about the festival

The Black Film Festival of New Orleans is a multi-day event designed to celebrate independent films and filmmakers. We’re here to serve, and for us, our community of filmmakers is at the heart of what we do.

Where creatives have a home

The film festival serves as an incubator for filmmakers whom Hollywood has yet to recognize. Through BFFNO, creatives find a nurturing environment that promotes African American cinema and cultivates local film and television with a classic New Orleans flair.

2023

BFFNO FILM FESTIVAL

The Black Film Festival of New Orleans kicks things off for the city, returning for its fifth year with a fantastic lineup of in-person and virtual film screenings, live music, and more for free!

Featuring over 50 film screenings, poetry, comedy, daily live music performances by some of New Orleans’ best bands and musicians, filmmaker workshops, and plenty more.

We have some amazing workshops for you for free courtesy of our sponsors at NOVAC.

2023

BFFNO FILM JUDGES

Jasmine B. Johnson
Actress, writer, director, and producer native to New Orleans, LA. She made her film acting debut in award-winning director Nijla Mu’min’s Deluge in 2012. Since then she has appeared in numerous short films and theatre productions, in addition to co-starring in NCIS: New Orleans and Shameless and holding her first leading role in the independent film, Her Worst Nightmare.
Tiffani Sheriff is the founder of MUSINGS, an aesthetic, spiritual and creative project management consulting firm specializing in wardrobes and interiors.  From commercial photoshoots to film, her holistic approach to design has contributed to acclaimed productions seen around the world.
Ayo Scott
With great regard for the process of creation, I narrate these stories with paint and brush while speaking through color as emotion, and evolving, experimenting and expanding my use of media as influence and tools for art. Indeed my making and learning art is a constant exploration of my own process which in no small part includes and highlights the collaboration of other artists’ insight, ideas and ingenuity, the manifestation of music into the work, and flipping the script by using the aforementioned technology and social media as a means of engaging the audience with my works in progress, helping me be a better creator. ” ayoscott.com
Nailah Jefferson
Nailah Jefferson is a New Orleans born and bred filmmaker whose work reflects the community that raised her. Nailah’s first film, Vanishing Pearls, told the story of a little known African American oyster fishing community and their fight for justice after the BP oil spill. After acquisition by ARRAY/AFFRM, Vanishing Pearls streamed on The Urban Movie Channel.
Adrione Domino
Adrione Domino is a New Orleans-born filmmaker, actress, and a philanthropist at heart. She realized that in order to kick her career off she’d have to move from in front of the cameras to behind them. After a career of working behind the scenes, she decided to use what she learned along with her natural ability to create and began producing her own films. Throughout Domino’s journey, she has met many talented people in the local film industry. So, she decided to start 3517 Law Street Productions, LLC to bring everyone together as a film community.
In 2012, Domino wrote, directed and produced a web series “Neutral Grounds”. That same year she wrote and produced her first short film, “Beaucoup de Force” screened at the Prytania Theatre. In 2013, she produced a three times nominated short film, “Unemployed” for the 48 Hour Film Project premiered at The National WWII Museum. In 2015, she wrapped her short film “The Inheritance”, which was filmed in Shreveport, LA for the LA Film Prize screened at AMC Elmwood Palace 20 during 4:4:4 Camera Showcase. Her latest short film, “Wedding Vows” is based on an interracial couple who gets reals when writing their wedding vows.
Her production company was created to build a platform for upcoming producers, directors, writers and actors.
Praheme
Adrione Domino is a New Orleans-born filmmaker, actress, and a philanthropist at heart. She realized that in order to kick her career off she’d have to move from in front of the cameras to behind them. After a career of working behind the scenes, she decided to use what she learned along with her natural ability to create and began producing her own films. Throughout Domino’s journey, she has met many talented people in the local film industry. So, she decided to start 3517 Law Street Productions, LLC to bring everyone together as a film community.
In 2012, Domino wrote, directed and produced a web series “Neutral Grounds”. That same year she wrote and produced her first short film, “Beaucoup de Force” screened at the Prytania Theatre. In 2013, she produced a three times nominated short film, “Unemployed” for the 48 Hour Film Project premiered at The National WWII Museum. In 2015, she wrapped her short film “The Inheritance”, which was filmed in Shreveport, LA for the LA Film Prize screened at AMC Elmwood Palace 20 during 4:4:4 Camera Showcase. Her latest short film, “Wedding Vows” is based on an interracial couple who gets reals when writing their wedding vows.
Her production company was created to build a platform for upcoming producers, directors, writers and actors.
DaVida Chanel Smith
DaVida Chanel Smith is a native of Plaquemine, La (the city not the parish) and became an avid movie and tv lover at a young age. Smith is currently based in Los Angeles and is a talent manager, producer and storyteller.
Roslyn Johnson Smith
Roslyn Johnson Smith is the second child and first daughter in a family of twelve children born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Smith’s early education was in the segregated Catholic schools in New Orleans.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Special Education, a Master of Education degree in Learning Disabilities, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Administration, all awarded by the University of New Orleans.   
During a 32-year career in New Orleans’ public education system, Dr. Smith taught elementary grades and special education classes, and served as a school-site curriculum coordinator before moving to administrative assignments.  She worked for a brief stint as Director of External Grants and Professional Development in the district’s central office.  For 22 years, she was principal of Oretha Castle Haley Elementary School, a high poverty, high minority urban school.  In 1993, she was elected President of the Principals’ Association of the New Orleans Public Schools, Inc.  During her tenure, she was named the Louisiana Elementary Principal of The Year and recognized as a National Distinguished Principal in 1995.  Before retiring in November of 2005, Dr. Smith’s last position was that of Area Superintendent where she was the immediate supervisor of the district’s lowest performing schools, the Signature high school centers and the organizer of thirteen 4-member instructional support teams.
Currently, Dr. Roslyn Smith is the CEO and President of A+ Professional Educators, LLC, an independent educational consultant company.  Her work experience includes developing administrative plans for charter schools and conducting professional development workshops for educators.   
Her hobbies include creating Black/Mardi Gras Indian suits for her two grandchildren, photography, and researching her family’s genealogy. A strong supporter of black filmmakers, Dr. Smith has donated funds to support several young artists, some of whom have received award-winning acknowledgements in the industry.
Rachel Grissom
Rachel Grissom is a production sound mixer for film and television whose credits include TNT’s Claws, MTV’s Scream, and Beyonce’s Lemonade. She has also worked in theater and radio, and has written, produced and directed several short and feature films.
Lance Nichols
Lance Nichols is a veteran character actor best remembered as dentist Larry Williams on the critically acclaimed HBO series Treme which chronicled the lives of post Hurricane Katrina natives and their efforts in rebuilding their lives. His memorable performance as the “faith healing” preacher preacher in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button garnered praise from critics and the general public.
He recurs as The River King in the AMC television series Into The Badlands and recently started production on the new SyFy/USA series The Purge working under the direction of Emmy Winner Anthony Hemingway whom he collaborated with for four seasons on Treme. Mr. Nichols and his wife Zardis co-produced their first television pilot Shepherd which won Best Drama at the prestigious ITVFest in 2017 and where he won Best Actor in a Drama. Their win garnered a development meeting with HBO.
Lance and his wife are co-owners of Lanzardis Productions which specializes in training young professionals for working in the entertainment industry. In their leisure time they enjoy travel, dining and attending the New Orleans Saints football games.

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FROM THE DIRECTIOR
Gian Smith
Festival Director

Thank you for your interest in BFFNO. As a community organizer and filmmaker born and raised in New Orleans, creating this festival has been purpose-driven and rewarding in all ways. The great artists of New Orleans deserve a soft space for their talents and our audience a reliable home for their interest in black cinema. We welcome our family across the diaspora to the Crescent City with love and appreciation for their work and we welcome you to join us for a celebration and exhibition of peak artistic blackness.

SUPPORT BFFNO PROGRAMS

Support the Black Film Festival of New Orleans (BFFNO) and its three dynamic programs: nurturing emerging talent, celebrating African American cinema, and fostering local creativity. Your support helps us empower filmmakers, honor diverse voices, and contribute to the vibrant cultural tapestry of New Orleans. Join us in making a difference through the art of film.

View our full lineup of 2023 film screenings and events. Join us for in-person, post-event discussions on our film screenings.
Celebrate independentfilms & filmmakers! Enjoy two days of FREE New Orleans-produced film premieres, informed discussion panels, & live performances.
Filmmaker Collective is BFFNO’s filmmaker development lab. Aspiring filmmakers are given mentorship from industry professional, BFFNO alumni, along with skills training and a budget and resources with which they will complete short film projects.