2017 Opening Night feature:


About LESLIE IWERKS, Director


Leslie is an Academy Award and Emmy nominated director and producer. For over a decade, she has produced, directed, and edited award-winning feature and short documentaries, television specials, tributes, corporate films, and digital content. Her clients have included Disney, Pixar, Hearst, Starz, Bravo, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, among others. Leslie is an avid traveler and has filmed on all seven continents documenting a wide array of subjects.


Her body of work encompasses enterprise feature films (The Pixar Story, Citizen Hearst, ILM: Creating the Impossible, the Imagineering Story, The Hand Behind the Mouse) to her acclaimed environmental and social issue documentaries (Recycled Life, Pipe Dreams, Dirty Oil and Downstream).


Her desire to innovate and push boundaries in documentaries, film, animation and new technologies has been cultivated and inspired by her family upbringing. Her grandfather, Ub Iwerks, was the original designer and co- creator of Mickey Mouse and multi-Academy Award winning visual effects pioneer.

Her father, Don Iwerks, also an Academy Award winner for Technical Lifetime Achievement, was founder of the large format film company, Iwerks Entertainment, building large format systems in over 200 theaters around the world. 



2016 PFF: SCENE 5 

Featured Louisiana filmmaker, Garret Bradley


Opening Night, Friday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m. 

BELOW DREAMS, written and directed by Garrett Bradley

A poetic journey following three young adults who navigate the streets of New Orleans in pursuit of employment, stardom, and unconditional love.

Professor Mike Miley who teaches Global Cinema at Loyola New Orleans, will introduce the film and lead a Q&A following the screening.

"With each of her films, Garrett Bradley continues to challenge and deepen our ideas of what a film and a film performance can be. Her work carries in it all the excitement of watching a high-wire performer working without a net." - Mike Miley

USA / Narrative / 71 Minutes

GarrettDirector Bio:
Garrett Bradley lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana. The recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Award, Lynn Weston Fellowship, Motion Picture Association of America Award, Mary Pickford Award and several academic fellowships, from 2003­-2004 Bradley worked as post­production assistant to filmmakers Laura Poitras and Linda Goode­ Bryant on the Emmy nominated film, "Flag Wars." Bradley has made 24 short films. "Below Dreams," a debut feature-length film, is honored by the Independent Filmmaker Project as one of only 10 projects selected for their 2013 Narrative Lab.

BELOW DREAMS will by introduced by professor Mike Miley of Loyola University New Orleans. Miley was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana and graduated with a degree in English Writing in 2001 from Loyola University New Orleans. Following this, he attended the American Film Institute and graduated with an MFA in directing in 2003. He currently teaches cinema at Loyola University New Orleans and has written for The Atlantic, Bright Lights Film Journal, Film International, Moving Image Source, and The New Orleans Review.




Find out more about participating filmmakers from past Pontchartrain Film Festivals



2014 PFF: SCENE 3  participating artists


LILY KEBER: Producer/Director.

Lily is a filmmaker and educator based in New Orleans. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Lily learned filmmaking at the International Film & Television Workshops in Rockport, ME. She taught at the community arts collective Appalshop in Whitesburg, KY before moving to New Orleans. Read more about her in the Director's Interview in the Oxford American:
During the summer of 2007, Lily co-directed Hutto: America’s Family Prison, a short film on the Department of Homeland Security’s policy of family detention. In 2008, Lily co-founded New Orleans Video Voices, a women-led media collective dedicated to expanding media literacy across the Gulf Coast. Her work has appeared on Democracy Now!, GritTV with Laura Flanders, Current TV, Electronic Intifada, SF Bay View, CommonDreams, and local PBS programming.
JON BOWERMASTER is a noted oceans expert, award-winning journalist, author, filmmaker, adventurer and six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council. His film "SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories" screened at the secon annual Pontchartrain FIlm Festival. It focuses on the lives of south Louisianans whose lives depend on the sea and filming concluded with the BP spill in the Gulf. His recent book is "Oceans, The Threat to the Sea and What You Can Do To Turn the Tide." His series Oceans 8 film series covered eight expeditions over 10 years of seven continents and all the worlds oceans - by kayak.
His film "Dear Governor Cuomo" screens Friday. Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.
GLEN PITRE was born in Cut Off, Louisiana, and worked his way through Harvard by fishing shrimp each summer. By age 25, American Film magazine dubbed him “father of the Cajun cinema” as his low-budget, French dialect “gumbo westerns” broke house records in bayou country theaters. With the help of the Sundance Institute, the internationally-lauded 1986 “Belizaire the Cajun” became his first English-language production.
In 2003, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert acclaimed Pitre “a legendary American regional director.” In 2012, he was the featured Louisiana filmmaker for the inagural Pontchartrain Film Festival.
He and his wife Michelle Benoit’s company, Côte Blanche Productions, released "Home Front" in 2012. It will screen at PFF3 at 3 p.m. Sunday,  “Homefront,” “The Man Who Came Back,” and more.
Maurice Martinez is New Orleans born and attended Xavier University and the University of Michigan. He is a poet, musician, filmmaker and professor at the University of North Carolina. His body of documentary work includes "The Quorum," "The Black Indians of New Orleans," "Too White to be Black, Too Black to be White: The New Orleans Creole," and "No Teacher Left Behind." His films are available from Doorknobfilms.com.

2013 PFF: SCENE 2  participating artists


Connie Castille

CONNI CASTILLE - Folklorist, Filmmaker, and Philosopher Conni Castille has written, directed and produced T-Galop: A Louisiana Horse Story (2012), I Always Do My Collars First (2007), Raised on Rice and Gravy (2009) and King Crawfish (2011) have been supported by the Louisiana Division of Arts and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Her work has received much recognition including the 2013 Humanities Documentary Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (T-Galop), Best Louisiana Feature Film by the New Orleans Film Festival (T-Galop), and Louisiana Filmmaker Award (I Always Do My Collars First). By using the everyday to convey universal meaning, her hope is that audiences leave with a new point of view, not just about Cajun or Creole culture, but about the power and worth of everyday people doing everyday things. Raised Cajun, in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, she views her work as an homage to her culture.






Courtney Egan

 COURTNEY EGAN -  Egan’s projection-based video installations weave botanical themes with strands of technology.  Strongly inspired by the flora of New Orleans, where she has lived and worked in since 1991, Courtney has shown extensively locally and beyond, in film festivals as well as in galleries, and is a founding member of Press Street’s Antenna Gallery.  Courtney holds an M.F.A. from Maryland Institute College of Art, and she is currently Media Arts faculty at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.  Courtney is represented by Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans. 







KOURTNEY KELLER -   A Grand Rapids, Michigan-born, New Orleans, Louisiana-based experimental media artist drawing from the tactile world, Kourtney Keller has exhibited her work in film, video, and installation in the United States and Europe.   Ms. Keller holds a BFA in Media Arts from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and an MFA as a Fellow from the University of New Orleans, LA with a concentration in Digital Media.  She has received Kodak’s Student Filmmaker Award, NextFrame Film Festival’s Editing Prize, and recognition for her most recent project, The DRIVEINEVITABLE, in Art in America (January 2011), in conjunction with New Orleans’ Biennial P.1.5.  Keller's skills are consistently engaged in freelance projects involving video, animation, photography, motion graphic design, illustration, and post-production. 



JIM WINTER - Winter is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Southeastern Louisiana University as well as a professional actor, director, playwright and producer. As an actor, Jim has performed at Madison Square Garden, 13th Street Repertory Theatre, The Hudson Guild, The Kennedy Center, Cleveland Public Theatre and in The People’s Republic of China.  Film acting credits include In the Dangling Conversation, Of Golden Sands and Crystal Brooks, Blind Date, Mellow Transgressions and Rabbit Days.

In 2006, his production of The Woolgatherer won the Big Easy Award for Best Drama.  In 2010, Jim directed the Southeastern Theatre production of the original play, Parking Lot Babies, which won seven national commendations for excellence from The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He is the author of three theatre textbooks, including the recently published, Act One; Scene One: An Actor’s Workbook.




2012 PFF participating artists


Swamp Gas

DAVID SULLIVAN’s brightly colored, subtly abstract prints and animations deal with his long-standing concerns with landscapes altered by civilization He will show a series of animations in a video loop that includes ‘Swamp Gas,’ ‘Sunset Refinery,’ ‘Bubble Pop’ and ‘Fugitive Emissions' in the Slidell Little Theatre lobby throughout the festival. He is also the artist who created the 2012 Pontchartrain Film Festival commemorative poster, “The Crab Editor.”


Sullivan says, “My animated paintings collapse the macrocosm into the microcosm. They are a collision of the gestural brushstrokes of abstract painting with the realism of 3d computer graphics. With a BFA from Louisiana State University and an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, Sullivan returned to Louisiana in the 1990s and continues to live and work in New Orleans.  Recent honors include a second-place award in the Acadiana Center for the Art’s Southern Open 2012, and a 2012 Career Advancement Grant from the Louisiana Department of the Arts.


His work has previously shown at Lawndale in Houston TX, the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, and the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center. David was an artist-in-residence at A Studio in the Woods and at Louisiana Artworks.

Chaos Hags


COURTNEY EGAN creates projection-based sculptural installations that mix botanical themes with shards of technology.  Her “Sleepwalkers (Night-Blooming Cereus),” a three channel monitor-based video collage, will be on view in the Slidell Little Theatre lobby throughout the festival. An experimental filmmaker , Egan will show four short films during the PFF- Louisiana Short Films on Nov. 3, 4 p.m. They include “Big Shtick,” 2003; “Chaos Hags,” 2003; “Mummy's Dance,” 2004; and “Cleveland Street Gap,” collaboration with Helen Hill that was awarded a Director's Choice Prize by the 27th Black Maria Film Festival.


In 2010 she presented a solo show, “Field Recordings,” at Heriard-Cimino Gallery in New Orleans. Recent group shows include “NOLA Now II” at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans; “The World According to New Orleans” at Ballroom Marfa; “Frontier Preachers” at The Soap Factory in Minneapolis; the Ogden Museum's "Louisiana Contemporary" juried show in New Orleans; and  "Uniquely Louisiana" at the Louisiana State University Art Museum at the Shaw Center in Baton Rouge. 


Courtney was an artist-in-residence at the Sante Fe Art Institute and at Louisiana Artworks in New Orleans.  She is a founding and current member of the visual arts collective Antenna, where she creates, curates, and instigates. She holds an M.F.A. from Maryland Institute College of Art.  She is a Media Arts faculty member at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).  Heriard-Cimino Gallery in New Orleans represents her work.



Glen PitreGLEN PITRE was born in Cut Off, Louisiana, and worked his way through Harvard by fishing shrimp each summer. By age 25, American Film magazine dubbed him “father of the Cajun cinema” as his low-budget, French dialect “gumbo westerns” broke house records in bayou country theaters. With the help of the Sundance Institute, his internationally-lauded 1986 “Belizaire the Cajun” became his first English-language production. He and his wife Michelle Benoit’s company, Côte Blanche Productions, recently re-release “Belizaire the Cajun,” a romantic adventure set in 1859 Louisiana, which will be screened opening night of the Pontchartrain Film Festival, Nov. 2, 7 p.m.


Since then Pitre's works in a variety of media and earned numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate and a knighthood from France. In 2003, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert acclaimed Pitre “a legendary American regional director.” He’s since gone on to make “Hurricane on the Bayou,” “The Scoundrel’s Wife”, “Homefront,” “The Man Who Came Back,” and more.


RON THIBODEAUX is the author of "Hell or High Water: How Cajun Fortitude Withstood Hurricanes Rita and Ike," published earlier this year by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press. During his 31-year career at a writer and editor for The Times-Picayune, he served as the newspaper's "resident expert" on Cajun culture. His landmark 2001 series "Culture at a Crossroads," taking stock of Cajun life in Louisiana at the turn of the new century, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.  He will provide the opening tribute to filmmaker Glen Pitre.



MOONBOT STUDIOS in Shreveport, La., created “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” which was awarded the Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film in the 84th Academy Awards®.  Inspired in equal measures by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, "Morris Lessmore" is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor.  It is also a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story that is now a best-selling children’s book and iPAD app. It will show Nov. 2, 4 p.m. as the featured film of the PFF - Louisiana Short Films.


Using a variety of techniques from miniatures, and computer animation to  2D animation,  the award-winning author and illustrator William Joyce and co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals. "Morris Lessmore" is old-fashioned and cutting edge at the same time.

Allison Bohl



ALLISON BOHL makes documentaries, experimental films, music video and features. She aims to capture beautiful images with minimal equipment. Since receiving her Bachelors of Fine Art at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Visual Arts, Allison has pursued a career in documentary and fiction filmmaking, graphic design and photography.


She has won several festival awards for her documentaries with Conni Castille, "I Always do My Collars First" and "Raised on Rice and Gravy," including Louisiana Filmmaker and Best Short Documentary at the New Orleans Film Festival. Her music video "Blessed Be, Honey Bee" made for the Seattle-based band Grand Hallway recently received an Award of Excellence and Best Cinematography at the Los Angeles Movie Awards. "I Always do My Collars First" will be shown at the PFF’s Louisiana Short Films on Saturday, 4 p.m.


Allison also contributed video art to U2's 360 degree European Tour that was shown as a part of the live touring concert. Bohl has just completed her first feature length documentary "King Crawfish" about the annual celebration of the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival and the Catahoula wild harvest Basin crawfishermen who provide their community with crawfish. She is currently directing "Louisiana Crossroads" a program of the Acadiana Center for the Arts. The pilot episode features concerts and interviews with venerable artists Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Sonny Landreth and DL Menard along with a soundtrack of original music recorded live.


SHARON EDWARDS  hascreated independent  film, television and radio for more than 25 years. She directed film festivals that included  the Alternative Media Symposium in Dallas, the first Native American Film Festival in Austin, Texas and co-directed Trackings: Modern American Documentary film series at Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin. The Pontchartrain Film Festival is Edward's first film festival since returning to her home town of Slidell, La.

She is director of the Olde Towne Arts Center's Digital Arts program and produced the documentary, “Waterways to Railways: Stories from Slidell’s History,” which has been shown at the Guardians of Slidell History Museum, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in Madisonville and on Public Access Channel 10 in St. Tammany Parish.


Before moving back home to Louisiana,  she earned a degree in Radio, Television, Film at the University of Texas; had a weekly radio show on NPR station KUT-FM; and an award-winning bilingual public affairs cable TV show “Mis Amigos” all in Austin, Texas She has directed multi-cultural initiatives  to bring diversity into media production and was a cultural arts resources developer for the National Endowment for  the Arts. Edwards was a consultant for the Native American Broadcasting Consortium on the “We Are All Sacred” project; and conducted script development and archival research on the documentary “Ishi, the Last Yahi” with Jed Riffe Films.


Edwards has taught Media Arts in a variety of settings for high school and college students and adults, including Southeastern Louisiana University’s ZOOM into Movies. The short film “Voices of Olde Towne, produced with students during OTAC’s Media Arts Week, will screen during the Louisiana Short Films Nov. 3, 4 p.m.


Keith Medlay


KEITH WELDON MEDLEY, is a featured author and historian in the award-winning documentary “Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans,” directed by Dawn Logsdon, which will be the featured film Saturday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m.  He is the author of “We As Freemen – Plessy v. Furguson" and collaborated for more than 10 years with  co-director Lolis Ellis in the making of the"Faubourg Treme," which spans before and after Hurricane Katrina.


A native of New Orleans, his photographs and writings about Louisiana’s history and culture have appeared in Smithsonian magazine, American Legacy, Historic Preservation, New Orleans Tribune, Southern Exposure, Louisiana Cultural Vistas and other publications. As a researcher, he has also been featured in documentaries including Treme: Beyond Bourbon Street, and the BBC’s "How the World Got Mixed Up." He is a founding member of the Plessy and Ferguson Foundation and a graduate of St. Augustine High School and Southern University in New Orleans. He will lead the Q&A following the PFF screening of Faubourg Treme.


JED RIFFE is an award winning film director, Interactive New Media Producer and founder of Jed Riffe Films + Electronic Media, an interactive media, motion picture, and television production company. Riffe is best known as the producer and director of “Ishi, the Last Yahi,” the true story of the man known as the Last Wild Indian in North America; “Who Owns the Past?” the American Indian struggle for control of their ancestral remains; and “California’s ‘Lost’ Tribes,” which examines the impact of Indian gJed Riffeaming on Native Americans and their non-Indian neighbors. Riffe served as series producer on the California and the American Dream series.  He and his company produced two of the four hour-long programs in the nationally broadcast series including the award-winning film “Ripe for Change.”  Most recently Riffe executive produced Emiko Omori’s “To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter” and Luke Griswold-tergis’s “Smokin’ Fish,” an hour long documentary on Tlingit life and culture. Ripe for Change screens at PFF Nov. 4, 2 p.m. and Smokin’ Fish Nov. 4, 3:30 p.m.


Riffe’s major interactive credits include interactive producer of the first Africana Interactive Learning Center at Merritt College; designing four interactive exhibits for the Autry Museum of American History; serving as interactive producer and writer for “Public Broadcasting In Public Places” (PBIPP) which was funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Riffe and his team designed, programmed, built and installed four interactive media kiosks with 160 minutes of specially edited interactive content from the “California and the American Dream” series. Also funded by the CPB, Riffe wrote and produced “TV of Tomorrow,” an interactive prototype demonstrating the possible ways interactive content might appear on television in the future. Funded by the NEH, Riffe produced 86 minutes of video, housed in interactive kiosks, for three History Information Stations at the Oakland Museum of California entitled, “California: A Place, A Dream, A Promise.”


Riffe and his media projects have been the recipient of five NEH planning and production grants, including a Chairman’s Discretionary award for “Who Owns the Past?” He has also received major funding from the Ford Foundation, the Skirball Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Native American Public Telecommunications, Latino Public Broadcasting, Center for Asian Media, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Fleishhacker Foundation, LEF Foundation and 20 state humanities councils. He is honored to be both a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow and a Gerbode Fellow for Excellence in Non-Profit Management.