2015 VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL SET FOR NOVEMBER 5-8

2015 VFF Set for November 5-8

Festival Also Announces Launch of 2015 Action! High School Director Competition

Charlottesville, VA – March 12, 2015 – The Virginia Film Festival, coming off a record-smashing 46% increase in sales in 2014, will be returning to Charlottesville for its 28th year from November 5-8, 2015, VFF officials announced today.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia.

Starting with the star-studded world premiere of the film Big Stone Gap, which featured special guests Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Jasmine Guy, and Jenna Elfman, and packed the Paramount Theater with a crowd that included no less than four Virginia governors, including sitting Governor Terry McAuliffe, the 2014 Festival marked a “seismic shift” for the VFF, said its director, Jody Kielbasa.

“Last year’s success was about more than numbers,” Kielbasa, who also serves as Vice Provost for the Arts at U.Va., said. “The whole weekend had an excitement and energy driven by an impressive guest list and a deep and broad program that truly offered something for everyone. We were thrilled to welcome the legendary actors Hal Holbrook, Frank Langella, and Richard Roundtree, along with directing great Barry Levinson, Civil Rights giant Julian Bond, Poet Laureate Rita Dove, and more.

The Festival’s 41 sold-out screenings reflected a diverse program featuring highly-anticipated studio features and independent films as well as engaging new discoveries showcasing a collection of exciting new voices in the filmmaking world. Highlights included award-season standouts like The Theory of Everything, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, and Wild, as well as a slate of top independent narrative domestic and foreign films, documentaries, and short films that continue to gain wide acclaim. Aiding the process of sharing these voices was the fact that the 2014 VFF hosted more than 150 filmmakers, actors, and other industry guests over the course of the weekend, which Kielbasa said helped build awareness, excitement and momentum that will serve the Festival well moving forward.

The coming year will be particularly exciting, Kielbasa said, thanks to the new Violet Crown Cinema (scheduled to debut on the Downtown Mall just prior to the Festival). “We are thrilled to be working with the folks behind this exciting new project, which will offer a variety of unique venues and provide a brand new and dynamic film-going experience for our guests, and for all of Charlottesville.”

The Virginia Film Festival is also continuing its commitment to both giving voice to young filmmakers and serving the local community through one of its most popular community outreach projects. ACTION! The VFF’s High School Director Competition has officially launched for 2015. The fourth annual ACTION! competition is open to rising 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students who are current residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia. There is no entry fee for the competition, which awards prizes to the three best directors or directing teams to support the winning students’ continued film and filmmaking education. The ACTION! Grand Prize winner receives a check for $1,000, and two ACTION! runners-up receive checks for $500 each.

ACTION! is part of the Festival’s acclaimed Community Outreach & Education program, which also includes the Young Filmmakers Academy, a filmmaking initiative for elementary and middle school students; the VFF’s annual Family Day festivities; and special middle and high school screenings both during the Festival and throughout the year.

The deadline for ACTION! entries is August 19, 2015. Complete contest rules and regulations are available at http://virginiafilmfestival.org/action/. Anyone needing additional information is encouraged to write vffaction@gmail.com.

Given the Festival’s rising profile, officials encourage out-of-town guests to make their 2015 plans early by taking advantage of special VFF rates at select hotels in Charlottesville. Learn more, and make your reservations today, at http://virginiafilmfestival.org/places-to-stay/.