We are pleased to say that the 10th Annual Local Sightings Film Festival will open with THE CHURCH ON DAUPHINE STREET, a locally-made documentary detailing “one Katrina story.” From the film’s website:
One year ago, Father Joe Benson watched Hurricane Katrina tear the roof off his church’s historic parish building, just two years after a fire nearly destroyed the church itself. But Blessed Seelos Catholic Church sits on precious high ground in New Orleans’ upper 9th Ward, and it is now being rebuilt by volunteers—-who are hammering right through another hurricane season.
In this independent feature-length documentary, we meet Father Benson and Arthine Vicks, two kindred spirits who are working to reunite a fiercely independent congregation: Blessed Seelos is home to the city’s deaf Catholics and to many Spanish-speaking immigrants, making it trilingual and unlike any other church in New Orleans. With volunteer help from a group of strangers from Seattle and union craftsmen from New Orleans, many of whom lost their own homes to Katrina, this small church, perched on the edge of some of the worst destruction America has ever seen, is slowly becoming a symbol of renewal for the city.
The Church on Dauphine Street reveals what life in New Orleans looks like a year after Hurricane Katrina and tells the story of Father Joe, Arthine, their unique church and the kindness of strangers.
We can also reveal that our jury of film industry professionals will this year include acclaimed filmmakers Joe Swanberg and Vanessa Renwick, and Jonathan Marlow (former VP of GreenCine and founder of new V.O.D. company Cabinetic). The jury awards cash prizes for the best feature ($4,000) and short film ($1,700) in competition. The winning films will also be given the opportunity for theatrical exhibition in NWFF’s cinemas.
Joe Swanberg studied film production at Southern Illinois University, where he developed an interest in emerging video technology and a crippling addiction to the Internet. His three features, KISSING ON THE MOUTH (2005), LOL (2006) and HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS (2007), premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and have played extensively at festivals around the world. HANNAH is being distributed by IFC First Take and is currently playing in theaters across the country. He produces an episodic web series, YOUNG AMERICAN BODIES, with his wife, Kris, that can be viewed for free online at http://www.nervevideo.com. He lives and works in Chicago, IL.
Jonathan Marlow is a writer, director, producer, cinematographer, critic, curator and composer. Not necessarily in that order. A moderately accomplished filmmaker with more than two dozen short films to his credit, Marlow is presently the President and CEO of the independent film distributor Cabinetic, with stops at Amazon.com, Scarecrow Video (where he ran the smallest operational movie theatre in the world) and the Rent-by-Mail/Video-on-Demand service Greencine along the way. It is not uncommon for Marlow to draw on his disparate experience in articles and interviews for numerous publications on issues pertaining to the motion picture business. Concurrently, he is a Board member of the San Francisco Cinematheque and occasionally hosts film screenings throughout the country showcasing remarkable cinematic works that are otherwise unavailable elsewhere.
Vanessa Renwick is a Portland-based film/video/installation artist and all-around cinematic rabblerouser. Her experimental and poetic documentary pieces explore place, relationships, landscapes, borders of all sorts, and the possibility of hope. Over the past year, her work has been shown in exhibitions and festival across North America (from Art Basil in Miami to True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Mo and the Vancouver International Film Festival) as well as across the globe (Germany, Belgium, Scotland, Italy, Austria, South Korea, Mexico.) She is the recipient of numerous festival awards, grants and residencies. Her work has pushed at the boundaries of the documentary form, and her efforts as a curator/organizer has helped bring similarly unique work from Northwest film artists to an international stage.