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Spaces & Design: Merging Mediums


New York’s Architecture & Design Film Festival comes to New Orleans for the first time this summer in a celebration designed for professionals and enthusiasts alike.


The Infinite Happiness
“The Infinite Happiness”

Founded in 2009 by Kyle Bergman, professional architect and film aficionado, the Architecture & Design Film Festival explores the diversity, creativity, social impact and magnitude of global architecture — and the humans behind the design — through film. What began as a lingering idea has transformed into the country’s largest film festival devoted to architecture and design. “There are great connections between making film and creating architecture,” Bergman says. “Most importantly, they’re both acts of storytelling.”

Now in its 8th year, the Architecture & Design Film Festival is making its New Orleans debut Aug. 11-13 and will be presented by the Louisiana Architectural Foundation. During this three-day festival, more than 20 feature-length and short films “that explore the human elements of architecture and design” will be screened at the recently renovated Carver Theater and brand new Broad Theater, both located in the historic Treme neighborhood.

“The Louisiana Architectural Foundation is thrilled to have the Architecture & Design Film Festival coming here for the very first time,” says Stacey Pfingsten, Executive Director of the Louisiana Architectural Foundation. “As one of the nation’s most architecturally significant cities, New Orleans is the perfect location — and we also know how to throw a fabulous festival!”

On Aug. 11, the festival will kick off with an opening party from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Carver Theater. The party will feature dinner and drinks presented by talented local chef Micheal Gulotto of MoPho New Orleans, the popular Vietnamese and Southern fusion cuisine restaurant in Mid-City. Tickets are already on sale for the opening party, and proceeds support the statewide programming of the Louisiana Architectural Foundation.

After the party, the first screening will be of The Infinite Happiness — a film premiering at the festival. It’s an architectural experience that explores the depths of the awe-inspiring “vertical village” called the 8 House built by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. Designed as a contemporary housing development focused on community, the film follows the stories of people connected by their relationship to the building and asks whether “architecture can create collective happiness” in its inhabitants and neighborhood.

Other films screening at the Architecture & Design Film Festival include If You Build It, a film by Patrick Creadon that follows designer-activists and their radically innovative approach to education in a poor rural county in North Carolina; The Human Scale, a Danish film by Andreas Dalsgaard that meets thinkers, architects and urban planners around the world to discuss how even the largest mega-cities must be rethought and redesigned; and The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat, by Mike Dorsey that tells the story behind the house and the unlikely pairing of a working-class government employee and world-famous architect set in a small desert town in California.

“One thing that’s important about the festival is that we’ve programmed it to not only be interesting to the design professional, but also to the non-professional, like the design-curious or design-enthusiasts,” Bergman says. “These are films that everyone could be interested in.”

In addition to the films, the festival will also spotlight book talks and signings from Guy Carwile, author of The Modernist Architecture and Pres Kabacoff co-author of Revitalizing Cities: The HRI Vision. There will also be a round table discussion on Aug. 12 at the Carver Theater following the film If You Build It with guest panelists Aaron Furman of Uncommon Construction, Jose Alvarez of Project Pipeline and Maggie Williams of Tulane City Center. On Aug. 13, another discussion will follow the screening of The Human Scale with panelists Natan Deacon Furtado of Studio WTA, Jeff Schwartz of Broad Community Connections and Ann Daigle of the New Orleans Chapter of Congress for the New Urbanism.

“People in New York say, ‘Why would you put on a festival in New Orleans in the middle of August?’” Bergman says. “I tell them the people in New Orleans think it’s the best time of year to have a film festival — to be inside a dark, air-conditioned theater — what could be better?”

**For tickets, schedule and more information, visit adfilmfest.com.