The New Orleans Film Festival has been chosen as an Academy Award® qualifier in the Documentary Short Subject category by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As a qualifying festival, recipients of the festival’s juried Documentary Short Award will be eligible for Oscar® consideration without the standard seven-day theatrical run in L.A. or New York, provided the films otherwise comply with Academy rules. Along with this news, the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) announced today the dates for the 26th Annual New Orleans Film Festival. The Festival will take place October 15–22, 2015, at venues across the city.

The Oscar® announcement follows the success of the 25th Anniversary of the New Orleans Film Festival, which took place in October of last year. The selection, made from a field of thousands of festivals across the globe, makes New Orleans one of only 23 festivals in the U.S.—and 38 worldwide—considered as official Academy qualifiers for documentary shorts.

“This designation is such an honor—we are incredibly excited to be granted this distinction,” said Clint Bowie, director of programming for the New Orleans Film Society. “It really speaks to the heightened reputation of the festival and the strength of the films that we screen.”

Last year’s winner of the festival’s Documentary Short Award, “White Earth,” went on to become one of the five nominees in this year’s Oscar® race for Best Documentary Short. The director of the film, J. Christian Jensen, was in attendance at the festival and also participated in the festival’s Cinema Classroom program, where he traveled to local schools (including NOCCA and Akili Academy) to screen his film and talk about his work as a filmmaker.

“The Academy has a rich history with the New Orleans Film Festival, having offered tremendous support to NOFF through their grants program. We are so very proud to now join a prestigious group of festivals tasked with identifying the finest in the documentary short film genre. We see this accomplishment as yet another means of amplifying the reputation of the New Orleans Film Festival and our city’s status as a major center of the global film industry,” said Jolene Pinder, executive director of the New Orleans Film Society.

The winner of this year’s Best Documentary Short Academy Award® will be announced at the 87th Annual Ceremony, which will be broadcast live February 22 at the New Orleans Film Society’s annual Oscar® Party held in partnership with the Prytania Theatre. Prior to the ceremony, the Film Society will screen all five of the nominated documentary shorts at the Prytania Theatre on Thursday, February 19, at 7:30 p.m. (CST). Tickets to this screening, and to the Oscar® Party are available at the Prytania Theatre box office and on their website (theprytania.com).

Considered by Forbes.com as the “top growing film festival,” the New Orleans Film Festival saw the attendance of over 450 filmmakers, representing 237 Festival selections in its 25th edition. The Festival has been described by MovieMaker Magazine as “a happy blur of daiquiris and alligator nuggets, passionate, intelligent filmmaking and bizarre bouncy castle encounters.”

Submissions for the NOFF are now open, with the earlybird deadline coming up on February 20. The Festival features eight juried categories (Narrative Feature, Narrative Shorts, Documentary Feature, Documentary Shorts, Louisiana Feature, Louisiana Shorts, Experimental, and Animation) in addition to the non-juried category of Music Videos.

For more information on Festival submissions deadlines, please see below:

Earlybird Deadline: February 20, 2015
Regular Deadline: April 3, 2015
Late Deadline: May 8, 2015
Extended Late Deadline for Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts, Animation, Experimental, and Music Videos: June 16, 2015
Extended Late Deadline for Narrative Features and Documentary Features: June 26, 2015.
Extended Late Deadline for Louisiana submissions: July 10, 2015

ABOUT THE NEW ORLEANS FILM SOCIETY
Since 1989, the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) (http://neworleansfilmsociety.org) has engaged, educated and inspired through the art of film. This fall, NOFS will present the 26th Annual New Orleans Film Festival. NOFS hosts special events throughout the year: the French Film Festival, the New Orleans International Children’s Film Festival, and other events designed to benefit local film audiences, artists, and professionals. NOFS partners with local organizations to present monthly film series. NOFS reaches approximately 40,000 people year-round through its programming. NOFS is a 501©-3 organization.