We are a festival with a mission.
Founded in 2004 by New Orleans artists and activists, PATOIS has premiered hundreds of powerful social justice-oriented films from around the world while highlighting brilliant local filmmakers and vital local grassroots organizations. PATOIS is dedicated to nurturing the New Orleans' human rights community, supporting the work of local organizers and organizations involved in these struggles, and providing a forum for artistic expression of local and international issues.
In addition to the film festival every spring, PATOIS hosts a variety of community screenings, workshops and organizing events all year. Because Patois has always prioritized community accountability, we curate our programming in consultation with a range of New Orleans’ grassroots organizations and community members.
Raven Crane is a black, queer, organizer, educator and artist. Their experience ranges from arts educator, filmmaking, and curating. They're interested in the possibilities or collective organizing and aim to focus their work and curation on representation of folx who live in the margins of societal norms. Raven is the founder and collective member of the Coffy Film Collective: A Womyn of Color Film Collective based in New Orleans. They are also an organizing member of Deep Cuts, a PoC punk music festival based in New Orleans. They currently work in Fair Housing.
Jordan Flaherty is an award-winning journalist, producer, and author. He has produced television documentaries and news reports for Al Jazeera America, Al Jazeera English, Democracy Now and The Laura Flanders Show, and has also worked in fiction, producing the award-winning feature film Chocolate Babies and worked on several other independent features. He was the first journalist to bring the case of the Jena Six to a national audience, he played himself on HBO’s television series Treme, and he was a target of the New York City Police Department’s spying programs. He is the author of the books Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six and No More Heroes: Grassroots Responses to the Savior Mentality. You can see more about his work at jordanflaherty.org.
Jazz Franklin is a videographer and documentary producer from the u.s. south. she produces work that relies on black feminist praxis and critique of the classic narrative structure. jazz currently lives in New Orleans and is working as a projection artist and filmmaker with the Gallery of the Streets Network.
Shana M. griffin is a feminist, independent researcher, activist, artist, and applied sociologist from New Orleans. Her work is rooted in black feminist thought, praxes, and organizing traditions. She engages in research, organizing projects, and curatorial practices that attend to the lived experiences of the black Diaspora—centering the experiences of black women most vulnerable to the violence of poverty, carcerality, polluted environments, reproductive legislation, economic exploitation, and housing discrimination. Her activism and research explores critical issues involving the political economy of reproductive violence and policies of population control and surveillance, the decommodification of housing and the politics of urban development, histories of slavery and contemporary ways of being, carceral violence and criminalizing policies, and art and re-imagination to name a few. Shana is the co-producer and lead-researcher of Sooner or Later, Somebody's Gonna Fight Back, a documentary and multimedia project on the Louisiana State Chapter of the Black Panther Party; creator of DISPLACED, an interactive timeline chronicling urban development and displacement of black communities through the institutionalization of spatial residential segregation and discriminatory housing practice; and founder of Assemblage, a curated pop-up and online collection of books, t-shirts, vintage wares, textiles, and vinyl. You can learn about Shana here.
Lily Keber is a filmmaker and educator based in New Orleans. Her directorial debut, Bayou Maharajah, premiered at SXSW in 2013 and has since won many awards including the Oxford American Award for Best Southern Film and Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Documentary Of The Year. She has produced for Arcade Fire, Beyoncé (on her Lemonade and Formation videos), and Preservation Hall. Her films have covered the Department of Homeland Security's policy of family detention, prison conditions in Gaza and the deteriorating environment of the Gulf Coast. Lily is a co-founder of New Orleans Video Voices, a women-led collective dedicated to increasing media literacy across the Gulf South. In 2015, she was commissioned by Time Inc. and Field Office Films (producer of Beasts Of The Southern Wild) to contribute to their coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s 10-year anniversary. The resulting film, Everything Is To Be Continued, exposes how Black working musicians have been excluded from New Orleans’ economic recovery. Lily is currently in post-production on Buckjumping, a feature documentary on New Orleans dance culture and an as-yet unnamed documentary being shot entirely in Louisiana French. Her work has appeared on Democracy Now!, ARTE, HBO, Time, Al-Jazeera English, Sundance DocClub, Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, Electronic Intifada and PBS. Lily is a member of the Grammys, WIFT-Louisiana and Film Fatales New Orleans.
Danielle Miles aspires to create works that leave a lucid legacy of interpretation that obligates the observer to remember that art is a freedom and depth of life that manifests when truth is fearlessly embraced.
Lydia Y. Nichols is a native New Orleanian cultural critic and arts administrator. Her work centers the lived experiences of Africans in the Diaspora and prioritizes community accessibility. Lydia’s essays have appeared in Pelican Bomb, Liberator Magazine, Gathering of the Tribes Magazine, and The Killens Review on topics ranging from quantum physics in post-colonial African literature to visual art and the Prison Industrial Complex. As co-curator of renowned street art exhibition and Prospect P.3+ site ExhibitBE, Lydia researched and documented the history of the blighted apartment complex in which the work was created to guide the curatorial process, managed community programming and daily operations, and, after the exhibition closed, coordinated the #PaintWhereItAint Tour through which several ExhibitBE artists traveled across the southwest to collaborate with artists and curators in other cities on public art projects. Since, Lydia has created “In/Between Spaces” - a mobile group exhibition series in a 26’ U-Haul that explores Black identity in various spheres of modern life and that travels to predominantly Black neighborhoods in New Orleans to engage those who have been alienated from the world of contemporary fine art. Lydia continues to manage production for artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums, including his first solo exhibition "Ephemeral Eternal" at Studio Be and, in collaboration with Welcome Table New Orleans, the Algiers Oral History and Public Art Intensive through which 24 high school youth are creating a freestanding mural based on interviews they conduct with elders on the evolution of race relations.
Wendi O'Neal is a cultural worker, facilitator, and educator who was born and raised in New Orleans. Ms. O’Neal has worked in local, regional and national justice organizations; but her heart’s work is rooted in the US Blackbelt South, especially the kind of organizing that happens around kitchen tables in the homes of activists, organizers and other freedom fighters. She regularly facilitates story circles, reminding that making to for listening is essential for good living. She has been a teaching artist for 5 years with the Ashe Kuumba Institute with students ages 6 – 16. Wendi uses freedom songs and story circles to share Black resistance movement culture, traditions and history. Her areas of interest include the role of the local New Orleans CORE chapter (Congress of Racial Equality) in the Freedom Rides of 1961, Freedom Summer of 1963-4, SNCC (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee) Freedom Singers use of song in justice movement, the Albany Movement, and the children of the Selma Voting Rights Movement. These days she spends most of her time in high quality porch-time with her parents and amazing wife. Together they scheme about all the ways they can personally disrupt the status quo and make life better than what oppressive paradigms dictate.
Marc Perry is a cultural anthropologist with a specialization in race and social activism in the African Diaspora with an emphasis in the circum-Caribbean. He has held faculty positions at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Tulane University, and has also taught at the University of New Orleans and Bard Early College New Orleans. His recent book Negro Soy Yo: Hip Hop and Raced Citizenship in Neoliberal Cuba examines race, activism, and social transformation in Cuba through the lens of Cuba’s hip hop movement, and he is currently involved in work exploring the shifting racial and class landscape of post-Katrina New Orleans. Marc has previous backgrounds in documentary film, broadcast journalism, and independent media work in South Africa in addition to criminal justice work in New York City. He is currently collaborating on “Surviving Solitary,” a multimedia public education project relating to the life of Herman Wallace, the late Black Panther and Angola 3 member who unjustly spent 42 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana state prisons.
Emily Ratner is a lawyer whose practice focuses on civil rights and indigent criminal defense. She has studied film production with the New York Film Academy and the Cleveland Film Society. She has trained in social justice organizing and conflict resolution with a number of organizations, including Witness for Peace and the Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond.
Zac Manuel is a New Orleans bred-and-based filmmaker whose work in film and music video has been exhibited at festivals and on platforms around the world. His work focuses on the intersections of politics and social psychologies, mostly in communities of color. As cinematographer, his credits include Cover Me (Rotterdam International Film Festival; Prospect 3, New Orleans), Like (Field of Vision, SXSW) and Aloné (New York Times OpDocs, Sundance 2017 Jury Award Winner, Best Non-Fiction Short). As director, his films In The Garden, The Clock, Thelema, and Painted Lady have played in competition in festivals nationally and internationally, and as well, he has premiered content on various agencies including The Washington Post, MTV, Billboard, Stereogum, and Pitchfork. His current work is a documentary feature entitled Bloodthicker which follows three young rappers as they fight to build upon their father's legacies while navigating the pitfalls of rap culture (www.bloodthickerfilm.com).