AudNews is proud to present Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival and Festival Artistic Director Pat Mire.
What is your film festival’s mission?
Located in the heart of Cajun country, the annual Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival (COTB) is dedicated to presenting narrative, documentary and animated films and filmmakers with truly original voices in one of the friendliest, most unique cultures in the world. COTB is also committed to insuring that the Festival emphasizes both established and emerging filmmakers and the relationship-building that is crucial to their continued work.
What role does your film festival play in supporting your film’s community?
The word is out among independent filmmakers that we have a top notch film festival that is very competitive and super fun with great food and music and that means we bring really good films and the filmmakers who make them here to Lafayette, Louisiana each January for the benefit of the community, the culture and the film industry in Louisiana.
What is something people look forward to every year at your film festival?
Over the years, the festival has earned the respect of its many loyal filmmaker alums who come from around the world to share in the joie de vivre that defines the culture here. It says a lot about the festival that these highly talented independent filmmakers not only make repeat visits to COTB, but also recommend the festival to their filmmaker colleagues.
The festival is committed to creating these essential connections amid exquisite Cajun cuisine, amazing local music performances, and thought-provoking discussions, both on expert panels and at after-hours parties, about all that is near and dear to that creature known as the independent filmmaker.
How long has your film festival been around? How did your film festival come into being?
Cinema on the Bayou, Louisiana’s second oldest film festival, was founded in 2006 in Lafayette, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina caused the cancellation of the New Orleans Film Festival in the fall of 2005. I was contacted by the National Film Board of Canada, which offered a U.S. premiere of the documentary by famed Quebecois filmmaker Andre Gladu, “Maroon,” originally scheduled to premiere in New Orleans. Cinema on the Bayou was launched in response, and Gladu and his film opened the inaugural Festival, which screened more than 40 films.
Since 2006, Cinema on the Bayou has presented hundreds of internationally acclaimed documentary, narrative fiction and animated films, with filmmakers in attendance from across the United States and around the world. The Festival is now unique among film festivals in the U.S. in that it also regularly screens a large number of French-language independent films and presents filmmakers from throughout the Francophone world. COTB has the distinction among film festivals of having given the Audience Award to Moonbot Studio’s animated film “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” one year before the film was nominated for, and won an Academy Award in the animated short category.
The 2016 festival lineup of 198 films was chosen from a pool of more than 1,200 submissions, including 27 narrative features and 24 documentary features, 99 narrative shorts, 30 documentary shorts and 18 animated shorts. The vast majority of the films were World, U.S. or Louisiana Premieres. Included within the official selections were more than 30 French-language films and 20 films from Japan, as well as films from Nepal, India, Australia, the Dominican Republic, the U.K., Algeria, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Argentina, Canada and France.
What do you want audiences to take away from your film festival?
Perhaps our festival director, Rebecca Hudsmith, said it best about our 2016 line-up, “I am so proud of the quality and breadth of the films screened this year.” “From the Canadian Yukon to the mountains of Nepal to the streets of Tokyo to the wetlands of Louisiana, these films present heartfelt stories that entertained us, yes, but they also enriched our lives.”
Anything else you’d like to tell the audience about your festival?
Film submissions for the 12th Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival (January, 2017) will open March 25, 2016. Festival passes and ticket information for the general public will be available on our website in May, 2016.
For filmmakers whose films are accepted, Cinema on the Bayou offers all-access passes for the filmmakers and complimentary lodging for up to four days for filmmakers traveling from outside the United States and for up to two days for filmmakers traveling from outside Louisiana. The Festival also offers plenty of after-hours food and drink. I tell them that, “we weigh them when they arrive and again when they leave, and I promise you, no one looses weight at Cinema on the Bayou!”
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