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Celebrating Film

Catch these Baton Rouge-flavored films at 2018 LIFF

Living in Baton Rouge has its advantages if you’re a film aficionado. There’s plenty of beautiful scenery, delicious food and beer, and most importantly, an outstanding array of opportunities both behind and in front of the camera.

Mixed into all of this is the Louisiana International Film Festival (LIFF), a local cinematic institution that specializes in exposing audiences to foreign and domestic works, while highlighting new films.

Running from April 19-22 at the Cinemark Perkins Rowe, the 2018 LIFF pulls together a multi-faceted experience focusing on education, exposure, and entertainment while presenting a full spectrum of fiction featuring works by both established masters and emerging talents.

“What we saw internally within the festival is that the number of indigenously-made movies has increased,” said Chesley Heymsfield, director of LIFF. “We’ve seen a steady rise in local filmmakers.”

Highlights from this year’s schedule include screenings of films that contain messages of overcoming adversity and promoting hope. Representing the homegrown filmmaking scene, LIFF will feature Baton Rouge-made films from local directors, familiar locations, and the hardworking people of the city. Standouts among these films include three documentaries: “Suicide: The Ripple Effect,” “1,000 Year Flood,” and “Fail State.”

“Suicide: The Ripple Effect,” directed by Louisiana native Greg Dicharry, chronicles the story of Kevin Hines, who attempted suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. After surviving the jump, Kevin has been on a mission to help others recover and stay alive. The film also features a few of the world’s leading suicide prevention experts and sheds light on people who are using their experiences with suicide to help others find the hope they need to stay alive.

“The thing about Kevin’s message in the film is he has a unique way of sharing his story in a way that gives loved ones who’ve lost people to suicide a bit more understanding and peace,” said Dicharry.

“Fail State,” directed by Alexander Shebanow, puts focus on the rise and fall of the for-profit college industry and its effects on higher education. Executively produced by Dan Rather, this film is an expansive exposé that examines the exploitations of low-income and minority students who are left drowning in debt and how it affects higher education. The film includes interviews conducted with LSU president F. King Alexander.

“F. King Alexander has been writing on the subject for decades now, and his writing is just superb,” said Shebanow. “He’s a historian of higher education policy, and he’s able to—in a very concise and clear way—explain everything that’s happened in higher education, what led to the state disinvestment in public colleges and what led to the rise of for-profit college industry…[He] is a perfect eyewitness to the story.”

“1,000 Year Flood” directed by Lauren Durr, is a portrait of the hardworking citizens of Baton Rouge as they cope with the unimaginable aftermath of Louisiana’s Great Flood of 2016. Told by the real people who lived through it, “1,000 Year Flood” gives focus to the surrounding communities who banded together to save themselves when their pleas for help fell on deaf government ears. It is a story that aims to change the face of disaster recovery for the future as Baton Rouge rebuilds its community.

“I think a lot of people noticed during the flood, and right after, there wasn’t a lot of news coverage,” said Durr. “There was a lot of people feeling forgotten, a lot of people feeling like they were shouting at the top of their lungs and no one could hear them. We wanted to make sure the nation could hear these people’s story and could see the pattern of disaster recovery and how it’s not serving these people.”

Photos courtesy of LIFF


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