Festival starts in

Cinema on the Bayou Grows Here, Excels Away From Home

The Advertiser, January 22, 2015

By Herman Fuselier


PatMirePhotoSmallMention Cinema on the Bayou to a local movie buff and you'll probably draw a blank stare. Yet, Garden and Gun, a Southern-culture magazine with more than 1 million readers nationwide, praises the event as "a reel good time."

Canadian broadcasters are sending televised reports on the film festival back to Moncton, New Brunswick. AudNews, a publication that highlights filmmaking news, awards and competitions, picks the event as a Top 15 Winter Film Festival in the U.S.

Pat Mire, co-founder of the festival, said Cinema on the Bayou has existed as a stranger in its hometown.

"In some ways, we're better known in French-speaking Canada than we are in Lafayette," said Mire. "This year, we have more than 100 filmmakers and guests, from more than 50 points in Canada.

"Most states in the United States are represented. Many of these filmmakers have been with us before. They tell other people about us and they keep coming back."

Cinema on the Bayou welcomes visitors and locals to the 10th anniversary of this five-day festival, which kicked off Wednesday night with a gala party at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. The Louisiana premiere of "One Armed Man," an award winner at numerous international film festivals, highlighted the occasion, along with downhome music from Sweet Cecilia, a local trio.

The festival will screen more than 90 short films, documentaries and movies at six venues across Lafayette. Some screenings include question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers and actors.

Mire and Rebecca Hudsmith annually organize the festival as a showcase of original works from national and international filmmakers. Mire and Hudsmith also promote local Cajun and Creole culture through connections made with these filmmakers.

Mire is already renowned in those circles for his award-winning films on French Louisiana, such as "Dirty Rice," "Against the Tide: The Story of the Cajun People" and "Mon Cher Camarade," a look at the contributions of local, French-speaking soldiers during World War II in Europe.

Mire said those films have helped attract attention to the area and the festival.

"I hate to toot my own horn, but I'm known out there, too. I have a lot of films out there, and I have a lot of filmmaker friends in Montreal — André Gladu, André Forcier.

"They're well connected and tell people about us. We're unique in the United States. There's no place like this."


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