Stunning ‘Tough Bond’ is Among the Contenders in the 2013 New Orleans Film Festival Doc Competition

Stunning ‘Tough Bond’ is Among the Contenders in the 2013 New Orleans Film Festival Doc Competition

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I’ll always have a soft spot for the New Orleans Film Festival, which was my first I ever attended back when I was freelancing for the monthly paper Where Y’at? (while living across the country from the Big Easy, I should note). That was a full ten years ago, and while I haven’t been able to attend since 2003, it’s still an event I love to follow. So, I’m happy to report the documentary competition slate that was just announced by the N.O. Film Society.

With two world premieres and some other more regional debuts, the program consists of films of global importance and local relevance. I’m really only familiar with two of the titles on first glance, and I’ve seen one of them. The one I haven’t seen but was curious about during Hot Docs is Searching for Bill, sort of real road trip/crime film about a guy in pursuit of the con man who stole his car. The other is Austin Peck and Anneliese Vandenberg’s sense-dominating doc Tough Bond, which I did catch at Hot Docs and was inspired to write a piece over at Film School Rejects on what it means to be a “powerful” documentary.

Here’s some of what I wrote of the film back in April:

An orange glue bottle hanging from the mouths of Kenyan street kids like its an extension of their face. That’s an image I’ll never get out of my head, which means its an image with power. And its an image recurring throughout Tough Bond, which focuses on a national problem of huffing and the societal changes leading youths to turn to the intoxicating adhesive…The camera lingers on these kids with bottles stuck (literally?) to their lips and nose. Peck and Vandenberg do not interfere, and through their lens we feel paralyzed behind this sort of glass wall that only allows for observation. It’s a documentary that stuns with its imagery and sound and helplessness.

Check out the full list of documentaries in competition at the 24th annual NOFF, which will run October 10–17, 2013, below.


For I Know My Weakness (dir. John Dentino)
At the margins of America, a filmmaker helps an alcoholic vagabond return to her children, only to find that her secret is the mother of human nightmares. U.S. Premiere.

Purgatorio (dir. Rodrigo Reyes)
Leaving politics aside, this provocative essay film takes a fresh look at the brutal beauty of the
U.S./Mexico border and the people caught in its spell. Southern Premiere.

Searching for Bill (dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen)
A Louisiana man has his car and money stolen by a con man called Bill. When the car is found in Detroit, he decides to take a roadtrip to track down the man who stole his car, a journey that eventually takes him from New Orleans to Detroit, Los Angeles, and the Mojave Desert.
U.S. Premiere.

Tough Bond (dirs. Austin Peck and Anneliese Vandenberg)
Shot over three years, Tough Bond is the story of Kenya’s “Survivors”- a fiercely loyal tribe of children living together in an urban wilderness, huffing glue to endure the hell of street life. Southern Premiere.

Water Like Stone (dir. Zack Godshall)
An impressionistic portrait of Leeville, Louisiana, a small fishing village in the midst of the disappearing wetlands along the Gulf Coast, Water Like Stone is a documentary about people living in a dying landscape. World Premiere

The Whole Gritty City (dir. Richard Barber)
This documentary plunges viewers into the world of three New Orleans marching bands, where mentors help guide kids past the lures and dangers of the streets, while passing on a powerful musical legacy. World Premiere

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.