We are a festival with a mission.

Founded by New Orleans artists and activists, PATOIS: The New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival is dedicated to nurturing the city’s 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.

Founded in 2004, PATOIS has premiered hundreds of powerful social justice oriented films from around the world while highlighting brilliant local filmmakers and the vital local grassroots organization doing work in the city.

In addition to the film festival every spring, PATOIS hosts a variety of community screenings, workshops and fundraising/outreach events leading up to the festival. Because Patois has always prioritized community accountability, we curate our festival in consultation with a range of New Orleans’ grassroots organizations and activists; from veterans of the civil rights movement, to high school students, to advocates, teachers, and organizers.

With your support, we will continue to amplify local voices, raise important issues, and build community.



Raven Crane is an 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 on 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 film festival based in New Orleans. They currently in 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 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 Griffin is a mother, black feminist, applied sociologist, activist, and artist from New Orleans.   Her work explores critical issues at the intersection of race and gender-based violence; housing rights and affordability; sexual health and reproductive autonomy; carceral violence and criminalizing policies; climate justice and sustainable ecologies; gender and disaster; reproductive violence and population control; and art and reimagination.  Shana is the co-producer of 'Sooner of Later, Somebody's Gonna Fight Back,' a documentary and multimedia project on the Louisiana State Chapter of the Black Panther Party,’ and founder of Assemblage, a curated collection of book, vintage clothes and more.   She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (Co-Chair), Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (President and co-founder), and Women With a Vision (President). Shana’s current research and activism challenges policies and practices that restrict, exploit, and regulate the bodies and lives of low-income and working class black women most vulnerable to the violence of poverty, carcerality, polluting environments, reproductive legislation, economic exploitation, and housing discrimination.  


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.


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.



Get your tickets to the 2017 Patois Film Festival