. 6-22, 2020), this reunion kicks off NOFS’ inaugural “Why Film Matters” series in which NOFS highlights a landmark film as the basis for a series of conversations and varied programming around it’s impact. In lieu of public gathering due to COVID-19, NOFS invites film lovers to stream the film synchronously on a platform of their choosing and join in on the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #EvesBayouReunion starting at 3:30 p.m. CDT on Friday, Aug. 21. @NOFS Twitter account will be leading the conversation with live tweets with lesser-known facts about the film and the scenes with the help of fans, writers, and critics.
The live tweet experience will be followed at 5:30 p.m. CDT by the live streamed reunion conversation of Kasi Lemmons and Lynn Whitfield, interviewed by Zandashé Brown. They will discuss the making of the film, its role in their careers, and the importance of Southern stories. The conversation is free and open to the public with online registrations required at bit.ly/evesbayou. The last 20 minutes of the livestream will be reserved for answering audience questions which will be collected through a live chat room.
The online event will also include the premiere of a new ten-minute short documentary created by the New Orleans Film Society about the enduring legacy of Eve’s Bayou and its impact on audiences, critics, and film professionals. Contributors to the documentary include producer Gina Charbonnet, film professor Simone Drake, Louisiana-based artist Lee Laa Rae Guillory, film preservationist Mike Mashon, film critic and scholar Carrie McClain, film critic and podcaster Gena Radcliffe.
Filmed in and around South Louisiana, Eve’s Bayou is Kasi Lemmons’ directorial debut, about which Roger Ebert said, “That Lemmons can make a film this good on the first try is like a rebuke to established filmmakers.” It also marks Samuel L. Jackson’s first producer credit, and he stars alongside Lynn Whitfield, Lisa Nicole Carson, Jurnee Smollett, Debbi Morgan, Meagan Good, and Diahann Carroll. In 2018, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” an honor only bestowed on 775 films to date.
IndieWire describes Eve’s Bayou as “The film is a Southern gothic tale about a 10-year-old girl who, during one long, hot Louisiana summer in 1962, discovers some unpleasant realities buried beneath her family’s tenuous façade. It became a classic of 1990s-era indie cinema, a rare and powerful instance of the depiction of the African-American experience from the perspective of a young Black girl, written and directed by a Black woman. Lemmons successfully subverted the brand of violence and other cliches that were common among studio-backed Black films of the period, instead telling an emotionally-resonant, almost dreamlike coming-of-age story set against a lush Louisiana setting. The film’s standout cast is led by a young, remarkable Jurnee Smollett in the eponymous role. Smollett stars in the new HBO series Lovecraft Country.”
The 31st New Orleans Film Festival kicks off on Nov. 6!
The New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) programming team is hard at work doing the final rounds of selections among 6000+ films that were submitted for consideration this year. In response to the realities of the year 2020, NOFF will showcase its official selection online through the Eventive streaming platform between Nov. 6-22, 2020 alongside limited live event components as permitted by the City of New Orleans and safety restrictions.
The festival lineup will be announced on Oct. 1, the same day that festival passes and tickets will be available to purchase online. Most local films in the lineup will be available to view from around the globe, providing more visibility than ever to the works of Southern storytellers.