Monday, August 12, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender: NOLA-shot '12 Years a Slave' named opening-night selection of 2013 New Orleans Film Festival

Benedict Cumberbatch, left, and Chiwetel Ejifor star in director Steve McQueen's New Orleans-shot adaptation of 'Twelve Years a Slave.' (Jaap Buitendijk / Fox Searchlight)

Mike Scott, | The Times-Picayune

The 2013 New Orleans Film Festival will boast a decidedly local feel when it kicks off its 24th edition on Oct. 10. Director Steve McQueen's locally shot adaptation of "12 Years a Slave" -- starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt -- was named the festival's opening-night selection in an announcement this afternoon (Aug. 12).

McQueen's film, which will be screening more than a week before its limited theatrical release, will be the centerpiece of a red-carpet, opening-night event to be held at the newly renovated Civic Theater on O'Keefe Avenue. McQueen is expected to be among those in attendance.

The announcement was made this afternoon (Aug. 12) by the New Orleans Film Society, which organizes the annual eight-day celebration of film. At the same time, it was announced that director Lily Keber's music documentary "Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker" -- about the legendary local piano player / eccentric -- will be the film's closing-night selection.

Film Society Executive Director Jolene Pinder expressed special satisfaction that the films filling both prestigious slots have local roots, in addition to creating early buzz.

"Both of the films were produced in New Orleans and represent the burgeoning film scene in the city," Pinder was quoted as saying in a news release. "We are honored that the New Orleans Film Festival will be the premiere for both films. With these two films bookending the festival, we can showcase both larger productions now calling Louisiana home while also celebrating our indigenous filmmakers."


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