The pre-Civil War drama “12 Years a Slave” — based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir about his abduction in Washington, D.C., his subsequent sale into slavery in New Orleans and the years he spent on three Louisiana plantations — opened the 24th New Orleans Film Festival on Thursday at the Civic Theatre.
The film was shot at various New Orleans locations, including Audubon Park. Scenes were also filmed at the St. Joseph and Felicity plantations in Vacherie.
Director Steve McQueen and various cast members — including star Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Solomon Northup — attended the red carpet screening. Ejiofor said he is deeply proud of the movie.
“I’m excited to bring it back to Louisiana,” he said. “We got such great support from the people here when we were making the film.”
A beautifully crafted, uncompromising depiction of slavery, “12 Years a Slave” has received enthusiastic receptions at the Toronto International Film Festival and Colorado’s Telluride Film Festival.
Brad Pitt’s Plan B Productions produced the film. Pitt, an occasional New Orleans resident, also plays a supporting role. The film is scheduled to open its theatrical run in New Orleans on Nov. 1.
The New Orleans Film Festival, which features 212 films this year, continues through Thursday, Oct. 17.