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Sync Up Cinema

Louisiana's Film industry conference during Jazz Fest

Catch up on the festival's history here.


Scheduled for April 27th - 29th and held at the The Jazz & Heritage Center, Sync Up Cinema 2015 is just around the corner! NOVAC is thrilled to partner once again with the Jazz & Heritage Foundation to bring back leaders and tastemakers in the national and local film industry for an exciting reprise of our conference, screenings, and events - all during the week of Jazz Fest!

The Sync Up conference started in 2008 as a music industry conference during the week of Jazz Fest, and due to a growing film community, Sync Up Cinema launched in 2012. Showcasing Louisiana productions, upcoming trends in the film industry, and also bringing experts in the film industry to connect with local filmmakers, Sync Up Cinema merges music, film, Louisiana culture, and more.

Stay tuned for this year's confirmed speakers!




Julie Plec, The Originals executive producer skillfully juggles work in film and television as both a producer and a writer. In addition to executive producing The Originals, Plec co-developed and executive produces The Vampire Diaries, currently in its fifth season, and has collaborated with executive producers Greg Berlanti and Phil Klemmer on new series The Tomorrow People, the story of a small group of people gifted with extraordinary paranormal abilities, which she also executive produces for The CW. Additionally, Plec’s screenplay adaptation The Tiger’s Curse is in development at Paramount, and she will produce the feature @emma with Darko Entertainment. Plec got her start as a television writer and co-executive producer for the series Kyle XY, which she produced for the show’s three-year run. Other produced television credits include Wasteland and Dawson’s Creek. Past feature production credits include Scream 2 and 3, Greg Berlanti’s Broken Hearts Club, Wes Craven’s Cursed and The Breed.

Franklin Leonard is the founder of the Black List, the yearly publication highlighting Hollywood’s most popular unproduced screenplays and the startup birthed to continue its mission.  Over 225 Black List scripts have been produced as feature films earning more than 175 Academy Award nominations including three of the last five Best Pictures and seven of the last twelve screenwriting Oscars. Franklin has worked in development at Universal Pictures and the production companies of Will Smith, Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, Leonardo DiCaprio, and John Goldwyn. Since 2010, he has been named one of Hollywood Reporter’s 35 Under 35, Black Enterprise Magazine’s “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,” AOL Black Voices “30 Black Hollywood Game Changers,” The Wrap’s “12 Innovators Who Are Changing Hollywood,” and Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.”
Nailah Jefferson was born and raised in New Orleans and Vanishing Pearls is her debut feature film. In March 2010, Nailah formed Perspective Pictures to tell stories that shed light on little known issuesand positively influence lives. One month later when the BP Oil Spill occurred, Nailah found her first subject, the little known fishing community of Pointe à la Hache, LA. Before launching her own production company, Nailah worked on numerous productions, including writing & producing the documentary Historically Black, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and produced by Nerjyzed Entertainment about the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and workingon the PBS three-part series RACE: The Power of an Illusion by California Newsreel - a look into the concept of "race". She also worked for Lee Daniels Entertainment during the making of the film Tennessee and development of the Oscar winning film Precious. Nailah earned a BS in Film and Television from Boston University and a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communication from Emerson College. She is currently working on a series of short films entitled Dying is the Easy Part while she creates cutting edge visual content as the Creative Director for singing group Arin and Alex. Hot off of 2014 Slamdance Film Festival, Vanishing Pearls will make its Louisiana debut at Sync Up Cinema. 
Yolonda Ross (Actress,Writer/Director, Producer) is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and is currently starring in the John Sayles film Go For Sisters for which she has just been nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Supporting ActressShe recently joined Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez  in the cast of Lila & Eve,  currently shooting and will be recurring on the new Showtime series, Happyish. Yolonda made her  debut in the award winning HBO feature, Stranger Inside in 2001, which she won an IFP Gotham Award and  received her first Independent Spirit Award nomination . She also appeared in Denzel Washington’ s award winning film Antwone Fisher, as well as the independents film Yelling To the Sky, Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, and Joshua Sanchez’s FOUR. In television, Yolonda is best known for her role as documentarian Dana Lyndsey on Treme, and appeared in the HBO/David Mamet, Phil Spector biopic, 24, Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and The Unit in a role David Mamet wrote for her, himself. Yolonda made her directorial debut last year, with Breaking Night,  shot in New Orleans.  The short film about a young girl taking control of her destiny,  has officially become the music video for the famed Manfred Mann song, Blinded By the Light, which it features, and is currently in rotation on VH-1 Classics.
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 she worked as post-production assistant to filmmakers Laura Poitras and Linda Goode-Bryant on the Emmy nominated film, Flag Wars. Bradley has made twenty-four short films. Her first feature length film, Below Dreams, is honored by the Independent Filmmaker Project as one of only ten projects selected for their 2013 Narrative Lab. In April of 2014, Below Dreams will have it's World Premiere at the 13th annual TriBeCa Film Festival




Go For Sisters by John Sayles
Presented by New Orleans Film Society
The 18th feature film written and directed by independent cinema pioneer John Sayles, Go For Sisters is the story of two friends, Bernice and Fontayne, who were so close while growing up they ‘go for sisters’, but time sent them down different paths. Twenty years later, those paths cross: Fontayne is a recovering addict fresh out of jail, and Bernice is her new parole officer. The film stars 2013 Independent Spirit Award nominee Yolanda Ross, LisaGay Hamilton and Edward James Olmos. This screening is presented by the New Orleans Film SocietyCheck out the trailer here.

Vanishing Pearls by Nailah Jefferson 
Jefferson's documentary tells the story of the residents of Pointe à la Hache, Louisiana, whose ruined fishing community continue dealing with the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in US history. Narrated by Samuel L. JacksonCheck out the trailer here

Maharajah by Lily Keber
Bayou Maharajah explores the life and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker, the man Dr. John described as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” A brilliant pianist, his eccentricities and showmanship belied a life of struggle, prejudice, and isolation. Illustrated with never-before-seen concert footage, rare personal photos and exclusive interviews, the film paints a portrait of this overlooked genius. Check out the trailer here. A Q&A with Keber will follow.


A Tribute to Allen Toussaint, WLAE Original
The Recording Academy and WLAE bring us the premiere of the full-length concert documentary of the tribute to Allen Toussaint on his 75th birthday. Featuring performances from legendary musicians including Toussaint, Doctor John, Elvis Costello , Cindi Lauper and more. Q&A with filmmakers Jim Dotson, Greg Buisson, and Ron Yager to follow.



The Whole Gritty City by Richard Barber and Andre Lambertson
The Whole Gritty City is a documentary about the powerful engines that drive the Mardi Gras Parades. It tells the story of three New Orleans marching bands, and the three band directors battling for their students' lives and souls.




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