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"Cinema On The Bayou" says the show must go on, but online

Over 140 films will be streamed; 47 of those are French-speaking.
Posted at 6:16 PM, Jan 19, 2021

LAFAYETTE, La. — Louisiana’s second largest film festival, "Cinema on the Bayou", is still happening this year, amid the pandemic. However, there will be some changes to the celebration.

For the first time ever, the festival will have to take place virtually. The program will include more than 140 films, ranging from narrative to experimental. Documentaries and animations will also be featured.

For the next eight days, festival goers can experience and watch over one hundred films from near and far. Miguel Lasala is a local filmmaker. He made a short film about the life of the late George Loli, who was a professor at University of Louisiana.

“It’s really going to be exciting to bring this to a larger audience,” said Lasala. “This tells the story that has to do with where we’re from, and what makes it really amazing is that people are attracted to this area from all walks of life.”

Pat Mire, the film festival’s founder and artistic director says holding the festival outside would’ve been tough due to Lafayette’s unpredictable weather.

“That’s when we said, we have no choice but to go virtual…” said Mire. “Like everyone else. Every film festival in the world is like this.”

Mire and his co-planner Rebecca Hudsmith said that the transition to a virtual setting came after they didn’t see any improvement in the pandemic.

“When March hit, when we were on lock-down, we were all wondering is this going to be over in May, June, July… as it progressed, we started looking at what film festivals were doing around the world," said Hudsmith.

Once they opened their portal for entries for the 2021 festival back in April of last year, they received several hundreds of films. That’s when they knew they had to find a home for these films.

“For their sake, if no other reason, we knew we had to go forward, and we knew we had to do it online,” said Hudsmith.

The organizers say that there are some perks to an online festival, such as having access to the films 24/7 for the duration of the festival, or watching the films over and over – this is something that wouldn’t normally happen during a traditional festival.

To buy tickets to the 16th Cinema on the Bayou festival, click here.

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