30th Annual Virginia Film Festival Wrap-Up Overview

30th Annual Virginia Film Festival Delivers Highly-Acclaimed Program While Tackling the Issues of our Time and Including Special Guests Spike Lee, William H. Macy,
Ezra Edelman, Trudie Styler, and Margot Lee Shetterly

Festival Featured 44 Sold Out Screenings and Over 150 Films

Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying Earns Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature; Roll With Me Wins as Top Documentary Feature

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – November 15, 2017 – The 30th Annual Virginia Film Festival was a resounding success that brought together leading industry figures with up-and-coming voices and engaged audiences in a dynamic and expansive program that inspired long-resonating conversations around some of the most important issues of our time.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The 2017 Festival featured more than 150 films in all and was highlighted by a guest roster featuring top actors, filmmakers, writers, and cultural experts who served to amplify and expand upon the themes of the films presented while bringing the audiences directly into the discussions.

Festival officials report that a cumulative 30,197 total tickets were issued, including both free and paid events, with 44 sold-out screenings and ticket sales revenue coming in at $187,178.

“Each year we set out to create a Festival program that is as deep as it is wide,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia, “and that engages our remarkably committed audiences while inspiring meaningful and lasting conversations around issues that are vitally important to us all.

This year, given all that we have been through as a city, a University, and a nation surrounding the events of August 11 and 12, we also chose to redouble our efforts by creating a program that was intentionally inclusive in a variety of ways.“ One of those ways, Kielbasa said, was through the Festival’s “Race in America” series, presented in conjunction with James Madison’s Montpelier. The centerpiece of the series came on Saturday afternoon when Academy Award-winning filmmaker Spike Lee took the stage for a dynamic and wide-ranging speech and a moderated conversation with UVA’s Maurice Wallace prior to screenings of his films I Can’t Breathe and 4 Little Girls. “We were enormously proud to bring Spike Lee to The Paramount

Theater and to see so many people who were experiencing the Festival for the first time. We were additionally just as proud to share stories like Roll With Me, a triumphant tale of a paraplegic who sets out to be the first person to push an ordinary wheelchair from California to New York – which won our Audience Award as Best Documentary. Surviving Skokie and 1945 delivered impactful messages that resonate across history. Hostiles presented a powerful look at the bonds that can be forged, and the divides that can be crossed, even through years of enmity and hatred.

We were also pleased to offer a fascinating series of LGBTQIA+ films, which included Trudie Styler’s directorial debut Freak Show, a poignant and timely commentary on the epidemic of teen bullying that continues to infect our country, and the highly-anticipated feature Call Me by Your Name, which played to a sold-out audience at The Paramount Theater as our Closing Night Film on Sunday evening.”

Virginia Film Festival Programmer Wesley Harris was particularly impressed with the way audiences turned out across the wide spectrum of films and experiences offered. “The degree to which we saw audiences respond to very disparate and diverse areas of the program with such a high level of enthusiasm was really impressive. From international films to films based around social issues to locally-themed fare and beyond, I think the program inspired a strong and enthusiastic turnout, and that is something I attribute directly to the appetite and intellect of our audiences.”

Once again this year the VFF shared a roster of some of the industry’s top talents with its audiences, including William H. Macy, who presented his latest directorial effort Krystal. “Bill Macy is one of the most talented actors in the business today,” Kielbasa said, “and a gifted filmmaker as well. He could not have been more entertaining and gracious with our audiences and we were thrilled to have him.” Other highlight guests included Styler, actor Noel Fisher presenting a world premiere episode of the National Geographic television series The Long Road Home; noted director John Lee Hancock, co-director of The Vietnam War Lynn Novick, and Hidden Figures author Margot Lee Shetterly.”

One of the most memorable moments of the Festival weekend, Harris said, came with the Sunday afternoon screening of Charlottesville: Our Streets at The Paramount Theater. The documentary from local filmmaker Brian Wimer and writer Jackson Landers captures the tragic events of August in Charlottesville from the perspective of filmmakers and citizen journalists who were on the ground that day. “Festivals are made up of so many unforgettable moments,” Harris said, “and the opportunity for our community to come together around this film and share in the extraordinarily difficult realities of those days, captured by our own friends and neighbors, was an extremely powerful one.”

VFF audiences also played a key role in the Festival this year by casting ballots for their favorite films. Officials announced today that the winners of this year’s VFF Audience Awards are:

Narrative Feature: Last Flag Flying           
Narrative Short: An Act of Terror
Documentary Feature: Roll With Me
Documentary Short: The Ruination of Lovell Coleman

Also announced were the winners of the 2017 Programmer’s Awards:

Narrative Feature: November
Narrative Short: The Real Thing     
Documentary Feature: Serenade for Haiti 
Documentary Short: Edith+Eddie

Once again this year, the VFF had a significant impact on the community through a variety of programs including its annual Family Day on Saturday, November 11. This year’s free events recorded more than 2,800 attendances from local kids and families on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at free film screenings, arts workshops, an interactive arts fair, and more. Also, as part of the VFF’s Young Filmmakers Academy, over 500 local students from eleven participating schools screened their original films in Campbell Hall during Family Day. The VFF offered additional free programming throughout the Festival weekend, including a Virtual Reality Lab featuring the latest 3D film technology, a free sensory-friendly screening of The Aristocats in collaboration with the UVA student group Autism Theatre Project, a Composer Symposium, a Science of Pixar workshop, a screening of Light House Studio shorts, and feature film screenings of Harold and Maude and O.J.: Made In America Parts 1 – 4.

The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees). The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, CFA Institute, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Violet Crown Charlottesville, and the Virginia Film Office.

Photos from the 30th Annual Virginia Film Festival and more news on the 2017 VFF can be found in the Festival’s Press Room. Additionally, photos taken from Getty Images can be found here.

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

 

VFF Announces Opening of Downtown Headquarters and Box Office at Violet Crown

VFF Announces Opening of Downtown Headquarters and Box Office at Violet Crown and Addition of Acclaimed Film Mudbound To Program

Homeland Executive Producer Howard Gordon to Join Panel Discussion about Award-Winning Showtime Series

30th Annual Virginia Film Festival set for November 9-12

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – November 1, 2017 – The Virginia Film Festival officially opened its Festival Headquarters and Box Office located in Violet Crown on the Downtown Mall. Festival officials also announced that the acclaimed film Mudbound has been added to this year’s program and that Homeland executive producer Howard Gordon will be on hand for a discussion of the hit Showtime series.

The Virginia Film Festival, scheduled for November 9-12, is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts. This year’s VFF will feature a stellar lineup of more than 150 films and an outstanding array of special guests, including filmmakers Spike Lee and Ezra Edelman, Emmy Award-winning actor William H. Macy, and noted author Margot Lee Shetterly.

Based on the novel by Hillary Jordan, and adapted into a screenplay by Dee Rees and Virgil
Williams, Mudbound is set in racially divided post-World War II Mississippi and tells the story of two men – one black and one white – who forge a friendship based on their shared war experiences. The film stars Jason Mitchell, fresh off a highly-acclaimed performance as Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton, and Grammy Award-winning artist and actor Mary J. Blige, and has been earning significant Oscar buzz since its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Mudbound will be presented on Sunday, November 12 at 8:30 PM at St. Anne’s-Belfield.

Festival officials also announced that Howard Gordon, the executive producer of the hit Showtime series Homeland, will join a panel discussion following the screening in Culbreth Theatre on Sunday, November 12 at 6:00 PM with director Lesli Linka Glatter. Homeland is currently in production on its seventh season, which is being filmed in Richmond.

Tickets for the 2017 Virginia Film Festival may be purchased online at virginiafilmfestival.org; in-person at the UVA Arts Box Office in the lobby of the UVA Drama Building, open M-F from noon to 5:00 PM or at the Festival Headquarters in Violet Crown, open Monday-Saturday from noon to 6:00 PM and Sunday from noon to 5:00 PM; or by phone at 434-924-3376.

For a complete schedule of all films and events and for more information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org. The 2017 VFF Press Room can be accessed at virginiafilmfestival.org/pressroom.

The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees). The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, CFA Institute, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Violet Crown Charlottesville, and the Virginia Film Office.

Virginia Film Festival Announces Time Change for Spike Lee Appearance

Virginia Film Festival Announces Time Change for Spike Lee Appearance

Screening of 4 Little Girls and I Can’t Breathe Moved to 1:30 PM on Saturday, November 11 at The Paramount Theater

Spike Lee to Participate in Discussion Prior to the Screening

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 30, 2017 – The Virginia Film Festival announced today that due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, the upcoming event at the Paramount Theater featuring Spike Lee’s 4 Little Girls and I Can’t Breathe on Saturday, November 11 has been moved to 1:30 PM. The screening had initially been announced for 3:00 PM.

Spike Lee will be on hand to participate in a discussion that will be held prior to the screening.

Ticket holders who are able to attend this rescheduled screening do not need to take any further action at this time. All previously printed tickets with the 3:00 PM start time will be honored at the earlier 1:30 PM event.

Any ticket holder who can no longer attend this event as a result of the earlier start time can request a refund through UVA Arts Box Office. To initiate this request, please email tickets@email.virginia.edu or call 434-924-3376. Requests must be received by Friday, November 3 at 5:00 PM in order to be processed before the VFF weekend.

Additional Titles and Special Guests Announced for 2017 VFF

Additional Titles and Special Guests Announced for 30th Annual Virginia Film Festival 

Actors Anthony Michael Hall, Noel Fisher, and Nick Robinson
and Director Trudie Styler Join 2017 VFF Guest Lineup

Luca Guadagnino’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME to be Festival’s Closing Night Film

30th Annual Virginia Film Festival Set for November 9-12

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VAOctober 10, 2017 – The Virginia Film Festival announced additional titles and special guests for its 2017 program today including actor Anthony Michael Hall, who will come in for a screening of his film The Lears. Other highlighted guests include director Trudie Styler, who will discuss her film Freak Show; actor Noel Fisher, who will take part in a panel discussion about the acclaimed new National Geographic Channel Iraq War series The Long Road Home; and actor Nick Robinson, who joins writer/director/actor William H. Macy for a screening of Macy’s new film Krystal. The Festival also announced that its Closing Night Film will be Luca Guadagnino’s coming-of-age love story Call Me by Your Name.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts, and will take place from November 9-12. This year’s VFF will feature a stellar lineup of more than 150 films and an outstanding array of special guests, including filmmakers Spike Lee and Ezra Edelman, Emmy Award-winning actor William H. Macy, and noted author Margot Lee Shetterly.

The Lears is a quirky black comedy that stars Bruce Dern as Davenport Lear, a world-renowned architect who summons his dysfunctional children to a weekend family retreat to test their love in a modern-day derivative of Shakespeare’s classic King Lear. Actor, producer, and director Anthony Michael Hall, who plays Davenport’s son Glenn Lear in the film, first burst on the film scene in the 1980s with a string of unforgettable turns in the John Hughes classics including Sixteen Candles, National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science. His other film credits include Out of Bounds, Edward Scissorhands, and Six Degrees of Separation. Hall also played the lead role in the popular USA Network series The Dead Zone from 2002-2007.

Noted actor and producer Trudie Styler makes her directorial debut with Freak Show, based on the 2007 New York Times bestselling Young Adult novel by James St. James about a gay and eccentric teenage boy who reacts to an incident of insidious bullying by deciding to run for homecoming queen. The campaign draws wide attention to Billy’s advocacy for all teenagers letting their freak flag fly. The film, which features a stellar cast including Abigail Breslin, Alex Lawther, and Bette Midler, recently had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. Trudie Styler has a long and successful track record as a producer, including Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch from director Guy Ritchie; Girl Most Likely, which stars Kristen Wiig; Filth, starring James McAvoy; Ten Thousand Saints, starring Ethan Hawke; and American Honey, which stars Shia LaBeouf and won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. Styler will be joined by the film’s producer Celine Rattray for a post-screening discussion.

From Academy Award-nominated executive producer Mike Medavoy and based on The New York Times best-selling book by Martha Raddatz, National Geographic’s The Long Road Home relives a heroic fight for survival during the Iraq War, when the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood was ferociously ambushed on April 4, 2004, in Sadr City, Baghdad — a day that came to be known as “Black Sunday.” The series cuts between the action on the ground in Iraq and that of the homefront back in Texas, where wives and families await news for 48 hellish hours, expecting the worst. Episode six, “A City Called Heaven,” highlights Pfc. Tomas Young (Noel Fisher) as he learns about the realities of war, beginning a lifelong struggle through which he’ll touch countless lives. Fisher will be on hand for a post-screening discussion.

Nick Robinson, known to many for his role as Zach in Jurassic World, most recently starred in the Warner Bros. and MGM drama Everything, Everything. He also just wrapped production on Strange But True, where he leads an all-star cast including Amy Ryan, Brian Cox, and Greg Kinnear. Other credits include Kings of Summer and an unforgettable guest spot on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He will attend the Festival for a post-screening discussion for his role in William H. Macy’s Krystal.

The Virginia Film Festival also announced Call Me by Your Name as its Closing Night Film. Based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman, this transcendent story of first love, set against the backdrop of northern Italy in the summer of 1983, follows Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a highly-cultured teenager whose sophistication about music and literature is juxtaposed with his naivety about love. Upon meeting American scholar Oliver (Armie Hammer), his father’s charming intern, the two form an undeniable bond that grows vulnerably and passionately toward young, new love. The film by director Luca Guadagnino displays a raw portrait of a kind of love and sexual awakening that blossoms without fear or consequences.

Other guests will include The Washington Post’s chief film critic Ann Hornaday, who will do a book signing for Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies and moderate several post-screening discussions.

Other highlights among the new announcements include:

’63 Boycott – The latest from famed documentarian Gordon Quinn about the 1963 boycott of Chicago schools by more than 200,000 students in protest of racial segregation.

Beetlejuice – Award-winning cinematographer Tom Ackerman will discuss his work on this groundbreaking Tim Burton film.

The Last Stop – Director Todd Nilssen’s exposé on the troubled teen reform industry.

Mood and Memory – In a series of eleven photo films, young authors, media artists, and media specialists from Austria and Germany approach a variety of stories and themes ranging from a young girl in Aleppo, a Somali farmer, and more.

My Art – Artist Laurie Simmons’ makes her feature film debut, also starring alongside daughters Lena and Grace Dunham in the story of an artist with a stable job and life, but an endless yearning for respectability in the art world. Simmons will participate in a post-screening discussion.

Roll With Me – A paraplegic former drug addict sets out to become the first person to push an ordinary wheelchair from California to New York.

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me – The first major documentary about one of the most fascinating careers in the history of entertainment, this film follows the legendary singer, dancer, and actor’s rise to stardom, and a life lived across flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.

The Science of Pixar – Masterclass senior scientist and lead of the Research Group at Pixar Animation Studios Tony DeRose will work in tandem with Sara Maloni (Department of Mathematics), Earl Mark (School of Architecture), and Light House Studio to offer a free masterclass for their students and the general public. The workshop will focus on physical simulation and the mathematics of surface modeling that DeRose developed at Pixar, as well as a discussion of his career path.

Short Films – More than 50 short films screened before feature screenings and in different packages based on similar themes and genres, including narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated.

Thelma (from Norway) – Rounding out the list of now ten spotlight films recently submitted by their countries for consideration in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category at the 2018 Academy Awards, Thelma is about a college student who starts to experience seizures as a result of supernatural abilities.

Tonsler Park – Internationally renowned artist and UVA cinematography professor Kevin Everson uses 16mm black-and-white film to observe the democratic process at Charlottesville voting precincts on November 8th, 2016, providing a portrait of the working-class African-American public officials who ran the polls, while enabling citizens to vote in a democracy that has systematically abused them.

Voices Beyond the Wall: Twelve Love Poems From the Murder Capital of the World – Rescued from the streets of Pedro Sula, Honduras, seventy girls at Our Little Roses orphanage find their voices in poetry about love, family, and betrayal as they heal from the traumas of their past, while transitioning into an uncertain future.

Wild Honey – An offbeat, romantic comedy about an unsuccessful phone-sex operator who is unhappy, aimless, and living at home with her mother until she hits it off with a mysterious caller and impulsively flies across the country to meet him.

To see a full list of the films and events from the Festival’s second round of program announcements, visit http://virginiafilmfestival.org/filmcategory/new-additions-2017/. Tickets for all films released today will go on sale online at 12:01 AM on Friday, October 13; in-person at the UVA Arts Box Office in the lobby of the UVA Drama Building, open M-F from noon to 5:00 PM; and via phone at 434-924-3376.

For a complete schedule of all films and events and for more information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org. The 2017 VFF Press Room can be accessed at virginiafilmfestival.org/pressroom.

The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees). The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, CFA Institute, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Violet Crown Charlottesville, and the Virginia Film Office.

VFF Announces 2017 Family Day Offerings

Virginia Film Festival Announces 2017 Family Day Offerings

VFF Family Day to be Held on Saturday, November 11 on UVA Arts Grounds and Will Feature Screenings of The Aristocats and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Plus Interactive Arts Workshops

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 4, 2017 – The Virginia Film Festival will once again present one of its most popular annual offerings with the return of Family Day, held Saturday, November 11 on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at the University of Virginia.

The Virginia Film Festival, scheduled for November 9-12, is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The VFF’s Family Day is an annual highlight that features family-friendly screenings, interactive arts workshops led by UVA and community-based arts professionals, and a premiere of films made by more than 500 local students as part of VFF’s Young Filmmakers Academy.

All Family Day events are free and open to the public!

This year’s screenings begin at 10:00 AM in the Culbreth Theatre with Disney’s The Aristocats. At 1:00 PM, there will be a screening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in celebration of the novel’s 20th anniversary.

Between screenings, families are invited to explore the outdoor interactive arts fair with walk-up arts activities and performances by UVA’s acclaimed improv troupe The Whethermen, the a capella group Hoos in Treble, and the UVA Salsa Club. Families can also enjoy the return of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia’s Musical Instrument Petting Zoo, which gives youngsters an opportunity to hear, see, touch, and play a variety of instruments in the Helms Theatre. There will also be music by a WTJU DJ and fun photo opportunities with MoxBox’s photo booth.

Once again this year, the Festival will present a series of additional arts workshops with UVA and community arts leaders. These are free and open to the public, but require advance registration. This year’s workshops include:

  • Five Ways to Begin a Screenplay by Denise Stewart of the UVA Drama Department and Arvold Education (for ages 10-17)
  • How Theater Works: Behind the Scenes Tour by Steve Warner (for all ages)
  • Joey Stories by Meghan Smith, Lauren Maupin, and Fenella Belle of Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum (for ages 2-5)
  • Kids Acting Out by Kids Acting Out at UVA (for ages 6-10)
  • The Lessac Orchestra: Tuning Our Vocal Instrument by Priyanka Shetty of The Lessac Institute (for ages 7+)
  • The Magical World of Ballet by Sara Clayborne of Charlottesville Ballet (for ages 3-8)
  • Movin’ and Groovin’ by Ike Anderson of the Music Resource Center (for ages 8+)
  • Where’s the Bag?: Making Strong Choices in Directing and Acting by Lysandra Petersson and Zach Laliberte of Light House Studio (for ages 11-13)

For a complete schedule and registration information for this year’s workshops, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/workshops/.

Supported by mentors from Light House Studio and their classroom teachers, more than 500 students from eleven local elementary and middle schools participated in Young Filmmakers Academy (YFA) this year. Teams work to write, produce, and edit their films around a common theme. This year’s YFA challenge is about creating peace: all films are about how overcoming and resolving a conflict creates a positive change. The Virginia Film Festival honors YFA filmmakers on Family Day with a red carpet experience and a public screening of their work from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM in Campbell Hall. YFA is generously supported by the Brooks Family YMCA.

For more information on YFA and Family Day, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/familyday/.

Family Day is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s acclaimed Outreach & Education Program, which also includes Young Filmmakers Academy and annual school screenings that draw up to 1,000 local and regional students.

The VFF’s Outreach and Education Program is generously supported by the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band in the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and The Sarah Lahr Educational Fund.

Family Day is presented by CFA Institute, and supported by Charlottesville Newsplex, the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts, Wegmans, and Z95.1.

To see the Virginia Film Festival’s 2017 lineup of films and guests and to get ticket information, visit http://www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

30th Annual VFF Program to Feature More Than 150 Films And Special Guests

30th Annual Virginia Film Festival Program to Feature More Than 150 Films and Special Guests Including Academy Award-Winning Filmmakers Spike Lee and Ezra Edelman, Actor And Director William H. Macy, and Writer Margot Lee Shetterly 

2017 Virginia Film Festival Set for November 9-12

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – September 26, 2017 – The Virginia Film Festival will celebrate its 30th year from November 9-12 with a stellar lineup of more than 150 films and an outstanding array of special guests including Academy Award-winning filmmakers Spike Lee and Ezra Edelman, Emmy Award-winning actor William H. Macy, and noted author Margot Lee Shetterly.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

In an announcement held today at The Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, VFF Director and UVA Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa announced the first wave of programming and special guests for the 2017 Festival. “We are incredibly excited to share this first announcement regarding our 2017 program,” Kielbasa said, “which we believe captures the things that set us apart, and that contribute to our rising profile on the national and international festival scene. Once again, our audiences will be able to choose from a program of extraordinary depth and breadth, including some of the hottest titles on the current festival circuit, fascinating documentaries that address and comment on the most important topics of our time, the latest work from some of the newest and most exciting voices on the filmmaking scene, and the best of filmmaking from around the world and right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

This year’s special guests will include the previously-announced Spike Lee, who will be on hand in Charlottesville as part of “Race in America,” a special series presented by the VFF in partnership with James Madison’s Montpelier and its recent exhibition, “The Mere Distinction of Colour.” Mr. Lee will present his Oscar-nominated documentary 4 Little Girls, about one of America’s most despicable hate crimes – the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama that took the lives of four African American girls, Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robinson, and Cynthia Wesley. He will also present I Can’t Breathe, a short video piece that combines footage of the chokehold death of Eric Garner at the hands of the New York City Police Department with footage of the similar death of the Radio Raheem character in Lee’s iconic 1989 film Do The Right Thing.

“We are honored to welcome Spike Lee back to Charlottesville and to the University of Virginia,” Kielbasa said. “His remarkable body of work and tireless pursuit of social justice make him an important presence for us any time but we are particularly pleased to bring him here in the wake of recent events that have impacted us all so deeply and that continue to fuel a national conversation about issues that deeply divide us as a nation.”

William H. Macy comes to the Virginia Film Festival for the first time to present his new film Krystal. The film, which Macy directed and stars in, is about a young man who, despite having never had a drink in his life, joins Alcoholics Anonymous in an attempt to woo the woman of his dreams, an ex-stripper who is dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction, played by Rosario Dawson. “William H. Macy is quite simply one of the finest actors working today,” Kielbasa said. “He has such a unique ability to breathe life into characters in a way that makes them truly unforgettable, and we could not be more excited to bring him to the VFF.”

Ezra Edelman’s landmark five-part documentary O.J.: Made in America, took the television and film worlds by storm with its powerful look at the case of O.J. Simpson against the context of the powder keg of racial tension that helped vault this story from a celebrity-based murder case to a watershed moment in America’s ongoing struggle with race. The Festival will present the series in its entirety, with a conversation with Edelman following the final episode. “Particularly in this year,” Kielbasa said “when we are partnering with Montpelier on the ‘Race in America’ series and when issues of race are sadly, but rightfully in the forefront of our national conversation, Ezra Edelman is a tremendously important voice to share with our audiences, and we are proud to have him here to present and discuss a project that is groundbreaking in so many ways.”

The 2017 VFF guest list will include over 100 filmmakers in all, representing a diverse program illustrating the broad spectrum of cinema.

Opening Night Film – Downsizing
The 2017 Virginia Film Festival will open with Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, a science fiction flavored dramedy about a group of people exploring the possibility of dramatically reducing their footprints on the world through miniaturization. The film stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, and Hong Chau in a breakout role that is already garnering her significant Oscar buzz. “This is the third time we have opened the Festival with a film by Alexander Payne, following up on Nebraska in 2013 and The Descendants in 2011,” Kielbasa said. “Downsizing was one of the highlights of my recent Telluride Film Festival experience, and embraces so many themes that are central to all of our lives today, including acceptance and environmental awareness.” The screening will be followed by a conversation with the film’s Academy Award-winning producer and Virginia Film Festival Board Chairman Mark Johnson.

Centerpiece Film – Hostiles featuring director Scott Cooper
In 1892, Army Captain Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale) is ordered to escort an ailing long-time prisoner, Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), and his family across hostile territory back to his Cheyenne homeland to die in this gritty and powerful new Western from director Scott Cooper (Black Mass) that also stars Rosamund Pike, Ben Foster and Jesse Plemons. Fresh from a triumphant world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, the film is a powerful meditation on hatred, and on the common bonds that can bring together even the staunchest of foes. Scott Cooper, a Virginia native and Independent Spirit Award winner for his highly-acclaimed film Crazy Heart, will be on hand for a discussion of the film on the Paramount Theater stage.

Race In America – Presented with James Madison’s Montpelier
This year the Virginia Film Festival is proud to partner with James Madison’s Montpelier for Race in America – a special series of films and discussions inspired by and built around Montpelier’s acclaimed Mere Distinction of Colour exhibition and its ongoing commitment to exploring its own legacy of slavery, including the recreation of slave dwellings on its historic property. In addition to 4 Little Girls, the films in the series will include:

An Outrage – This documentary by Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren about lynching in the American South was filmed on location at lynching sites in six states, and is bolstered by the memories and perspectives of descendants, community activists, and scholars, creating a hub for action to remember and reflect upon a long-hidden past.

Birth of a MovementThis powerful story is based on William Monroe Trotter, the nearly-forgotten editor of a Black Boston newspaper and his 1915 campaign to ban D.W. Griffith’s deeply divisive Birth of a Nation – highlighting the early stages of still-raging battles over media representation, freedom of speech, and the influence of Hollywood.

The Confession Tapes The VFF will present an episode from Netflix’s true crime documentary series called “8th and H” about a notorious 1984 murder case in Washington, D.C. in which a group of eight teens were unjustly convicted, and remain in prison to this day largely due to a connection to a “gang” that never actually existed.

Hidden Figures – Noted author and UVA alumna Margot Lee Shetterly will be at the Festival to present the widely-acclaimed 2016 film based on her celebrated book about the three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit.

O.J.: Made in AmericaEzra Edelman’s Emmy and Academy Award-winning five-part documentary chronicles the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation.

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities – Co-directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams, this film examines the impact Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had on American history, culture, and national identity. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Marco Williams, the film’s producer and co-director.

The Miller Center
This year the Virginia Film Festival is again partnering with The Miller Center, a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history, and strives to apply the lessons of history and civil discourse to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges. The series will include a 30th anniversary screening of Broadcast News, the 1987 romantic comedy that took a clear-eyed, satirical look at the concept of “fake news” long before the phrase was vaulted into the American lexicon in the 2016 election. The screening will be followed by a conversation with legendary news reporter and anchor Jim Lehrer and longtime CBS News correspondent and now UVA Media Studies professor Wyatt Andrews about the concepts of truth and veracity in our rapidly-changing news landscape. This year’s Miller Center series will also feature a screening of an episode from The Vietnam War, the highly-acclaimed 18-part PBS documentary series from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film. The VFF is proud to welcome Lynn Novick to the Festival for a special post-screening discussion with Marc Selverstone, associate professor and chair of the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Program.

Homeland
This year the Virginia Film Office added another impressive title to its growing resume when Showtime announced that its award-winning series Homeland would film its upcoming seventh season in the Commonwealth. The Virginia Film Festival will screen an episode of the show from its sixth season, followed by a conversation with its director, Lesli Linka Glatter.

Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership
The VFF and the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership are launching a new partnership this year with a special screening of the 1972 Michael Ritchie film The Candidate, starring Robert Redford. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion that will include political consultant and longtime CNN contributor Paul Begala, who returns to the VFF after his 2016 post-screening discussion of the D.A. Pennebaker classic documentary The War Room.

Charlottesville: Our Streets
The tragic events surrounding the domestic terrorist incidents in Charlottesville on August 11 and 12 captivated the world and continue to resonate throughout our culture in a variety of ways. In the course of the ongoing national discussion, “Charlottesville” has become a national flashpoint and springboard for conversation and contentious debate across the nation and in the highest levels of government. Sometimes lost in the ensuing and ongoing controversy is the fact that these events happened to a community and its people. With that in mind, the Virginia Film Festival reached out to a variety of local filmmakers and concerned citizens who had put themselves on the front lines throughout that weekend, and encouraged them to create a documentary that captures the harrowing events that happened here in Charlottesville, as seen by local filmmakers and residents. The result is Charlottesville: Our Streets, which is directed by Brian Wimer and written by Jackson Landers. The film features the brave and unflinching eyes and impressive talents of many members of a Charlottesville filmmaking community that has come together to tell their city’s stories through its own eyes.

The VFF and the Library of Congress Celebrate the National Film Registry
This year the Virginia FIlm Festival continues its unique partnership with the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia, presenting a series of films that celebrate the National Film Registry and the Campus’ dedication to film preservation. This year’s lineup will include the Mike Nichols 1967 coming-of-age classic The Graduate, Hal Ashby’s 1971 romantic black comedy Harold & Maude, and Charlie Chaplin’s 1917 silent film The Immigrant.

Silent Films
The VFF will revisit its longstanding tradition of presenting silent films with live musical accompaniment with a pair of programs featuring the music of Matthew Marshall and the Reel Music Trio. A special 100th Anniversary screening of Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant, which features Chaplin in one of his most famous roles – as an immigrant who endures a challenging voyage only to face even more trouble when he gets to America, a story all-too-relevant in today’s world. This program will also feature two more of Chaplin’s most beloved two-reelers Easy Street and The Adventurer, also celebrating their 100th Anniversary. Additionally, the Festival will present a rare treat with a late-night Paramount Theater screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1927 film The Lodger, about a Jack The Ripper style killing spree in London, with a chilling original score performed by Marshall.

Ben Mankiewicz
Longtime Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz returns to the VFF, where he will host discussions around a number of screenings including The CandidateThe GraduateThe Immigrant, The Lodger, and more.

The Rookie with John Lee Hancock
The VFF will present a 15th anniversary screening of The Rookie, the inspirational true story starring Dennis Quaid as a high school baseball coach whose career and life takes an improbable turn when he promises his team that if they make the playoffs, he will attend a Major League tryout. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the film’s director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Snow White and the Huntsman) and screenwriter Mike Rich (Finding Forrester, Secretariat).

Shot-by-Shot Workshop
For this 30th anniversary year, the Festival is reviving its Shot-by-Shot Workshop, one of its most cherished traditions. Created and presented for many years by the late Roger Ebert, the yearly Shot-by-Shot Workshop offers movie lovers a rare chance to enjoy live commentary on classic films by leading film experts. This year’s presentation will be Harold and Maude, presented by Nick Dawson, biographer of the film’s legendary director Hal Ashby.

Honoring Our Veterans
As the nation marks Veterans Day weekend, the VFF will pay tribute to those who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for our nation with a series of military-themed presentations. In addition to The Vietnam War, this series will include Last Flag Flying, Richard Linklater’s latest film, which stars Steve Carrell, Laurence Fishburne, and Bryan Cranston as a trio of Vietnam vets who reunite to bury one of their sons, who was killed in action in Iraq. The friends accompany the young man’s casket on a trip through coastal New Hampshire, reminiscing about and coming to terms with the shared memories of a war that continues to shape their lives. The Festival will also present American Veteran, a new documentary from director Julie Cohen about Army Sergeant Nick Mendes, who was paralyzed from the neck down by a massive IED in Afghanistan in 2011, when he was only 21 years old. The film follows Mendes from the earliest days of his recovery as he learns to eat and breathe on his own to his life today with wife Mandy, whom he met when she worked as one of his caregivers. The film shows a nuanced portrait of a quadriplegic soldier’s sometimes harrowing, sometimes romantic, and often surprisingly funny life.

Spotlight Screenings

The Ballad of Lefty Brown – Director Jared Moshe’s American Western tells the story of Lefty Brown (Bill Pullman), a 65-year-old cowboy who, after a lifetime of riding in the shadows of Western legend Eddie Johnson (Peter Fonda), is forced by tragedy to emerge from the shadows and face the harsh realities of frontier justice.

Breath – Set on the coast of Australia in the mid 1970’s, Simon Baker’s (The Mentalist) directorial debut tells the story of two teenage boys who forge a friendship with an older, elusive pro surfer who introduces them to the thrill of riding the waves and living in the moment.

Call Me by Your Name Based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman, Luca Guadagnino’s transcendent coming-of-age film follows two young men who fall for each other in northern Italy during the early 1980s. With a screenplay by the legendary James Ivory, the film features a masterful turn by actor Armie Hammer.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool – Annette Bening and Jamie Bell star in Paul McGuigan’s adaptation of the memoir by British actor Peter Turner about his romance with the legendary and famously eccentric Hollywood star Gloria Grahame during the last years of her life.

The Leisure Seeker – Embracing the iconic Americana of road trips and campgrounds, a runaway couple (played by Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren) goes on an unforgettable trip in the faithful old RV they call the Leisure Seeker.

Permanent – Based on the writer, director, and UVA alumna Colette Burson’s own experience while attending E.B. Stanley Middle School in Virginia, Permanent is a coming-of-age story featuring Rainn Wilson and Patricia Arquette  about an idiosyncratic family set in 1983 that involves hairstyles, social awkwardness, and poorly made toupees.

Documentaries

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – From award-winning director Steve James comes this incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Challenge – Desert landscapes dotted with private jets, pet cheetahs, and souped-up Ferraris provide the backdrop of Italian visual artist Yuri Ancarani’s documentary about the surreal world of wealthy Qatari sheikhs with a passion for amateur falconry.

Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies – Amanda Ladd Jones presents the untold story of her father, Alan Ladd, Jr., the former 20th Century Fox Chairman who greenlit Star Wars, Blade Runner, Alien, and many more of the biggest films in movie history. Featuring interviews with Mel Brooks, Ben Affleck, Richard Donner, Ron Howard, Ridley Scott, and numerous others.

The Road Movie – Dimitri Kalashnikov’s inventive documentary literally puts viewers in the driver’s seat by offering a windshield-eye view of life in Russia made up entirely of dashcam videos posted on YouTube.

Serenade For Haiti – Following Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, Father David Cesar works tirelessly to continue Sainte Trinité Music School’s more than 60-year legacy of bringing classical music to thousands of Haitians in this testament to resilience, hope, and the power of music. Director Owsley Brown will lead a discussion of his film.

Word is Bond – Director Sacha Jenkins will be on hand to present his acclaimed documentary that tells the never-before-told story about the writers and journalists that created and shaped the language for hip-hop culture.

 Health and Wellbeing Documentaries

Ask the Sexpert Director Vishali Sinha presents a story of popular 93-year-old Mumbai sex-ed columnist Dr. Watsa, whose brand of non-moralistic advice and humor has emboldened many to write in questions against the backdrop of a comprehensive sex education ban in schools that has been adopted by approximately one third of India’s states.

Bending the Arc – An extraordinary team of doctors and activists work to save lives in a rural Haitian village. Through interviews and on-the-ground footage shot in the midst of a deadly epidemic, directors Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos are immersed in the thirty-year struggle of these fiercely dedicated people as they fight ancient diseases.

My Kid is Not Crazy Revealing the nightmare of a medical system heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, this documentary unpacks the fierce disagreement that occurs among families in addressing youth mental illness. Treated with antipsychotic medication, behavioral therapy, and even hospitalization, years of misdiagnosis leave these children with irrecoverable consequences for the rest of their lives.

Requiem for a Running Back – When she gets the shocking news that her former NFL star father Lewis Carpenter has been diagnosed postmortem as the 18th confirmed case of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), documentarian Rebecca Carpenter embarks on a three-year odyssey across America to explore the unfolding controversy surrounding the degenerative brain disease, which is caused by repeated blunt force trauma to the brain.

StarfishWriter Tom Ray’s picture perfect life falls apart in a single moment when he succumbs to a devastating illness and loses his hands, lower legs, and part of his face after contracting sepsis. This true and moving story chronicles the efforts of Tom and his wife Nicola to keep their family together against impossibly long odds.

Twinning Reaction Told from the perspective of identical twins and triplets who were secretly split up in infancy and studied by psychoanalysts for decades, the documentary examines the traumatic, long-term effects of the separations – and continuing deception – on the twins and their adoptive families.

What Lies UpstreamCullen Hoback travels to West Virginia after an MCHM chemical spill poisoned the water supply of 300,000 Americans. When a similar crisis emerges in Flint, Michigan, he follows the guidance of whistleblowers to discover corruption at the highest levels of federal regulatory agencies.

Spotlight on Virginia Filmmaking
The Festival will shine a spotlight on an impressive collection of films that were made in Virginia or have roots in the Commonwealth. Titles include:

Afrikana Film Festival – The VFF is proud to partner with the Richmond-based Afrikana Film Festival for a special program of films dedicated to showcasing cinematic works of people of color from around the world, with a special focus on the global Black narrative.

Best of Film at Mason and Best of VCUarts – As the official film festival of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the VFF will salute some of Virginia’s finest young filmmakers from both George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University in a special program that captures and celebrates the diversity of cinematic storytelling found at these institutions.

Double DummyProducer and bridge enthusiast John McAllister offers an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look at the competitive world of bridge, and the incredible relationships forged by the game around the world.

The Ruination of Lovell Coleman This short documentary from Ross McDermott tells the story of a Charlottesville-based 93-year-old fiddle player. Combining footage of his performances with animation and interviews about his unique musical career, the film puts special focus on his many years of service playing at local nursing homes.

Scenes with IvanLocal filmmakers Doug and Judy Bari chronicle their son Ivan’s life from his birth in 1985 to the present. They spent two years sifting through hundreds of hours of footage they had shot, but never looked at before. In the process, they discovered forgotten moments of what makes a life, and how things come full circle.

International Films
Continuing its strong track record of showcasing the very best in cinema from around the world, the VFF will spotlight nine films recently submitted by their countries for consideration in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category at the 2018 Academy Awards.

A Fantastic Woman (Chile) – Director Sebastián Lelio’s devastating portrait of grief about a young transgender waitress who faces scorn and discrimination after the sudden death of her older boyfriend.

Happy End (Austria) – The latest from noted Austrian director and two-time Palme D’Or-winner Michael Haneke highlights the cultural blindness and savage indifference of a bourgeois European family in Calais consumed by its own “struggles” as the the migrant crisis rages all around them.

Loveless (Russia) – A couple in the midst of a vicious divorce must come together to lead the search for their missing son in this eerie thriller from Andre Zviagintsev (Leviathan) that highlights a single harrowing story as well as the corruption and moral desolation of modern-day Russia.

November (Estonia) – A mixture of magic, black humor, and romantic love, November is the story of pagan villagers raging against bitter winter, werewolves, the plague, and evil spirits.

Song of Granite (Ireland) – This life story of renowned traditional Irish folk singer Joe Heaney from director Pat Collins combines documentary footage of the singer with masterful performances and gorgeous cinematography that highlights the gorgeous Irish countryside to tell a story that celebrates cultural diversity.

Summer 1993 (Spain)Director Carla Simon’s feature debut is a poignant look at a six-year-old girl who has to leave all she knows behind following her mother’s death as she moves to the countryside and struggles to adjust to a new life with her uncle and his family.

Tom of Finland (Finland) – Director Dome Karukoski brings to life the story of Touko Laaksonen, a decorated WWII officer who returns home after serving his country only to find that country rife with homophobic persecution. He finds refuge in liberating and inhibition-free art that makes him one of the most celebrated and influential figures in 20th Century gay culture.

White Sun (Nepal)This gripping portrait of post-civil war Nepal during the fragile deadlocked peace process follows an anti-regime partisan who confronts physical, social, and political obstacles related to his father’s funeral. His search for solutions takes him to neighboring mountain villages and results in encounters with police and rebel guerrillas.

Woodpeckers (Dominican Republic)Julián finds love and a purpose to living in the last place he imagined: Najayo prison in the Dominican Republic. Through sign languages from one prison to another, he encounters Yanelly, separated by 150 meters and dozens of guards, and has to win her love while keeping it a secret.

Emerging Artist Series

With support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, the VFF will continue its focus on highlighting and sharing some of the most talented new voices on the filmmaking scene today. In addition to The Confession Tapes, Double Dummy, and The Ruination of Lovell Coleman, the series will include producer Han West’s Oh Lucy!, a charming character study following an emotionally unfulfilled woman as she tentatively emerges from her shell, and director Kevin Elliott’s first feature Magnum Opus, a timely conspiracy thriller centered around a principled Desert Storm vet turned reclusive artist.

LGBTQIA+ Focus

The Lavender Scare – The first documentary to tell the little-known story of “the longest witch hunt in American history”- an unrelenting federal campaign launched by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 to identify and fire all employees suspected of being homosexual because they were deemed to be a threat to national security.

Rebels on Pointe – Award-winning filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart presents the first-ever behind-the-scenes look at Les Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the all-male drag ballet company founded 40 years after the Stonewall riots.

Other LGBTQIA+ films include Call Me by Your Name, A Fantastic Woman (Chile), and Tom of Finland (Finland).

Jewish and Israeli Series
The Virginia Film Festival will once again partner with Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville to present a series of acclaimed Jewish and Israeli films, including:

1945In August 1945, a rural town in Hungary is preparing for the wedding of the town clerk’s son when two Orthodox Jewish men arrive at the railway station with mysterious wooden boxes.

In Between – Three Palestinian women attempt to balance faith and tradition with their modern lives while living in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Shelter – When Naomi Rimon, a Mossad agent, is sent on a mission to protect Mona, a Lebanese collaborator, the two women find themselves in a compromised safehouse in Hamburg. In this suspense-laden psychological thriller, beliefs are questioned and devastating decisions are forced.

Surviving Skokie – An intensely personal documentary that explores the effects of a late 1970’s threatened neo-Nazi march in Skokie, IL on its large Holocaust survivor population, following producer Eli Adler on a moving trip with his father to his ancestral home in Poland.
Family Day
The Virginia Film Festival will once again present one of its most popular annual offerings with the return of Family Day on Saturday, November 11, on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at the University of Virginia. In addition to a screening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will be the premiere of films made by more than 600 local students as part of the VFF’s Young Filmmakers Academy.

The day will also include interactive arts workshops led by UVA and community-based arts professionals, such as Joey Stories by Meghan Smith, Lauren Maupin, and Fenella Belle of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum; The Magical World of Ballet by Sara Clayborne of Charlottesville Ballet; Movin’ and Groovin’ by Ike Anderson of the Music Resource Center; Five Ways to Begin a Screenplay by Denise Stewart of the UVA Drama Department and Arvold Education; and How Theater Works: Behind the Scenes Tour by Steven Warner.

All Family Day events are free and open to the public, and feature complimentary and convenient parking at the Culbreth Road Garage.

The Virtual Reality Lab
Hosted in the Light House Studio’s Vinegar Hill Theatre Library, the Festival will present a choice of experiences to offer visitors an interactive experience with VR and immersive film technologies. The Lab will feature the latest head-mounted displays from the Open-Source Virtual Reality consortium, graciously donated by Razer, and mobile VR applications that work with everyday mobile phones.

Parties and Events
The 30th Annual Virginia Film Festival offers plenty of reasons to celebrate, and some great ways to do it! Highlights of this year’s parties and events include:

Opening Night Gala – Thursday, November 9
The Jefferson Theater

9:30 PM (21 and over event)

Come celebrate the excitement of our first night of the Festival following the special opening night screening of Downsizing, and toast to the Festival weekend with beverages, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and live big band music while mixing and mingling with special guests and VFF friends and supporters. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are $75.00 per person.

Late Night Wrap Party – Saturday, November 11
Kardinal Hall

10:00 PM (21 and over event)

Close out the 2017 Virginia Film Festival in style at this annual highlight event. It’s a great way to connect with filmmakers, VFF special guests, and fellow film fans in a fun and festive atmosphere. Tickets to the Late Night Wrap Party are $45.00 per person.

For a full schedule and complete information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org. Tickets will go on sale online at 12:01 AM on Friday, September 29; in-person at the UVA Arts Box Office in the lobby of the UVA Drama Building, open M-F from noon to 5:00 PM; and via phone at 434-924-3376.

The 2017 VFF Press Room can be accessed at virginiafilmfestival.org/pressroom.

The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees). The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, CFA Institute, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Violet Crown Charlottesville, and the Virginia Film Office.

 

 

 

 

2017 Adrenaline Film Project Applications for Filmmaking Teams Now Open, Deadline to Apply Sept 29

2017 Adrenaline Film Project Applications for Filmmaking Teams Now Open, Deadline to Apply Sept 29 

Virginia Film Festival’s Popular, Highly-Caffeinated 72-Hour Film Competition Moves out of Festival Weekend, to The Paramount Theater

Public Screening and Award Presentation Set for Saturday October 21 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (SEPTEMBER 7, 2017) One of the Virginia Film Festival’s longest-running and most popular events is getting its own spotlight this year that will allow more people than ever to experience its particular brand of highly-caffeinated filmmaking magic.

The Adrenaline Film Project (AFP) is moving out of the Festival proper and heading downtown to host its annual competitive screening and awards presentations on Saturday, October 21 at 7:00 PM at The Paramount Theater. Also new this year, the winners of the jury, mentor, audience, and acting awards will receive a cash prize and industry badges to the 2017 Virginia Film Festival.

Applications for interested filmmaking teams are now being accepted, and the deadline to apply is 5:00 PM on Friday, September 29. For information about how to apply as a filmmaker, actor, or composer, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org/adrenaline/.

AFP is a 72-hour guerrilla filmmaking adventure in which 10-12 teams of filmmakers compete for cash prizes by writing, shooting, editing, and screening their own 3-5 minute films with guidance from a team of highly accomplished mentors from across the industry. Mentors assign teams a genre, line of dialogue, and prop that they must incorporate into their short films. Previous winners have found success in their acceptances to film schools, submissions to Sundance, involvement in the creation of popular movies and television shows, and with starting their own production companies.

Charlottesville native and acclaimed filmmaker Jeff Wadlow, who co-founded AFP and wrote and directed True Memoirs of an International Assassin and Kick Ass 2, will return as lead mentor. Wadlow will be joined by three-time Adrenaline alum Ben Haslup, who produces specials on National Geographic and The Discovery Channel, including some of the highest rated Shark Week episodes of all time, and Han West, a UVA alum who produced Lemon and Oh Lucy!

“Over its 13 remarkable years, the Adrenaline Film Project has earned a strong and dedicated following and become one of the signature events of the VFF,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “For some years now, we have been looking for ways to give AFP even more of the attention it deserves and one of the ways we can do that is by taking it out of the jam-packed four days of the Festival and giving it a high-profile showcase at The Paramount Theater, which has the potential of hosting nearly double the event’s attendance. We look forward to sharing one of the Festival’s most unique and popular events with more people than ever before, and to creating a dynamic lead-in for the Festival as we celebrate our 30th year.”

All completed 2017 AFP films will also be re-screened during the 2017 Virginia Film Festival, which takes place November 9-12. Tickets for the culminating public screening on October 21 will go on sale through The Paramount Theater on September 22.

The 2017 Adrenaline Film Project is presented by Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Central Virginia and supported by The Paramount Theater, the Robertson Media Center at the University of Virginia Library, and UVA Arts Council.

The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees).

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SPIKE LEE AS SPECIAL GUEST AT UPCOMING 2017 VFF

VFF Announces Spike Lee As Special Guest at Upcoming 2017 Festival

Academy Award and Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker To Screen 4 Little Girls As Part of Larger VFF Collaboration With James Madison’s Montpelier Focusing on the Living Legacies of Slavery in America

30th Annual Virginia Film Festival To Take Place From November 9-12 in Charlottesville

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (AUGUST 29, 2017) – Virginia Film Festival officials announced today that internationally acclaimed filmmaker, Spike Lee, will be a guest at the upcoming 2017 VFF, where he will present a pair of films as part of a larger program around the living legacy of slavery, presented in collaboration with James Madison’s Montpelier.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts. The 30th Annual Virginia Film Festival will take place from November 9-12 in Charlottesville and will include more than 130 films and 150 industry guests from around the world.

Mr. Lee will present his Oscar-nominated documentary 4 Little Girls, about one of America’s most despicable hate crimes – the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama that left four African American girls Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robinson and Cynthia Wesley, dead, and served as a catalyst for the American Civil Rights Movement. The program will also include I Can’t Breathe, a short video piece that combines footage of the chokehold death of Eric Garner at the hands of the New York City Police Department with footage of the similar death of the Radio Raheem character in Lee’s iconic 1989 film Do The Right Thing – highlighting a most tragic example of how the filmmaker’s art has been reflected in life.

“We have for many years been interested in bringing Spike Lee to the Virginia Film Festival as he remains one of the most talented, innovative, and socially conscious filmmakers in our world today,” said Jody Kielbasa, director of the VFF and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “We first reached out to Mr. Lee in the spring to include him in our upcoming collaboration with Montpelier, and of course, the recent events in Charlottesville have made his participation more compelling, relevant, and vital.” The visit marks a return to UVA for the filmmaker, who spoke to a packed house at the UVA Amphitheater on April 17, 1993 about his own career and the significant challenges faced by him and his fellow African American filmmakers at the time.

The collaboration with James Madison’s Montpelier will explore both how the legacies of slavery continue to affect the lives of African Americans and how they are dealt with and depicted in cinema and media. Montpelier has recently opened an exhibition entitled, The Mere Distinction of Colour, which highlights the reality of the institution of slavery in the U.S. by sharing stories of Montpelier’s slaves and their descendants. In an effort to illuminate the struggles and emphasize the humanity of the enslaved community, Montpelier has engaged descendants of enslaved individuals to present a clear and honest picture of slavery at the time of our nation’s founding, and to explore the personal lives and connections of those who were enslaved there and in the surrounding area.

In addition to the event with Spike Lee, the VFF will present a series featuring a number of additional screenings and conversations with high profile filmmakers, scholars, and historians, all as part of the collaboration with Montpelier.

The full program of films and guests for the 2017 VFF will be announced on Tuesday, September 26, and tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, September 29.

The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees).

VFF and Violet Crown Charlottesville Announce New Titles for Year-Round Film Series

Virginia Film Festival And Violet Crown Charlottesville Announce  New Titles For Year-Round Film Series

Adrenaline Film Project To Move From Festival Weekend; Awards Ceremony And Screening Set For Paramount Theater On Saturday, October 21

Virginia Film Festival to Celebrate 30th Year from November 9-12

Charlottesville, VA – March 28, 2017 – The Virginia Film Festival has announced the next two films in its VFF at Violet Crown Series, a collaboration with Violet Crown Charlottesville to present a year-round, co-curated selection of films. The series will continue on April 25 with
 I, Olga Hepnarová; and on May 23 with The Teacher.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

I, Olga Hepnarová takes a haunting look at the real-life story of a young, lesbian outsider whose mistreatment at the hands of her family and alienation from the world at large sends her over the edge of humanity and leads her to commit a horrendous crime at the age of only 22. The film, from director Petr Kazda and Tomás Weinreb, paints a portrait of the human being behind the mass murderer without glorifying or downplaying the terrible crime she committed. Using her own letters, the film takes audiences deep into Olga’s psyche and unveils her spiraling loneliness and alienation as it re-constructs the events that led up to the disastrous actions that made her the last woman to be executed in Czechoslovakia. This artful and stylish film aesthetically echoes the French New Wave, and premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best First Feature Film.

From the renowned Czech writer/director team of Petr Jarchovsky and Jan Hrebejk (Kawasaki’s Rose) comes The Teacher, a Slovak-language dramedy set in a 1983 in Bratislava, where a new middle school teacher is turning life upside down for parents and students. It slowly becomes clear that perhaps the pupils’ grades are related to how willing their parents are to help her with her errands, her housecleaning, and other random services. The teacher’s corrupted behavior and one of the students’ suicide attempt lead the school Principal call the students’ parents for an urgent meeting that will suddenly put the future of all the families at stake. They are asked to sign a petition to move Miss Drazdechova out of the school. The teacher’s high connections within the Communist Party makes everyone feel threatened, but at this point they have no choice but to make a decision: will they dare to go against Miss Drazdechova and stand up for what they believe in at any risk, or will they just remain silent and let things be? This darkly comedic drama premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and has been a critical and audience favorite of the international festival circuit.

All screenings in the series will start at 7:30 PM, and tickets will be available one month prior to the screening date at www.violetcrown.com.

Film Festival officials also announced that its popular Adrenaline Film Project, for the first time, will move outside of the Festival weekend. The 2017 Adrenaline Film Project marks the 14th anniversary of the VFF’s 72-hour filmmaking competition in which 10 to 12 teams of three filmmakers work closely with established film directors, screenwriters, producers, and actors in a comprehensive crash-course in authentic movie-making. The mentors work closely with the teams as they pitch, write, cast, shoot, edit, and present their short film to the public at a consistently sold-out screening and celebrate their achievements in a post-screening awards ceremony. The public screening will be held on Saturday, October 21 at The Paramount Theater.

“We are very excited about this move for Adrenaline as we think it will allow even more people to experience what has become for many audience members a highlight of the VFF,” said Jody Kielbasa, director of the Virginia Film Festival and vice provost for the arts at the University of Virginia. “After discussing it with Adrenaline co-founder and VFF board member Jeff Wadlow, we are excited that this move will do two important things: it will allow us as the VFF team to give Adrenaline the focused attention it deserves, and it will open up the opportunity for even more people to discover and enjoy what is a truly dynamic and unique entertainment event.”

The application process for the 2017 Adrenaline Film Project launches on Tuesday, August 29. There will be a kickoff event for the teams on Wednesday, October 18.

The Virginia Film Festival will celebrate its 30th year from November 9-12. For more information on the Violet Crown Series, Adrenaline Film Project, or the VFF in general, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

2017 VFF to Celebrate 30th Year from November 9-12

2017 VFF to Celebrate 30th Year from November 9-12

Festival Officials Announce Launch of 2017 Call for Entries

Charlottesville, VA – March 8, 2017 – The Virginia Film Festival will celebrate its 30th year from November 9-12, festival officials announced today.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The VFF is coming off yet another record-breaking year in 2016 that included an extraordinary lineup of special guests that included Shirley MacLaine, Liv Ullmann, Werner Herzog, Danny McBride, Colin Firth, and more than 150 filmmakers from around the globe.

“We are very excited to announce that we will be celebrating our 30th year from November 9-12,” said VFF Director and UVA Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “Our 2016 Virginia Film Festival was historic in so many ways, from the all-time highs in box office sales and attendance to a remarkably deep and vast program to a guest roster that was filled with true legends of the film and entertainment worlds. We continue to be honored by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from our guests and our audience members alike. It is clear that the profile of the Virginia Film Festival as one of America’s premiere regional film festivals is on the rise, and we are already hard at work trying to build on that momentum for 2017.”

Festival officials also announced the Call for Entries for 2017 will launch on Thursday, March 16. Filmmakers can make their submissions online beginning that day. Once again this year, Virginia residents and students at Virginia schools are eligible to have their entry fees waived. The fees for non-Virginia filmmakers submitting by the regular deadline of Monday, June 12 will be $35 for features and $15 for shorts. Those submitting by the extended deadline of Monday, July 24 may do so for $50 for features and $25 for shorts. The fee for students outside of Virginia to submit a film is $10.

For complete submission guidelines, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/submit-a-film/ or contact VFF Programmer Wesley Harris at wesleyharris@virginia.edu or 434-243-6830.

For more information, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

VFF and Violet Crown Charlottesville Announce Return of Year-Round Film Series

Series of One-Time-Only Screenings to Kick Off February 21 With
Oscar-Nominated Documentary Fire at Sea

Additional Screenings to Include 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows

 Charlottesville, VA – February 9, 2017 – The Virginia Film Festival has announced the return of the VFF at Violet Crown Series, a collaboration with Violet Crown Charlottesville to present a year-round, co-curated selection of films. The series will kick off on February 21 with the acclaimed immigration-themed documentary Fire at Sea, which was an audience favorite at the 2016 VFF.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia, with support from the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

In addition to the February 21 screening of Fire at Sea, Festival officials announced that the second screening in the 2017 VFF at Violet Crown Series will be the 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows on March 21. Programming efforts are currently underway for additional screenings planned for April 25, May 23, June 20 and July 18, and titles will be announced as they are confirmed. All screenings in the series will start at 7:30 PM, and tickets will be available one month prior to the screening date at www.violetcrown.com.

“We are very excited to continue this series,” said VFF Programmer Wesley Harris, “and to work with our friends at Violet Crown to celebrate the art of cinema by creating unique film experiences that reflect our shared commitment to the art form.”

“We are honored to continue our partnership with the Virginia Film Festival by continuing this exciting and successful series,” said Violet Crown Marketing Director David Gil. “We are continually impressed with the passion and knowledge of our Charlottesville audiences, and are thrilled to be able to play a part in delivering this series of films that they might not otherwise have a chance to see.”

Fire at Sea tells the story of the hundreds of thousands of African immigrants who travel each year to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa in search of a better life. The film presents the stark contrast between the daily life of a young local boy, Samuele, and the tragic fate of the refugees who make the crossing in boats that are far too small or decrepit. The people of Lampedusa bear witness to tragedy each day as they recover the bodies of the dead from the water, while countless other refugees arrive to find that the island has neither the resources nor infrastructure to support them. Director Gianfranco Rosi’s (El Sicario, Room 164) observations of everyday life bring us closer to this fraught island, and to the emotional world of the inhabitants who live their lives in a permanent state of emergency.

The Animation Show of Shows returns to the VFF for a second year with 17 extraordinary films created by animators from Belgium, Canada, France, Israel, Korea, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Scotland, the U.K., and the United States. Featuring animation techniques ranging from hand-drawn to stop-motion to the latest computer-generated imagery, the films have garnered many awards from festivals around the world. The collection includes two Oscar-nominated shorts, the family-friendly Piper from Pixar’s Animation Studios and Pearl from creator Patrick Osbourne. Mirror, a collaboration between The New Yorker, This American Life’s Ira Glass, and cartoonist Chris Ware, is also featured. The 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows is unrated. There is a 5-minute intermission after the 13th film, this allows children 13 years and under to leave, as the last four films (Corpus, Blue, Manoman, and All Their Shades) contain mature themes.

The Virginia Film Festival will celebrate its 30th year in November…dates and details coming soon! For more information on the VFF visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

29th Annual Virginia Film Festival Makes History

VFF Sees All-Time Box Office Highs in Sales and Attendance for Remarkable Program Highlighted by Special Guests Shirley MacLaine, Werner Herzog, Liv Ullmann, Danny McBride, and More

Lion Earns Audience Award for Top Narrative Feature while Landfill Harmonic Takes Best Documentary Feature Honors

Charlottesville, VA – November 10, 2016 – The 29th Annual Virginia Film Festival was a historic success that brought together a collection of some of the most celebrated figures in the world of film and entertainment with a deep and vast program of films and discussions that drew a larger audience than ever before.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival welcomed an international array of legends from the film and entertainment worlds, including Shirley MacLaine, Werner Herzog, and Liv Ullmann along with comic actor, writer, and producer Danny McBride and his producing partner Jody Hill as well as award-winning documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, renowned Disney producer Don Hahn and Disney Legend Paige O’Hara. The Festival brought in more than 150 filmmakers in all, providing a dynamic platform for both new and established voices from every corner of the industry.

Festival officials report that an all-time record of 32,443 tickets were issued, topping the mark set in 2015. The 2016 Virginia Film Festival included 43 sold-out screenings and set a new ticket sales revenue record of $207,076. This marks the seventh consecutive record-setting year for the Festival.

Virginia Film Festival Director and UVA Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa, who founded and spent a decade leading the Sarasota Film Festival before arriving in Charlottesville in 2009, called this year’s VFF the best in his 18 years as a film festival director.

“This year’s festival surpassed all of our expectations,” Kielbasa said. “This year’s program was among our most dynamic and diverse to date. That program, plus a slate of guest artists that included Liv Ullmann, Werner Herzog, Shirley MacLaine, Colin Firth, Jeff Nichols, Danny McBride, Paul Begala, Chris Hegedus, and D.A. Pennebaker, helped to create an extraordinary weekend celebrating the art of film and the power of ideas, and further enhanced the VFF’s reputation as one of the nation’s premier regional film festivals. I was particularly pleased that so many of our UVA faculty members were involved across the Grounds including collaborations with the Miller Center of Public Affairs, Center For Politics, The Fralin Museum of Art, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, UVA Drama and Studio Art, and the Office of Diversity and Equity just to name a few. Master classes for UVA graduate and undergraduate students were also offered by Liv Ullmann, Werner Herzog, Paige O’Hara and Michael Piontek.”

The numbers, Kielbasa said, hardly tell the whole story.

“We are pleased to see that this year’s VFF broke box office records for the seventh consecutive year,” he said. “But I can honestly say that this year, and moving forward, the Festival’s success should be measured in far more important ways. Over the past several years we have been proud of our consistent growth but what is happening now is more important than that. It represents an emergence of the Festival as a cultural force that reaches beyond our community and our region and that continues to grow its reputation throughout the industry as a unique and dynamic cultural institution. We look forward to furthering that reputation when we celebrate our 30th Anniversary next fall in Charlottesville.”

Those audiences also played a key role in the Festival this year by casting ballots for their favorite films. Officials announced today that the winners of this year’s VFF Audience Awards are:

Narrative Feature: Lion
Narrative Short : The Projectionist             
Documentary Feature: Landfill Harmonic
Documentary Short: Holistic Life Foundation: breathing love into a community 

Also announced were the winners of the 2016 Programmer’s Awards:

Narrative Feature: Driftwood          
Narrative Short: Femme Enfant 
Documentary Feature: Farewell Ferris Wheel    
Documentary Short: Titanic Boy

Once again this year, the VFF reached beyond its theatres and screens to impact the community in a variety of ways. The annual Family Day event welcomed more than 2,000 kids and families to the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds for free film screenings, arts workshops, an interactive arts fair, and screenings of films by more than 450 local students participating in the VFF’s Young Filmmakers Academy. The Digital Media Gallery in Second Street Gallery also shared experimental video installations by UVA cinematography students and students from the acclaimed Light House Studio.

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, Bold Rock Hard Cider, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Virginia Film Office, and Violet Crown Charlottesville.

Photos from the 2016 Virginia Film Festival are available at http://virginiafilmfestival.org/presskit/
For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

VFF Announces New Film ‘Jackie’

Virginia Film Festival Announces Highly Anticipated New Film Jackie and Sneak Preview of Charlottesville Native Jeff Wadlow’s Latest Film To Program

Natalie Portman Gaining Significant Oscar Buzz For Portrayal of Iconic First Lady

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 25, 2016 – Virginia Film Festival officials announced today the addition of two new films to the Festival’s 2016 program. Festival audiences will have the chance to see one of the most talked about films of the season in Jackie, starring Natalie Portman, and to see a special sneak preview of the latest film from acclaimed filmmaker and Charlottesville native Jeff Wadlow. Tickets for both films are now on sale at www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

The Virginia Film Festival, set for November 3-6, is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

Jackie, the first English language film from Chilean director Pablo Larraín (Neruda), has earned raves at some of the world’s leading festivals this fall, and features an intimate and unflinching look at the life of one of the most iconic and enigmatic figures in modern American history. Jackie has vaulted Portman to the top of this year’s Academy Award prediction conversations for her powerful, nuanced, and unconventional portrayal of a woman navigating uncharted territory as she balances her own unimaginable personal loss with the tragedy that shook a nation and the world. The film captures events before, during, and after the assassination of JFK and is built around interactions with those in her inner circle, including her children, her social secretary (Greta Gerwig), LBJ special assistant Jack Valenti (Max Casella), her brother-in-law Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard), and others.

Jackie will be presented on Sunday, November 6 at 11:00 AM at The Paramount Theater.

After his publisher markets his crime novel as a memoir, a novice author (Kevin James) finds himself forcibly recruited into a deadly political plot in Venezuela. Virginia filmmaker Jeff Wadlow (Kick Ass 2, Bates Motel, Non-Stop) will present a sneak preview of his latest action/comedy feature True Memoirs of an International Assassin. Jeff, a Charlottesville native, studied at Dartmouth College before completing his graduate degree at the University of Southern California. His thesis film, the tOWeR oF BabBLe, featuring narration by Kevin Spacey, won dozens of awards before taking the top prize in the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Competition. Jeff used the million-dollar grant to make his first feature film, Cry_Wolf, shot entirely on location in Richmond, Virginia, and released theatrically by Universal Studios. Each year, Jeff returns to his hometown to lead the Adrenaline Film Project, a program he founded twelve years ago to help filmmakers pitch, write, shoot, edit, and screen a short film in just 72 hours.

Jeff Wadlow Presents a Sneak Preview of his new film: True Memoirs of an International Assassin will be presented on Friday, November 4 at 9:00 PM at Newcomb Hall Theater.

For more information on the 2016 Virginia Film or to get your tickets, visit www.virgniafilmfestival.org.

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, Bold Rock Hard Cider, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Virginia Film Office, and Violet Crown Charlottesville.

VFF and SSG to Open Digital Media Gallery

Virginia Film Festival and Second Street Gallery to Open
Digital Media Gallery

2016 DMG to Feature Exhibit of Video Projection Art and Experimental Films from UVA Cinematography Students and Students from Light House Studio

New Virtual Reality Lab to Offer Interactive Experience with Latest VR Filmmaking Technology

Downtown Festival Headquarters Box Office to Open October 26 inside Violet Crown Cinema

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 19, 2016 — The 2016 VFF Digital Media Gallery (DMG) will return to the Second Street Gallery, inside the City Center for Contemporary Arts, beginning on Friday, October 28.

The Virginia Film Festival, set for November 3-6, is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The DMG is a partnership with Second Street Gallery showcasing experimental video projection art and contemporary films by UVA intermediate and advanced cinematography students and local youth filmmakers from the award-winning Light House Studio, with UVA Associate Chair and Professor of Photography William Wylie and UVA Faculty in Studio Art George Andrews. This year’s DMG will also feature a new film by celebrated filmmaker and UVA professor, Kevin Everson. The DMG is, as always, free and open to the public.

The Digital Media Gallery will be open from October 28 – November 17 from 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Extended Festival Hours will run from 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM on Friday, November 4; 11:00 AM until 7:30 PM on Saturday, November 5; and 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM on Sunday, November 6.

The DMG will also host a First Friday Opening Reception on Friday, November 4 from 5:30 to 9:00 PM, offering an opportunity to mix and mingle with some of the featured artists as well as appetizers and refreshments from event partners Harvest Moon Catering and Bold Rock Cider. On Thursday, November 17, the DMG will host a Closing Reception and Filmmakers Gathering from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. For more information on these events, contact outreach@secondstreetgallery.org.

Visitors to the DMG will be treated to a dynamic new experience in virtual reality filmmaking, The Virtual Reality Lab, located in Second Street Gallery’s Dové Gallery. The Virtual Reality Lab will offer a choice of several short VR film experiences to view using head-mounted, wearable displays. The Lab is outfitted with OSVR, an open-source software platform that drives innovation and diversity by allowing different brands of VR hardware to connect with each other. The VR Lab is also free and open only during the Virginia Film Festival on Saturday, November 5 and Sunday, November 6 from noon–5:00 PM.

Festival officials also announced today that its downtown Festival Headquarters box office will open on Wednesday, October 26 in the lobby of the Violet Crown Cinema on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. The downtown Festival Headquarters box office will be open leading up to the Festival from Monday – Saturday from noon to 6:00 PM and Sundays from noon to 5:00 PM. During the four days of the Film Festival, Nov. 3-6, the Festival Headquarters at Violet Crown will be open from 10:00 AM until the start of the final screening or event each day.

The 2016 Digital Media Gallery is made possible by the generous support from the AV Company and the University of Virginia Arts Council, and is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s Community Outreach & Education Program.

To learn more about the DMG or to buy your tickets for the 29th Annual Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

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VA Governor McAuliffe Announces Opening Night Film: Loving

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Announces that 2016 Virginia Film Festival
will Open with Highly Acclaimed Focus Features Film Loving

 Thursday, November 3 in Charlottesville

Powerful and Inspiring Story of Virginia Couple Who Forged Landmark Supreme Court Case on Marriage Equality will be Followed by Discussion with Writer/Director Jeff Nichols

RICHMOND, VA – September 29, 2016 – Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced tonight that the 2016 Virginia Film Festival will open with a screening of the highly acclaimed Focus Features film Loving. The screening will be held on Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 PM at The Paramount Theater in Charlottesville.

The Virginia Film Festival, coming up from November 3-6 in Charlottesville, is presented by The University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

A sensation on the festival circuit this year, Loving celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (portrayed by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since. The movie, written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud), was filmed in several localities across Central Virginia. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Nichols.

“We could not be more proud to share this extraordinary film with the Virginia Film Festival audience,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Loving captures an important moment in the history of the Commonwealth and tells a story that speaks to the triumph of love over division – a story that resonates in our world today. The film also shines a deserved spotlight on Virginia’s thriving film industry, which continues to be an important driver in our work to build a new Virginia economy.”

“In Virginia, we think of film production as content manufacturing; an important contributor to the new Virginia economy,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore.  “Loving not only provided Virginians with high-wage jobs on a top-tier film, but the invaluable opportunity to be part of the retelling of one of the most significant events in the Commonwealth’s past.  We are looking forward to the festival and celebrating this tremendous film and everyone who helped make it possible.”

“Once again, our long-standing partnership with the Virginia Film Festival brings the filmmaking process full circle here in the Commonwealth,” stated Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds.  “To have hosted the production of Loving was a major win for our local industry, and a testament to the support we receive from our partners in government and the local communities. We are excited, but not surprised by the global critical acclaim for the film, and look forward to welcoming the talented production team and cast back to Virginia for this special evening. We are so thankful to the Festival and UVA for the unique, memorable experience that is always treasured by our clients.”

“We are thrilled to present this important and remarkable film as our opening night screening,” said Jody Kielbasa, director of the Virginia Film Festival and vice provost for the arts at the University of Virginia. “The film serves as a testament to the vibrancy and importance of the Virginia film scene while its story speaks to the mission of our festival in every possible way. We look forward to an extraordinary evening at The Paramount Theater.”

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival will feature more than 120 films ranging from highly-anticipated features to fascinating documentaries, award-winning international films, and some of the most exciting new voices on the filmmaking scene.  Joining Nichols on the VFF guest list this year will be a trio of film legends: Virginia native Shirley MacLaine, Liv Ullmann, and Werner Herzog; noted actor, writer, director, and comedian Danny McBride; Disney legends Paige O’Hara (the voice of Belle in the Academy Award-nominated Beauty and the Beast) and producer Don Hahn; documentarians Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker; and more than 150 filmmakers representing every corner of the industry.

For more information on The Virginia Film Festival visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

For more information on the Virginia Film Office visit www.filmvirginia.org.

For more information on the film, which opens in select cities on Friday, November 4, and expands across the country later in November, visit http://www.focusfeatures.com/loving.

VFF Announces 2016 Program of More Than 120 Films and Special Guests

29th Annual Virginia Film Festival Program to Feature More Than 120 Films and Special Guests Including Shirley MacLaine, Werner Herzog, Liv Ullmann, and Comic Actor/Writer/Producer Danny McBride

2016 Virginia Film Festival Set for November 3-6

VFF Offers Stellar Lineup of Highly-Anticipated Festival Season Favorites, Fascinating Documentaries, Timeless Classics, and Exciting New Voices on the Filmmaking Scene

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – September 27, 2016 – The upcoming 29th Virginia Film Festival will once again turn Charlottesville into a film lover’s paradise this November 3-6, delivering a lineup of more than 120 films that will include legendary film icons in addition to some of the hottest new titles on the festival circuit, beloved classics, fascinating documentaries, as well as up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world, and right here in the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

This year the VFF is proud to welcome a trio of internationally-renowned film legends, including Virginia’s own Shirley MacLaine, filmmaker Werner Herzog, and actor-director Liv Ullmann. The three will kick off the VFF’s Conversation Series that will combine intimate and wide-ranging discussions of their careers and lives with clips of some of their most notable work. The 2016 VFF special guest list will also include Fredericksburg, Virginia native Danny McBride of HBO’s hit comedy Vice Principals.

“What an honor it is to welcome these legends of cinema to the Virginia Film Festival,” said Jody Kielbasa, director of the VFF and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “Shirley MacLaine has enjoyed one of Hollywood’s most remarkable careers, and lived a life so extraordinary that it has been the subject of 12 bestselling autobiographies. Liv Ullmann is recognized as one of our greatest living actors, and we are thrilled that she will be joining us, and participating in a special conversation with Michael Barker the Co-President and Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics. Werner Herzog is a transcendent talent and larger-than-life figure who has made some of the most fascinating films in the history of cinema, while living a truly incomparable life in the process. And we are thrilled to bring in Danny McBride, a native of the Commonwealth who is one of the comedy world’s most successful actors, writers, and producers.”

The 2016 VFF guest list will include up to 150 filmmakers representing a diverse program illustrating the broad spectrum of cinema, from some of the most acclaimed titles on the current festival scene, to fascinating documentaries, timeless classics, and exciting new discoveries that cover some of the most important and widely-discussed topics in the world today.

Opening Night Film
This year, the Virginia Film Festival’s Opening Night Film will be announced by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and officials from the Virginia Film Office in a special press conference at the Executive Mansion in Richmond on Thursday, September 29.

Centerpiece Film: The Promise
The Virginia Film Festival is proud to present the North American Premiere of The Promise, a gripping documentary about one of Virginia’s most notorious crimes and the many questions that still surround the case 30 years later. Echoing the hit Netfilx series Making a Murderer and the NPR sensation Serial, The Promise looks back at the gruesome 1985 double murder of Nancy and Derek Haysom in bucolic Bedford County, Virginia, and the man who continues to proclaim his innocence after three decades of incarceration. German national Jens Soering and his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom, both honor students at the University of Virginia, were convicted of the crimes in 1990 and German filmmakers Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter present a fascinating look back at a complicated and troubling true crime story that has returned to the headlines in the last month, thanks to a defense team claim of newly-discovered DNA evidence that could impact the case.

Closing Night Film: La La Land
Written and directed by Academy Award™ nominee Damien Chazelle, La La Land tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.

A Salute to Shirley MacLaine
The Virginia Film Festival is delighted to welcome one of Hollywood’s greatest living legends back to her native Virginia as it presents A Salute to Shirley MacLaine. Born in Richmond in 1934, MacLaine would also live in Norfolk and Arlington before being pulled out of the chorus line and into a starring role in the Broadway hit The Pajama Game. She quickly jumped to the top of the Hollywood A-List and has given countless unforgettable performances over the course of her illustrious career, including in The Apartment, Sweet Charity, The Turning Point, Being There, Steel Magnolias, Madame Souzatzka, and Terms of Endearment, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. More recently, Ms. MacLaine has delighted audiences with her performance as the outspoken Martha Levinson in the hit series Downton Abbey. She has been nearly as prolific with the pen, writing 12 best-selling memoirs that capture a lifelong search for meaning that has seen her exploring past lives, UFOs, and more. Shirley MacLaine will appear at the Virginia Film Festival for a moderated conversation and audience Q & A session.

A Conversation with Werner Herzog
Virginia Film Festival audiences and UVA students will have the rare chance to hear from one of the most iconic and original artists in our world today, Werner Herzog. The Munich-born Herzog is known for his half-century of extraordinary artistry and is hailed as one of the most unfailingly innovative directors of all time. He partnered with legendary actor Klaus Kinski in his breakthrough masterpiece Aguirre, the Wrath of God in 1972 and is also well known for his film Fitzcarraldo, in which Kinski played an opera enthusiast who dreams of pulling a steamship over a mountain in the Peruvian jungle in order to mine native rubber trees. Herzog is an equally accomplished documentarian whose works includethe film Grizzly Man about an infamous American wilderness enthusiast who sought to live among grizzlies only to be tragically killed by one. Herzog will be featured at the VFF in A Conversation with Werner Herzog and will also introduce his most recent documentary, Into the Inferno, his exploration of active volcanoes and the diverse cultures surrounding them around the world. Werner Herzog will also be conducting a cross-disciplinary residency with UVA students and faculty.

A Conversation with Liv Ullmann
The VFF will welcome one of the world’s greatest living actors with A Conversation with Liv Ullmann. The Norwegian-born two-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner will be interviewed on stage by Michael Barker, Co-President and Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016. Ullmann is widely known as the muse of Ingmar Bergman, with whom she made ten films and shared a five-year relationship. She became the first non-Swede to star in a Bergman film with Persona and also starred in Hour of the Wolf, Shame, Passion, Cries and Whispers, and Scenes from a Marriage. Ullmann earned Academy Award nominations for Best Actress for Face to Face and The Emigrants. Her widely-acclaimed directorial efforts have included Miss Julie, Sofie, Kristin Lavransdatter, and Private Confessions. Ullmann will also be conducting a master class for UVA Drama students. Along with Tom Bernard, Michael Barker has distributed and quite often produced some of the finest independent movies over the past 35 years.  Over the span of his career, Barker’s films have received 159 Academy Award nominations.

Danny McBride
Actor, writer, producer, and comedian Danny McBride will present two episodes of his popular HBO comedy Vice Principals, which he stars in and created with writing and producing partner Jody Hill, who will join him at the Festival. “We are very excited to bring Danny McBride back to Virginia,” Kielbasa said, “and we know that his many fans will feel the same way as he shares some behind-the-scenes perspectives on his new show and some stories and insight into what has become an extraordinarily successful career.” In addition to his current show, McBride is known for his popular HBO series Eastbound & Down and memorable turns in films including Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder, and This is the End.

Beauty and the Beast and Waking Sleeping Beauty
The VFF will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast by welcoming Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle in the film, along with the film’s producer, Don Hahn. VFF audiences will have a chance to see the unfinished work-in-progress version of the film that famously premiered at the 1991 New York Film Festival, and has not been screened since. This version is 80% final with the rest conveyed through pencil tests, storyboards, and sketches. Beauty and the Beast remains the only animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and helped pave the way for what has become known as the “Disney Renaissance,” which changed the animated film landscape forever. Hahn played a key role in the renaissance, including producing The Lion King, which in 1994 set worldwide box office records for animated films and became the highest grossing traditionally animated film in history. The event will also include a conversation with O’Hara and Hahn, moderated by Carmenita Higginbotham, an associate professor in the McIntire Department of Art, and a noted Disney authority who has written and lectured extensively on its unique and pervasive cultural impact.

Don Hahn will also be on hand for a discussion following the critically-acclaimed 2009 documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. The film, which Hahn directed and narrates, chronicles the rise of Disney animation from 1984 to 1994.

The Beauty and the Beast screening will be presented as part of the VFF’s Library of Congress series, celebrating the unique partnership with the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. Each year, the series celebrates the National Film Registry. This year’s LOC series will also include A Face in the Crowd, the 1957 Elia Kazan film starring Andy Griffith as an Arkansas drifter who is discovered by the producer of a small radio station and becomes an overnight media sensation, ultimately rising to great fame and influence on national television. But after becoming consumed by his power, will he ever be exposed as the fraud he has become?

Life, Animated
Another angle on the magic of Disney in this year’s festival comes courtesy of Pulitzer Prize-winner and UVA alumnus Ron Suskind, who will present his moving documentary detailing how he was able to use Disney films to connect with his autistic son.

D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus
Just days before the 2016 Presidential election, noted documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and  Chris Hegedus will present their award-winning film The War Room, which famously followed the 1992 Clinton campaign. They will be joined by political consultant and CNN commentator Paul Begala, who is featured in the film along with fellow campaign principals George Stephanopoulos and James Carville. The event is presented by the UVA Center for Politics and will be moderated by Larry J. Sabato, its founder and director, and one of the nation’s leading political experts.

In addition, Hegedus and Pennebaker will present their acclaimed new film Unlocking the Cage, which follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project, as they file the first lawsuits aimed at ineffective animal welfare laws in an effort to protect cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, and elephants from physical abuse.

Spotlight Screenings

All the Way – Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Schenkkan will present his Emmy-nominated HBO film starring Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Bleed for This
– Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart star in this biopic of world champion boxer Vinny Pazienza and his miraculous comeback from a broken neck suffered in a devastating car wreck.
The Eagle Huntress – This spellbinding documentary, narrated by Daisy Ridley, follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter.
Elle –Paul Verhoeven’s controversial and provocative thriller stars Isabelle Huppert as a high-powered videogame company CEO who goes in search of the man who sexually assaulted her.
I Am Not Your Negro – This powerful documentary is based on James Baldwin’s unfinished book “Remember This House,” which is considered to be one of the great incomplete works of American literature. In the book, Baldwin attempts to recount the lives and successive assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Julieta – The latest film from Pedro Almodóvar is based on the short stories of Alice Munro, and tells the story of a brokenhearted woman who, after a casual encounter, decides to confront her life and the most important events surrounding her stranded daughter.
Land of Mine – A young group of German POWs are forced to dig up some 45,000 landmines on the west coast of with their bare hands in this little-remembered  and haunting historical chapter that came in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
Lion – A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost in the streets of Calcutta, thousands of miles from home, and somehow survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple from Australia. Dev Patel stars as the man who, 25 years later, goes in search of his family.
Lost in Paris – Fiona, a small town Canadian librarian, receives a letter of distress from her 88-year-old Aunt Martha. Fiona hops on the first plane only to discover that Martha has disappeared. In an avalanche of spectacular disasters, she meets Dom, a seductive egotistical homeless guy who won’t leave her alone, in this whimsical ode to slapstick idols such as Chaplin, Keaton, and Tati.
Memories from Gehenna – More than a decade after a local man gunned down a North African immigrant, director Thomas Jenkoe visits the suburban port of Grande-Synthe in Northern France and finds a town still deeply scarred.
Mifune: The Last Samurai – Steven Okazaki’s new documentary tells the story of legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, whose 170 films notably included Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and more classic collaborations with Akira Kurosawa and other legends of world cinema. Narrated by Keanu Reeves, the film features commentary from Martin Scorcese and Steven Spielberg on his unique partnerships and his effect on American and international film.
The Red Turtle –The Special Jury Prize winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this animated, wordless film is the first co-production from the Japanese Anime film company Studio Ghibli, which teamed with Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit on a powerful castaway story that combines, beauty, mystery, drama, and heartbreak.
The Sweet Life – Chris Messina and Abigail Spencer star as Kenny and Lolita, who are each struggling with their own set of demons. They first meet by chance in Chicago and make a pact to travel across country to the Golden Gate Bridge to commit suicide – a plan which becomes complicated when they fall in love along the way. Director Rob Spera will join the film’s producers, Bonnie Curtis and UVA alumna Julie Lynn, for a conversation following the film.
Wakefield – Based on an E.L. Doctorow story, and starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner, Wakefield is the story of a man who has a breakdown and leaves his wife and family by escaping to a garage attic and observing them. Writer-Director Robin Swicord will join the film’s producers, Bonnie Curtis and UVA alumna Julie Lynn, for a conversation following the film.

Documentary Films

The Anthropologist –The fate of the planet is considered from the perspective of American teenager Katie Crate, who travels alongside her anthropologist mother Dr. Susie Crate to study the impact of climate change on indigenous communities in a journey that parallels that of renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead.
Boone A unique sensory experience and unsentimental peek beneath the veil of the utopian idyll of farming, stripped of interviews with farmers or agricultural experts, the film offers a meditation on the gritty reality of three young goat farmers.
Bugs – Equal parts culinary documentary, political conversation starter and travelogue, filmmaker Andreas Johnsen’s absorbing documentary sets out to unearth the role bugs will play in the future of agriculture and to break down the cultural barriers keeping insects off our plates.
Care –Delving deep into the world of home elder care through the eyes of both paid caregivers and their elderly clients, Care reveals the deep humanity and poignancy of care work and the challenges and frustrations faced by elders, their families, and the care workers.
Contemporary Color – Watch what happens when ten of the country’s elite color guard teams—the flag-flipping, sequin-studded crème de la crème of the “sport of the arts”—sync steps with musical luminaries from David Byrne to tUnE-yArDs to St. Vincent for a bacchanalia of beats, saber-spinning, and glitter cannons.
Good Work: Masters of the Building Arts – A group portrait of artisans in the building arts in America that celebrates art, craftsmanship, tradition and the importance of Good Work.
Landfill Harmonic – A heartfelt and moving story of how instruments made from recycled trash bring hope to children whose future is otherwise spiritless.
 A Late Style of Fire – This look at the brilliant poetry and scandalous life of the late Californian poet Larry Levis asks whether self-destruction is required for a serious life of art and features an original score by Iron and Wine.
Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise – The first documentary about this American cultural legend features rarely-told stories that shed new light on the way history, culture, and the arts shaped Dr. Angelou’s life, and how her thoughts and words continue to shape our ours.
The Million Dollar Duck – The strange and wonderful world of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the only juried art competition run by the U.S. government, comes to life complete with eccentric contestants who seek wildlife art stardom each year.
Tower – This action-packed documentary shares the untold story of the day, nearly 50 years ago, when a gunman rode to the 27th floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire in America’s first mass school shooting, utilizing talking-head footage and rotoscope animation.

Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers
The Virginia Film Festival partners with James Madison’s Montpelier to present this historical documentary that examines the paradox at the core of the lives and legacies of America’s Founding Fathers: How is it that the same men who created our nation based on the ideals of freedom and liberty were able to do so while enslaving fellow human beings? The screening will be accompanied by a discussion with director Thomas Troy, Margaret Jordan (Montpelier), Paul Jennings, and Dr. Marcus Martin (UVA).

IndieWire: Celebrating 20 Years
The Virginia Film Festival will salute the 20th Anniversary of IndieWire. Since launching on July 15, 1996, IndieWire has grown into the leading news, information and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry, and moviegoers alike. Originally conceived as an online forum and newsletter for filmmakers and festivals, IndieWire has grown over the last two decades into a preeminent source for film and television news, reviews, interviews, global festival coverage and more. The Festival will welcome IndieWire founders Eugene Hernandez and Mark Rabinowitz, former managing editor Brian Brooks, and current chief film critic and senior editor Eric Kohn for a wide-ranging discussion about the organization’s colorful history and the evolving world of film criticism today.

Indigenous Voices – Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection
In partnership with the University of Virginia’s Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, one of the largest collections of Australian Aboriginal art outside of Australia, the VFF will present a series of films made by or telling the stories of indigenous peoples. The films include Heaven’s Floor, and Putuparri and the Rainmakers, a documentary about an Aboriginal man living in Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia that maps out his ancestors’ spiritual connection to the land and his family’s continuing custodianship of it.

Jewish and Israeli Film Series

The Virginia Film Festival will once again partner with Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville to present a series of acclaimed Jewish and Israeli films including:

Eva Hesse – Profiling German-born artist Eva Hesse, a pioneer in post-minimal art who was known for her use of plastics in sculptures, and who enjoyed critical success during the 1960s before her life was tragically cut short by a brain tumor at the age of 34.
NOT The Last Butterfly– This new documentary traces the exciting global evolution of The Butterfly Project, whose mission it is to paint and exhibit 1.5 million sculpted butterflies to honor each Jewish child killed in the Holocaust.
Restoring Tomorrow – Restoring Tomorrow is not only an exciting glimpse into the rebirth of the famous Wilshire Boulevard Temple and its magnificent 2013 restoration, but also an exploration of how Los Angeles’ past, the growth of Hollywood, and its Jewish community go hand-in-hand in their evolution.
Sand Storm – Winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic section at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, this film focuses on the shattered lives of two Bedouin women who are struggling to change the unchangeable rules, each in her own individual way.
Tenth Man – This well-observed comedy from award-winning director Daniel Burman wrestles with notions of identity, home, and the intricacies of the father son relationship as a man‘s efforts to reconcile with his father in Buenos Aires also reconnects him with his Jewish roots.
One Week and a Day – In the span of a day, a grieving father steals medicinal marijuana from a hospice, skips work, and hangs out with his estranged neighbor’s son while his wife tries to get back to her daily routine as she fights off school teachers, stray kittens, and dental clinic workers.

Spotlight on Virginia Filmmaking

In 2016, the Festival will shine a spotlight on an impressive collection of films that were made in Virginia or have roots in the Commonwealth. Titles include:

Before the Fall – A re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice moves the tale to modern-day rural Virginia and replaces Elizabeth Bennett with Ben Bennett an arrogant attorney who first insults, then falls for a local factory worker charged with domestic abuse.
Farewell Ferris Wheel – Called “visually glorious” by The Hollywood Reporter, this film from UVA alum Jamie Sisley and Miguel (M.i.G.) Martinez spends six years exploring how the U.S. carnival industry fights to keep itself alive by legally employing Mexican migrant workers with the controversial H-2B temporary work visa.
Hot Air – A young man, played by Criminal Minds star Matthew Gray Gubler, attends the funeral of the biological father he never knew, and ends up on a comic adventure with a quirky stranger (Jere Burns), who claims to have been his dad’s best friend.
Hunter Gatherer – After three years in prison, an unreasonably optimistic middle-aged man returns to his stagnant neighborhood to win back his girlfriend only to find that she and his family have done what they always wanted to do – forget he exists.
London Town –This tale of a 14-year-old London boy whose life changes forever when his estranged mother introduces him to the music of The Clash is directed by Virginia Beach native Derrick Borte, and stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the band’s legendary front man, Joe Strummer.
Macbeth Unhinged – This modern interpretation of the Bard’s tragedy is set in the claustrophobic confines of a stretch limousine which prowls the streets of a contemporary landscape as its agoraphobic passengers struggle for existential meaning in a dog eat dog world where only the fit survive, and tragedy unfolds.
The Rebound – Shaina Koren Allen’s inspiring directorial debut follows the lives and fortunes of a Miami wheelchair basketball team as its players fight for their championship dreams while adapting to overcome the challenges of their physical disabilities.

Emerging Artist Series

With support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, the VFF will continue its focus on highlighting and sharing some of the most talented new voices on the filmmaking scene today. In addition to Before the Fall, Farewell Ferris Wheel, The Rebound, and Hunter Gatherer, the series will include:

The Alchemist Cookbook – Filmmaker Joel Potrykus makes his second visit to the Virginia Film Festival with this story of a young hermit suffering from delusions of fortune who hides out in the forest hoping to crack an ancient mystery, but pays a price for his mania.
Best and Most Beautiful Things – A celebration of outcasts everywhere, following a precocious young blind woman who disappears into quirky obsessions and isolation. With humor and bold curiosity, she chases love and freedom in a surprising, sex-positive community.
Driftwood – A young woman washes ashore and is claimed by an older man in Paul Taylor’s intricately layered, dialogue-free exploration of familial roles, isolation and captivity.
Lupe Under the Sun – Mexican-American filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes captures the simple poetry of immigrant life, using real farmworkers to tell the moving story of a peach picker who longs to return to his native Mexico before he dies.
She Started It – Directors Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed offer a rare look into the lives and the challenges of five inspiring young female tech entrepreneurs who will stop at nothing to pursue their dreams. The film is presented in partnership with the UVA Darden School of Business.

International Films

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival will once again feature an array of some of this year’s top foreign films, including seven that have been submitted for consideration for the 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. These films include Elle, Julieta, and Land of Mine (featured in the “Spotlight” films above); Sand Storm (part of our Jewish and Israeli film series); and the three films listed below.

Apprentice (Singapore) – Aiman, a 28-year-old correctional officer at a maximum security prison must overcome his conscience and haunting past when he strikes up a friendship with the chief executioner and is asked to beome his apprentice.
As I Open My Eyes (Tunisia) – On the eve of the Tunisian revolution in 2010 a young woman just accepted to medical school chooses to follow her passion for music, and her underground rock band draws attention from fans and government authorities alike.
Fire at Sea (Italy/France) – Gianfranco Rosi’s Berlin Golden Bear winning documentary follows a 12-year-old boy who lives on the Lampedusa island in the middle of the sea and on the front lines of the European migrant crisis.

The international films at the VFF will also include:

After Coal (USA/Wales) – What happens when fossil fuels run out? After Coal takes viewers to the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels, profiling inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and South Wales.
Being 17 (France) – Two rival teenage boys are thrown together by circumstance unraveling long suppressed desires neither realized they had for each other in a refreshing and honest exploration of masculinity and sexuality for the modern age.
Dead Slow Ahead (Spain/Italy) – This hypnotic, immersive, and one-of-a-kind documentary follows the anonymous crew of a massive shipping freighter – both the captains and the captives of the grinding machinery that dominates their lives.
Don’t Call Me Son (Brazil) – In her newest work, filmmaker Anna Muylaert explores the mother-child relationship through the eyes of a rebellious son whose whole world unravels overnight.
Heaven’s Floor (Canada) – An L.A. photographer’s whimsical trip to the Canadian Arctic becomes a life-threatening disaster when she finds herself abandoned there and is rescued by a 12-year-old Inuit girl who shares dark truths about her own life.
Memories from Gehenna (France)– More than a decade after a local man gunned down a North African immigrant, director Thomas Jenkoe visits the suburban port of Grande-Synthe in Northern France and finds a town still deeply scarred.
Old Stone (China) – Johnny Ma’s thrilling feature debut tells the story of a hard-working cab driver in a bustling Chinese metropolis who is plunged into a bureaucratic nightmare when he takes an injured man to the hospital.
Putuparri and the Rainmakers (Australia) This powerful documentary explores the complex indigenous and colonial history of Australia through the story of Tom ‘Putuparri’ Lawford.
Shepherds and Butchers
(South Africa/Germany) – A lawyer (Steve Coogan) takes on the case of a prison guard in South Africa who is traumatized by the executions he’s witnessed.
Staying Vertical – French filmmaker Alain Guiraudie follows up his acclaimed Stranger by the Lake with this story of a filmmaker who must raise a child by himself while looking for an inspiration for his new film.
Suntan (Greece) – On a hedonistic Greek island, a middle-aged doctor becomes obsessed with a young tourist when she lets him tag along with her group of hard partying friends.
The Son of Joseph (France) – Vincent, an adolescent, has been lovingly raised by a single mother who has always refused to tell him his father’s name. Vincent discovers that he is a selfish and cynical Parisian publisher, Oscar Pormenor. Vincent plots his revenge, but his encounter with Joseph will change his life.

The Yellow Ticket
with Live Musical Accompaniment
This silent film tells the story of Lea, a young girl living in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw with hopes of studying medicine at a university in Russia. When her father dies, she moves to St. Petersburg to pursue her dream, but must assume the identity of her tutor’s deceased sister in order to be accepted to the university. Lea attends school during the day, but spends her nights working as a prostitute, until a fellow student discovers her secret. Esteemed Klezmer musicians Alicia Svigals, Marilyn Lerner, and UVA faculty member Joel Rubin will accompany the screening with a live performance of a score written by Svigals, which was commissioned by the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 2013 New Jewish Music Network.

Family Day
Family Day returns to the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds on Saturday, November 5 with a day-long celebration for all ages, highlighted by screenings of Walt Disney Animation Studios Shorts and a 20th Anniversary screening of the family classic film James and the Giant Peach. Also on hand will be the Charlottesville Symphony with their “Musical Petting Zoo,” and the VFF Young Filmmakers Academy, which will showcase the work of more than 600 student filmmakers from around the area who create their own films with the help of classroom mentorship from representatives of Light House Studio.

The day will also include dynamic interactive arts fair and a series of workshops led by UVA and community arts professionals. This year’s workshops include: Lights, Camera, Chain-re-Action! by Earl Mark of UVA School of Architecture; Get Animated with the Virginia Discovery Museum by Katilin German; and Creating Art Together by Emma Lewis and Susan Xie, UVA Arts Scholars.  The workshops are free, but require advance registration. To register, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/workshops.

All Family Day events are free and open to the public, and feature complimentary and convenient parking at the Culbreth Road Garage.

Digital Media Gallery
The Digital Media Gallery returns to Second Street Gallery, inside the City Center for Contemporary Arts, where it will feature video projection art and experimental films by students from acclaimed filmmaker Kevin Everson’s intermediate and advanced UVA cinematography students and local students from the award-winning Light House Studio.  This year’s DMG will also feature an interactive virtual reality lab presented by open-source virtual reality company Razer. The Digital Media Gallery will open on October 28 and run through November 17. It is free and open to the public, and made possible by generous support from The AV Company and the University of Virginia Arts Council and is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s Community Outreach & Education Program. More details can be found at virginiafilmfestival.org/digital-media-gallery.

Adrenaline Film Project
The 2016 Virginia Film Festival will once again get a jolt of caffeinated creativity courtesy of the 13th Annual Adrenaline Film Project, a 72-hour guerrilla filmmaking adventure in which 10-12 teams of filmmakers shoot, edit, and screen their own 5-7 minute films with a guidance from Adrenaline mentors as well as some of Festival’s special guests. Charlottesville native and acclaimed filmmaker Jeff Wadlow, who co-founded the AFP, will return as mentor and will be joined by noted acting coach Leigh Kilton-Smith, and UVA alum and three-time Adrenaline veteran Kevin Hart, a recent graduate of USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program. The Adrenaline Film Project will culminate in a competitive screening and awards ceremony before a live audience at Culbreth Theatre on Saturday, November 5.

Parties and Events
The 29th Annual Virginia Film Festival offers plenty of reasons to celebrate, and some great ways to do it! Highlights of this year’s parties and events include:

  • Opening Night Gala – Thursday, November 3
    The Jefferson Theater, Downtown Mall – doors open at 9:30 PM (21 and over event)

Come celebrate the excitement of opening night following our special opening night screening, and toast the Festival weekend with beverages, light buffet refreshments, and live big band music while mixing and mingling with special guests and VFF friends and supporters. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are $75.00 per person.

  • Late Night Wrap Party – Saturday, November 5
    Main Street Arena, Downtown Mall – 10:00 PM (21 and over event)

Close out the 2016 Virginia Film Festival in style at this annual highlight event. It’s a great way to connect with filmmakers, VFF special guests, and fellow film fans in a fun and festival atmosphere. Tickets to the Late Night Wrap Party are $35.00 per person.

For a full schedule and complete information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org. Tickets will go on sale Friday, September 30 online, in-person at the U.Va. Arts Box Office (at Culbreth Theatre), and via phone at 434-924-3376.  The 2016 VFF Press Kit can be accessed at virginiafilmfestival.org/presskit/.

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, Bold Rock Hard Cider, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Virginia Film Office, and Violet Crown Charlottesville.

VFF Announces Family Day Offerings and 13th Adrenaline Film Project

Virginia Film Festival Announces 2016 Family Day Offerings and Launch of 13th Annual Adrenaline Film Project

 VFF Family Day to be Held on Saturday, November 5 on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at the University of Virginia and will Feature Screenings of James and the Giant Peach and Disney Animation Studios Shorts Plus Interactive Arts Workshops

 2016 Adrenaline Film Project to be Led by Charlottesville Native and Acclaimed Filmmaker Jeff Wadlow and Feature Films Made in 72 Hours By Local and Regional Teams

Charlottesville, VA – September 15, 2016 – The Virginia Film Festival will once again present two of its most popular annual offerings with the return of Family Day and the Adrenaline Film Project.

The Virginia Film Festival, set for November 3-6, is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

This year’s VFF Family Day will take place on Saturday, November 5 at the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at the University of Virginia. Part of the Festival’s Outreach & Education Program, the VFF’s Family Day is highlighted by family-friendly screenings, interactive arts workshops led by UVA and community-based arts professionals, and screenings of films made by more than 600 local students as part of the VFF’s Young Filmmakers Academy.

All Family Day events are free and open to the public!

This year’s screenings begin at 10:00 AM at the Culbreth Theatre with a program of award-winning shorts from Disney Animation Studios. The screening will be followed by the return of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia’s Musical Instrument Petting Zoo which gives youngsters an opportunity to see, touch, and try a variety of instruments in the Helms Theatre. Then, at 12:30 PM, the action moves back to the Culbreth Theatre for a special 20th Anniversary screening of James and the Giant Peach.

Between screenings, families are invited to explore an outdoor arts festival featuring demonstrations, activities performances and more, as well as a series of dynamic themed workshops. The workshops are free and open to the public, but require advance registration. This year’s workshops include:

  • Make-Up Effects by Mariah Johnson of Light House Studio
  • Lights, Camera, Chain-re-Action! by Earl Mark of UVA School of Architecture
  • Mowgli’s Musical Adventures: A Musical Theater Workshop by Melissa Charles of DMR Adventures
  • What’s That Sound? How the Tune Sets the Tone! by WTJU’s Dave “Professor Be Bop” Rogers
  • What’s The Big IDEA? (Interactive Design Exercises in Architecture) by Louis Nelson of UVA School of Architecture
  • Get Animated with the Virginia Discovery Museum by Kaitlin German
  • Speak Shakespeare Like a Pro by Kate Burke of the UVA Drama Department
  • Creating Art Together by Emma Lewis and Susan Xie, UVA Miller Arts Scholars

Additional free workshops offered during Family Day include the toddler-centric Joey Stories hosted by Lauren Maupin and Fenella Belle, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, and a behind the scenes tour of the School of Architecture. For a complete schedule and registration information for this year’s workshops, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/workshops/.  For more information on Family Day, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/familyday/.

Family Day is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s acclaimed Outreach & Education Program, which also includes annual School Screenings that draw up to 1,000 local and regional students; the ACTION! The VFF’s High School Director Competition; the Adrenaline Film Project; and the Digital Media Gallery, which features experimental works by UVA and local high school students, presented at Charlottesville’s Second Street Gallery.

The VFF’s Outreach and Education Program is generously supported by The Sarah Lahr Educational Fund. Family Day is supported by the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts, Charlottesville Newsplex, and Lite Rock Z95.1. Action! The VFF’s High School Director Competition is presented by the Virginia Film Office.

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival will once again get a jolt of caffeinated creativity courtesy of the 13th Annual Adrenaline Film Project, a 72-hour guerrilla filmmaking adventure in which 10-12 teams of filmmakers shoot, edit, and screen their own 5-7 minute films with a guidance from Adrenaline mentors as well as some of Festival’s special guests. Charlottesville native and acclaimed filmmaker Jeff Wadlow, who co-founded the AFP, will return as mentor and will be joined by noted acting coach Leigh Kilton-Smith and UVA alum and three-time Adrenaline veteran Kevin Hart, a recent graduate of USC’s  Peter Stark Production Program.

The Adrenaline Film Project will culminate in a competitive screening and awards ceremony before a live audience at Culbreth Theatre on Saturday, November 5.

For information about how to apply to be part of the 2016 Adrenaline Film Project, visit http://www.virginiafilmfestival.org/adrenaline/.  Submissions are due by 5:00 PM on Friday, October 14. We will notify selected participants on Friday, October 21.

Actors and composers can also participate in this year’s Adrenaline Film Project. Arvold Casting will manage a database of available actors and host an Actors Meet and Greet on Tuesday, November 1.  Interested composers can sign up to participate by completing the 2016 Composer Form.  For information on both opportunities, visit http://www.virginiafilmfestival.org/adrenaline.

The 2016 Adrenaline Film Project is presented by Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company and supported by UVA Robertson Media Center.

The Virginia Film Festival will announce its full 2016 program on Tuesday, September 27. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, September 30. For more information, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, Bold Rock Hard Cider, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Virginia Film Office, and Violet Crown Charlottesville.

 

29th VFF to Welcome D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus along with Political Consultant Paul Begala

29th Virginia Film Festival to Welcome Noted Documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus Along with Political Consultant and Pundit Paul Begala

Festival to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Groundbreaking Disney Classic Beauty and The Beast with the Voice of Belle, Paige O’Hara, and Legendary Producer Don Hahn

2016 Virginia Film Festival Set for November 3-6 in Charlottesville

 Charlottesville, VA – August 30, 2016 – The Virginia Film Festival made two major announcements at its annual Stakeholders Meeting & Reception, held this evening at The Local in Charlottesville.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

VFF Director and UVA Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa announced that the Festival, set for November 3-6, will welcome award-winning documentarians Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker.  The pair will present their highly-acclaimed 1993 film The War Room, which documented the inner workings of Bill Clinton’s improbable 1992 election. Noted CNN political consultant and CNN commentator Paul Begala, who played a key advisory role in that campaign and is featured in the film, will also be on hand for a discussion.

In addition, Hegedus and Pennebaker will present their acclaimed film Unlocking the Cage, which follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project, as they file the first lawsuits aimed at ineffective animal welfare laws in an effort to protect cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, and elephants from physical abuse. The film follows the team as it argues on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York State for limited personhood rights using writs of habeus corpus historically used to free humans from unlawful imprisonment.

The VFF will also be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast by welcoming Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle in the film, along with the film’s producer, Don Hahn. Beauty and the Beast remains the only animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and helped pave the way for what has become known as the “Disney Renaissance,” which changed the animated film landscape forever. Hahn played a key role in the renaissance, including producing The Lion King, which in 1994 set worldwide box office records for animated films and became the highest grossing traditionally animated film in history.

O’Hara and Hahn will participate in a discussion following a special screening of Beauty and the Beast, and Hahn will also be on hand for a discussion following the critically-acclaimed 2009 documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. The film, which Hahn narrates, chronicles the rise of Disney animation from 1984 to 1994.

The Virginia Film Festival will announce its full 2016 program on Tuesday, September 27. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, September 30. For more information, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Virginia Film Office, and Violet Crown Charlottesville.

VFF at Violet Crown Film Series to Continue in June & July

VFF at Violet Crown Film Series to Present Dutch Black Comedy Schneider Vs. Bax on June 21 and Animated Documentary Nuts! on July 19

Festival To Partner with Charlottesville Tom Sox for Special Screening of Beloved Baseball Film The Sandlot on July 1 at Tom Sox Stadium

Charlottesville, VA – May 26, 2016 – Local film lovers will have the chance to check out two of the most talked-about titles on this year’s festival circuit when the VFF at the Violet Crown series presents the Dutch black comedy Schneider vs. Bax on June 21 and Penny Lane’s highly acclaimed documentary Nuts! on July 19.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

All screenings in the VFF at Violet Crown series begin at 7:30 PM, and tickets will be available prior to the screening date at www.violetcrown.com.

Continuing its successful festival run, which has included the Locarno Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, Schneider vs. Bax tells the story of Schneider, a contract killer who gets a call for an assignment on his birthday. The target is writer Ramon Bax, played by writer-director Alex van Warmerdam. Citing a previous commitment to help his wife prepare for a birthday party, Schneider tries to pass on the job, but is told Bax lives alone in a secluded place and that this assignment is so simple Schneider could be home by noon. The hitman soon learns the job is anything but easy as a seemingly straightforward crime thriller plot transforms into a sinister game of life and death in this wicked and absurdist Coen Brothers-style comedy.

Nuts!, from filmmaker Penny Lane (Our Nixon) is the mostly true and completely weird tale of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, who in 1917 discovers that he can cure impotence by transplanting goat testicles into men. Using hand-drawn animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and a seriously unreliable narrator, Nuts! traces Brinkley’s rise from poverty and obscurity to the heights of celebrity, wealth, and influence. Along the way, he transplants thousands of goat testicles; amasses an enormous fortune; is (sort of) elected Governor of Kansas; builds the world’s most powerful radio station; and generally annoys the heck out of the establishment. Doc Brinkley led an audacious life in which he conned everybody and made a disgraceful amount of money. How he does it, and what happens when it all comes crashing down, is the story of Nuts!

 Just in time for the Independence Day, the VFF is partnering with the Charlottesville Tom Sox on July 1 to celebrate our national pastime with a special screening of the beloved baseball comedy The Sandlot. The film follows young Scotty Smalls after he moves to a new neighborhood and makes friends with a group of children that play baseball at the local sandlot. The screening will be presented immediately following that evening’s game against the Covington Lumberjacks, which begins at 6 PM at C-VILLE Weekly Ballpark at CHS. To attend the baseball game, visit http://tomsox.org/ to learn more about tickets. The film screening will be free and open to the public.

The 29th Annual Virginia Film Festival will be held November 3-6 and will announce its complete 2016 program on Tuesday, September 27, with tickets going on sale on Friday, September 30. For more information on future VFF at Violet Crown screenings and about the upcoming Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.

VFF Announces ‘Moonlight Movies’ Outdoor Screening Series

Six-Film Series To Be Offered at IX Art Park and Carter Mountain Orchard and Presented by Bold Rock Hard Cider

Series Opens with Screening of Beetlejuice May 13 at IX Art Park; Other Films To Include The Lego Movie; Beach Blanket Bingo; The Peanuts Movie; American Graffiti and Hook

Charlottesville, VA – April 13, 2016 – This summer the Virginia Film Festival is inviting movie lovers to take to the great outdoors with a new  “Moonlight Movies” series  that will feature six special screenings that will alternate between the IX Art Park and Carter Mountain Orchard. All screenings are free and open to the public.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The series, presented by Bold Rock Hard Cider, will kick off on May 13 with the Tim Burton classic Beetlejuice at IX Art Park.  The full schedule will include:

Beetlejuice – May 13- IX Art Park
The Lego Movie- June 3- Carter Mountain Orchard
Beach Blanket Bingo- June 24- IX Art Park
The Peanuts Movie- July 8 – Carter Mountain Orchard
American Graffiti- July 29- IX Art Park
Hook- August 12- Carter Mountain Orchard

All screenings will begin at sundown (approximately 8:30 PM), and the public is invited to come early to enjoy food and beverages from local vendors, live entertainment courtesy of WTJU-FM. For complete event information, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

The VFF’s Moonlight Movies series is also supported by the AV Company, C-Ville and WTJU-FM.

The 29th Annual Virginia Film Festival will be presented from November 3-6 at venues throughout Charlottesville. The 2016 Festival program will be announced on September 27, with tickets going on sale on September 30.

Free Screening ‘Romeo and Juliet in Harlem’ with Director Aleta Chappelle

April 20th Screening of Groundbreaking Film Romeo and Juliet in Harlem will Celebrate Shakespeare’s Genius and Impact

Charlottesville, VA— In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Virginia Film Festival, Virginia Shakespeare Initiative, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, and Lifeview Marketing will present Romeo and Juliet in Harlem, a feature film adaptation of Shakespeare’s most popular play. It is the first film adaptation of any Shakespeare play that stays true to the original language and text and has a complete cast of color.

The free screening will take place at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Doors will open at 6:30 PM. The program will include a post-screening discussion with the director of the film, Aleta Chappelle, and Ralph Alan Cohen, co-founder of the American Shakespeare Center and professor of Shakespeare and performance at Mary Baldwin College. For more information, visit: http://virginiahumanities.org/events/romeo-and-juliet-in-harlem/.

“We’re pleased to partner with such excellent organizations to share a unique example of the continued relevance and power of the works of Shakespeare,” said Virginia Foundation for the Humanities president Robert C. Vaughan III. “We look forward to having Ms. Chappelle with us for a dynamic community discussion about the film as part of the Virginia Shakespeare Initiative.”

Chappelle is the first African American woman to direct a Shakespeare feature film. While in Charlottesville, she will meet with film students at Albemarle High School and Light House Studio to discuss the film and her career.

About the Film:

Romeo and Juliet in Harlem’s vibrant photography of the dynamic neighborhood of Harlem and passionate performances of the actors brings this universal story alive. In this depiction of Shakespeare’s play, intolerance fuels the feud between Harlem’s two most successful families—the Capulets (African American) and the Montagues (Latino)—turning the tender love story of Juliet and her Romeo into a tragedy.

About the Director:

Aleta Chappelle is a casting director, film director, film producer, and screenwriter. After attending the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, she followed her passion for Shakespeare first on the nationally touring New Shakespeare Company of San Francisco and later as a company member of the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival. She began her career in film working with Francis Coppola at Zoetrope Studios in the casting department. As a casting director, she worked on many successful films such as Drumline, Nutty Professor, Godfather 3, and Sister Act 2. Her feature film directing credits include Goosed, starring Jennifer Tilly, Damon Wayans, and Joan Rivers, which premiered on Showtime. Ms. Chappelle casts independent and studio films, and works on several projects through her production company Moon Shadow Films, Inc. 

Cast Highlights:

Harry Lennix (Lord Capulet) stars in the NBC series The Blacklist and can be seen in the megahit film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Lennix has starred in numerous other films including: Man of Steel, The Matrix Revolutions, Matrix Reloaded, Love & Basketball, Ray, and Guarding Tess. He was one of the five heartbeats in the hit film The 5 Heartbeats.

Aunjanue Ellis (Lady Capulet) is currently starring in the ABC series Quantico. She is one of the stars of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation. Some of her other film credits include: The Help, Of Mind and Music, Notorious, Ray, and Men of Honor.

Erica Gimpel (the Nurse) is recognized by the public for her role as Coco in the television show Fame. Her numerous television credits include: ER, The Young and the Restless, Veronica Mars, and True Blood on HBO. Her film credits include: King of New York, Smoke, Freaky Friday, and Tio Papi.

Vicky Jeudy (Benvolia) began her young acting career as a series regular and can currently be seen in the hit show Orange Is the New Black

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The Virginia Shakespeare Initiative (VSI) is a statewide celebration of William Shakespeare in anticipation of the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23, 2016. The initiative began through the partnership of the American Shakespeare Center, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and Washington and Lee University. Together, they coordinated a larger partner network with 20 organizations across the state, including arts and tourism councils, school and college systems, and library and museum associations.

Organizations and individuals in Virginia are invited to participate by developing programs occurring before December 2016 that will explore and commemorate Shakespeare’s genius and impact. For more information, visit: VAShakespeare.org.

Press Contact: Maggie Guggenheimer
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
Phone: (434) 882-5040
Email: mog3b@virginia.edu

VFF and Violet Crown Cinema Announce Year-Round Film Series

VFF and Violet Crown Cinema Announce Year-Round Film Series

Series of One-Time-Only Screenings to Kick Off March 22 with The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows

 Additional Screenings to Include Holy Hell and In the Shadow of Women

Charlottesville, VA – March 9, 2016 – The Virginia Film Festival announced today a new VFF at Violet Crown Series, a collaboration with Violet Crown Cinema to present a co-curated selection of films year-round, which kicks off on Tuesday, March 22 with The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The March 22 screening of The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows will be followed in the series by Holy Hell on Tuesday, April 26, and In the Shadow of Women on Tuesday, May 24. Programming is currently underway for additional screenings on June 21 and July 19, which will be shared at virginiafilmfestival.org as films are confirmed. All screenings in the VFF at Violet Crown series will start at 7:30 PM, and tickets will be available one month prior to the screening date at VioletCrown.com.

“We are very excited to work with our partners at Violet Crown to launch this series,” said VFF Programmer Wesley Harris. “We have long been looking for a way to share a year-round connection and conversation with our audience. Violet Crown provides us with not only a first-class venue, but with partners who share our passion for the art form in a way that allows us to create a dynamic series that reflects what we as a Festival are all about.”

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Virginia Film Festival by embarking on this year-round series,” said Violet Crown Cinema Marketing Director David Gil.  “We look forward to working with Jody Kielbasa, Wesley Harris, and the entire VFF team to bring VFF and Violet Crown audiences a dynamic series of memorable movie going experiences.”

Hailed by Indiewire as “one of the most profound cinematic experiences of the year,” The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows features 11 animated shorts plus four documentary treatments highlighting some of the filmmakers. The show is curated by Ron Diamond, Executive Producer of Acme Filmworks, Inc. and co-founder and President of Animation World Network, as a way to bring the best of the best animated shorts of the festival season to the attention of major studio executives who might not otherwise get to see them. The show made its theatrical debut in 2015 and has been delighting audiences around the country with five-to-ten minute films that highlight the ultimate in technical achievement with the level of poignancy, humor, and emotional impact found in feature films. The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows will screen at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, March 22 at Violet Crown Cinema on the Downtown Mall.

Holy Hell was one of the most talked-about documentaries at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and features a powerful insider’s look at life within a Los Angeles-based religious cult. Just out of college, young idealist filmmaker Will Allen joined a secretive spiritualist community and documented life there for 20 years, ultimately exposing how devotion turned to paranoia, and laying bare the lifelong repercussions inflicted upon members by their mysterious leader Michel. This sneak preview screening of Holy Hell will screen at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, April 26 at Violet Crown Cinema on the Downtown Mall in advance of its national release.

Renowned French filmmaker Philippe Garrel’s In the Shadow of Women is a close look at the complex nature of infidelity and specifically the unique ways it is experienced, understood, and processed by men and women. Pierre and Manon are a married couple working together as documentary filmmakers. When Pierre feels entitled to take a lover, Manon seeks common ground with her husband, while his disdain for both women seems to grow in what becomes an unflinching look at the ripple effects of the male ego. In the Shadow of Women will screen at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, May 24 at Violet Crown Cinema on the Downtown Mall.

The 29th Annual Virginia Film Festival will be held November 3-6 and will announce its complete 2016 program on Tuesday, September 27, with tickets going on sale on Friday, September 30. For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.

VFF Opens Call for Entries and Launches ACTION! Competition

VFF Opens Call for Entries and Launches ACTION! Competition

Filmmakers Invited to Submit Features, Documentaries and Short Films – Free For Virginia Residents and Students at Virginia Schools.

 Festival Also Announces Return of the Action! High School Filmmaking Competition.

2016 Virginia Film Festival Set for November 3-6 in Charlottesville

Charlottesville, VA – March 4, 2016 – The Virginia Film Festival has announced the launch of its 2016 Call for Entries, inviting filmmakers from around the state, region, and throughout the world to submit feature films, documentaries, shorts, animation, and experimental works for consideration for the 29th annual Virginia Film Festival, scheduled for November 3-6 , 2016.

VFF officials also announced today that the Festival has also launched the application process for its 2016 Action! High School Directors Competition.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

“The Call for Entries plays an integral part of our programming process by allowing us to continually expand the universe of filmmaking voices and talents we are able to share with our audiences each year,” said Virginia Film Festival Director and UVA Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “Last year, Programmer Wesley Harris and I were able to identify and bring in more than 150 filmmakers to share and discuss their work and in the process continue to enhance our reputation as one of the premier regional film festivals in the country. We look forward to continuing this tradition as we move forward, and the Call for Entries is an important vehicle through which to do that.”

This year filmmakers can make their submissions online at virginiafilmfestival.org/submit-a-film/. Once again, Virginia residents and students at Virginia schools are eligible to have their entry fees waived. The fees for non-Virginia filmmakers submitting by the regular deadline of June 13 will be $35 for features and $15 for shorts. Those submitting by the extended deadline of July 25 may do so for $50 for features and $25 for shorts. The fee for students outside of Virginia to submit a film is $10.

For complete submission guidelines, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/submit-a-film/  or contact VFF Programmer Wesley Harris at wesleyharris@virginia.edu or 434-243-6830.

Once again this year, the Virginia Film Festival is inviting high school students to explore their passion for filmmaking by entering ACTION! The VFF’s High School Director Competition. The 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.

Prizes will be awarded to three filmmaking teams, including a Grand Prize of $1,000 and two (2) ACTION! Runner-Up prizes of $500 each.

Students looking to get more information or submit their films can visit virginiafilmfestival.org/action and fill out the electronic entry form, which requires a link to an online screener, by Wednesday, August 17.

For more information on ACTION! The VFF’s High School Director Competition, email vffaction@gmail.com.

The Virginia Film Festival will announce its complete 2016 program on September 27, with tickets going on sale on September 30. For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.

 

2016 Virginia Film Festival set for November 3-6

2016 Virginia Film Festival set for November 3-6

Charlottesville, VA – February 16, 2016 – The Virginia Film Festival will return to Charlottesville for its 29th year from November 3-6, 2016, Festival officials announced today.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The record-breaking 2015 Virginia Film Festival was highlighted by an extraordinary program that featured an outstanding lineup of special guests including Meg Ryan, Oliver Stone, Leonard Maltin, Larry Kramer, and more than 100 filmmakers from around the world.

“We look forward to another exciting year in 2016,” said VFF Director and Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “Our outstanding programming, continuing success, and growing reputation around the industry has combined to create a great level of interest and excitement both among our fans and throughout the industry. Add to that the unique appeal of our affiliation with one of the finest universities in America, and you can see how these are exciting times for the VFF.”

Kielbasa also noted that the Festival’s 2016 dates fall amidst what promise to be interesting times for our nation, wrapping up just two days before Election Day. “One of the things we are known for is using the medium of film to explore important and relatable issues, many of which will be central to the election discussion. While we are a long way from finalizing our program, it is likely to once again include films and generate discussions about top-of-mind issues that will likely be at the center of the election discussions.”

The timing, he said, is also fortuitous for those who may by that point be suffering from election fatigue. “There is nothing like escaping to the movies, and with more than 120 films, parties, and special events to choose from, people will have more than enough opportunity to immerse themselves in the experience of one of the nation’s premier regional film festivals.”

The Virginia Film Festival will announce its 2016 program on Tuesday, September 27. Tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, September 30.

For more information, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

28th Annual VFF – It’s a Wrap!

Record Numbers of Film-Goers Enjoy Deep and Diverse Program Featuring High Profile Special Guests Meg Ryan, Oliver Stone, Leonard Maltin, and Larry Kramer and More Than 130 Films Covering Wide Range of Genres, Nations, Issues, and Topics

Brooklyn Earns Audience Award for Top Narrative Feature While Until 20 Takes Best Documentary Feature Honors

Charlottesville, VA – November 11, 2015 – Virginia Film Festival officials announced today what attendees and special guests of the Festival saw all weekend long – that by every possible measure, the 28th Annual VFF was an unqualified success.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The 2015 Virginia Film Festival welcomed Hollywood heavy hitters like Meg Ryan and Oliver Stone, famed film historian and critic Leonard Maltin, history-making writer and activist Larry Kramer, rising stars like Israel Broussard and Maddie Hasson, and more than 100 filmmakers covering territory from right here in Virginia to points all across the globe.

Record numbers of film fans streamed into theaters across Charlottesville throughout the four-day festival to take in more than 130 films and special events in what was one of the VFF’s deepest and most diverse programs in its 28-year history.

Festival officials report that an all-time record 31,860 tickets were issued, topping the previous mark, set last year. The 2015 VFF included 41 sold-out screenings and set another revenue record, coming in at $192,567.

“This was, in every way, an extraordinary year for us,” said VFF Director and U.Va. Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “Each year as we go through the process of putting together our program, we are inspired to raise the bar for what we know is one of the most engaged and enthusiastic film festival audiences in America. The way our patrons came out to support this program this year is truly remarkable, humbling, and gratifying. “

Those audiences also played a key role in the Festival this year by casting ballots for their favorite films. Officials announced today that the winners of this year’s VFF Audience Awards are:

Narrative Feature: Brooklyn by John Crowley
Narrative Short :  The Present by Jacob Frey
Documentary Feature: Until 20 by Geraldine Moriba-Meadows & Jamila Paksima
Documentary Short: Teen Press by T.C. Johnstone

Also announced were the winners of the 2015 Programmer’s Awards:

Narrative Feature:  Some Beasts by Cameron Bruce Nelson
Narrative Short:  Usetocould  by Drew Maynard
Documentary Feature: Mully by Scott Haze
Documentary Short:  Radio Orson by Matt E. Novak

“Another highlight of this year’s Festival was the opportunity for us to introduce audiences to the beautiful new Violet Crown Charlottesville on the Downtown Mall,” Kielbasa said, “which offered an extraordinary screening experience for our patrons and served as the home of our Festival Headquarters and Box Office.”

The response to the Festival was equally gratifying from the visiting filmmakers, Kielbasa said. “More than any other year, we are hearing from filmmakers, both anecdotally and on social media, that this was one of the best overall festival experiences they have had, including from those who frequent some of the highest profile festivals in the industry.”

The diversity of experiences at this year’s VFF, Kielbasa said, was crystallized for him on Friday night following the sold-out screening of Meg Ryan’s directorial debut, Ithaca, at The Paramount Theater. “I walked out of the theater with 1,100 people who poured out onto the Downtown Mall still talking about the film and the highly entertaining discussion with Meg Ryan, and was engulfed by a crowd that included those leaving the screening and those waiting to attend the next screening of the acclaimed Norwegian disaster film The Wave. The energy out there was just amazing, and it will forever remind me of the atmosphere we are able to create with the Festival by offering the breadth of experiences we do, including  star-powered features, international award-contenders, and films that surround issues our audiences care deeply about, like civil rights, education, autism, and sustainability, to name just a few.”

The audience engagement extended to the community as well, Kielbasa said, including through the Festival’s always-popular Family Day offerings. This year’s Family Day reached over 2,700 local children and their families and included free film screenings, the acclaimed VFF Young Filmmakers program, which saw more than 450 local elementary and middle school students debut their own short films, and a series of film-themed Arts Workshops that saw more young people than ever before enjoy immersive and interactive experiences in acting, makeup, music for the movies and more.

Another of the secrets of this year’s VFF success, according to Kielbasa, lies in the people who work so hard to put it together. “This year more than ever, our staff went above and beyond in every way.  From the extraordinary work of our Festival Programmer Wesley Harris in putting this program together, to the impeccable leadership shown by Managing Director Jenny Mays, to the talent and enthusiasm shown by our entire staff, our terrific U.Va. interns,  and our always-growing corps of Festival volunteers, this entire team was instrumental in what was a high-water mark for this Festival.”

The 2015 Virginia Film Festival was generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Virginia Film Office, Violet Crown, and Wells Fargo.

Photos from the 2015 Virginia Film Festival are available at http://virginiafilmfestival.org/presskit/.

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

 


Festival Headquarters Opens in New Violet Crown

Virginia Film Festival to Open Downtown Festival Headquarters at Brand New Violet Crown Cinema Wednesday, October 28

Get An Exclusive First Look at Spectacular New Facility Before it Opens to the Public This Weekend!

Festival Also Announces Mystery Sneak Preview of Major Upcoming Hollywood Release Including Conversation with Academy Award-Nominated Filmmakers

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 27, 2015 – The Virginia Film Festival is opening its Downtown Festival Headquarters at the brand new Violet Crown Cinema at the Downtown Mall on Wednesday, October 28. Come get an exclusive first look at this beautiful new facility before it opens to the public this weekend…and hear from VFF Director Jody Kielbasa about the upcoming Festival.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The VFF Festival Headquarters will be open from Monday through Saturday, noon to 6:00 PM, and Sunday from noon to 5:00 PM and will be your one-stop shop for VFF tickets and merchandise!

Interviews with VFF and Violet Crown officials plus tours of the facility will be available from 10:00 AM until noon on Wednesday.

The Virginia Film Festival is coming up from November 5-8 and will feature more than 120 films in addition to special guests including Meg Ryan, Oliver Stone, noted film historian and critic Leonard Maltin, social change pioneer Larry Kramer, and more.

Advance tickets for the VFF are also available online at www.virginiafilmfestival.org; in-person at the U.Va. Arts Box Office in the Drama Building; or by phone at 434-924-3376.

Violet Crown Charlottewsville, which will serve as a primary screening venue for this year’s VFF, is a state-of-the-art ten screen cinema showing the best in arthouse, independent, regional, and Hollywood studio films, and featuring smaller, more intimate auditoriums, reserved stadium seating, and state of the art projection and sound. The facility will offer traditional movie theater concessions along with a café featuring chef prepared entrees with an emphasis on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, and a bar featuring 38 taps of rotating beer, wine and cider, along with a signature craft cocktail menu.

Festival officials also announced a “mystery screening” – a sneak preview of a soon-to-be-released, star-studded Hollywood movie – on Saturday, November 7 at 9:00 PM at The Paramount Theater. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film’s Academy Award-nominated filmmakers. Tickets for the screening will go on sale at noon on Wednesday.

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

For more information on Violet Crown Charlottesville, visit http://charlottesville.violetcrowncinemas.com/.

 

 

 

 

Digital Media Gallery Opens Nov. 6 & Adrenaline Mentor Added

Virginia Film Festival and Second Street Gallery To Open Digital Media Gallery on November 6

DMG To Feature Exhibit Of Video Projection Art and Experimental Films From U.Va. Cinematography Students And Students From Light House Studio

Festival Officials Also Announce Addition of Filmmaker Omar Naim As Mentor for Adrenaline Film Project

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 15, 2015 — The 2015 VFF Digital Media Gallery (DMG) will return to the Second Street Gallery, inside the City Center for Contemporary Arts, beginning on Friday, November 6.

The Virginia Film Festival, set for November 5-8, is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The DMG, which will host a First Friday reception on November 6 and remain open throughout the month of November, will feature video projection art and experimental films by acclaimed filmmaker Kevin Everson’s intermediate and advanced U.Va. cinematography students, and local students from the award-winning Light House Studio. The DMG will also feature the debut of a new film by celebrated video artist Lydia Moyer, an associate professor at U.Va.

Second Street Gallery will host the DMG alongside Beyond Classification, a group exhibition of contemporary photography and video by women artists from Egypt who offer multiple perspectives on current political and social conditions in Egypt, as well as diverse strategies for communicating about those conditions in photography and video. Beyond Classification will open to the public prior to the Film Festival with a reception on Friday, October 23 from 5:30 PM-7:30 PM, artist talk at 6:30 PM.

Beyond Classification and the Digital Media Gallery are both free and open to the public.

The Digital Media Gallery will be open from Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 AM through 6:00 PM through November 20. During the Festival weekend, the DMG will feature extended hours, staying open until 7:30 PM on Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8.

Festival officials also announced today that award-winning writer and director Omar Naim is joining this year’s team of mentors for the 2015 Adrenaline Film Project, the VFF’s popular 72-hour guerilla filmmaking competition. Naim joins fellow mentors including Charlottesville native and Adrenaline co-founder Jeff Wadlow, acting coach Leigh Kilton-Smith, and Charlottesville-based filmmaker Derek Sieg. Omar Naim made his feature debut in 2004 with the science-fiction thriller The Final Cut (2004), starring Oscar winners Robin Williams and Mira Sorvino. The film premiered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, and won Naim the Best Screenplay prize at the Deauville Film Festival that same year.

Naim also directed Dead Awake (2010), with Nick Stahl, Amy Smart, and Rose McGowan, as well as films for PBS.  As a writer, Naim has penned screenplays for Oscar-winning producers, including Dan Jinks & Bruce Cohen (American Beauty) and Ed Saxon (Silence of the Lambs).  Naim graduated with a BFA in film from Emerson College in Boston. His student thesis film, Grand Theater: A Tale of Beirut, was a Student Academy Award Finalist. He was raised in Lebanon, Jordan, and Cyprus by a journalist father and actress mother.

For information about how to apply to be part of the 2015 Adrenaline Film Project, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/adrenaline.  Submissions are due by 5:00 PM on Friday, October 16. We will notify selected participants on Friday, October 23.

The 2015 DMG is made possible by the generous support from the University of Virginia Arts Council and The A/V Company and is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s Community Outreach & Education Program.

The 2015 Adrenaline Film Project is presented by Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company and supported by U.Va. Arts Council, Resolution Rentals, U.Va. Robertson Media Center, and Virginia Production Alliance.

For more information on the Digital Media Gallery, and Adrenaline Film Project, and to get information on, and buy tickets for the 2015 Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

For more information on Beyond Classification, visit http://www.secondstreetgallery.org/index.php/exhibitions/detail/beyond-classification.

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VFF Announces Additional Films, Guests for 2015 Program

Virginia Film Festival Announces Additional Films, Guests for 2015 Program

Twenty-Plus Films To Go On Sale at 12:01 AM on Friday, October 9

Ithaca Star Alex Neustaedter To Join Director Meg Ryan For Screening and Discussion

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 7, 2015 – Virginia Film Festival officials announced today that they have added more than 20 new films to the 2015 VFF lineup.

The Virginia Film Festival, presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts, will take place from November 5-8 at venues throughout Charlottesville.

The new titles, which will officially go on sale to the public at 12:01 AM on Friday, October 9, will include:

Brooklyn – The profoundly moving story of Ellis Lacey (Saorise Ronan), a young Irish immigrant woman torn between two countries as she leaves behind the comforts of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City, where the intoxication of new love is challenged by the realities of her past.

Youth – Fred (Michael Caine), a retired orchestra conductor, is on holiday at a resort spa with his daughter and his film-director best friend Mick (Harvey Keitel), who is shooting what may be his final film there. As the two men face, and discuss, the twilight of their careers and lives, Fred receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.

Krisha – Following a prolonged battle with addiction and self-destruction, Krisha returns to the family she abandoned for a holiday celebration, only to see old wounds reopened. Writer/director Trey Edward Shults recreates painful incidents from his past, and casts family members to give the film, expanded from an award-winning 2014 short film of the same name, to achieve a uniquely authentic feel.

Paradise, FL – When his friend’s wife ends up in the hospital, a struggling gulf coast oyster fisherman moves in to care for the couple’s young kids, and finds himself fighting for a family he didn’t know he needed.

Heart of a Dog – Selected for competition in this year’s Venice International Film Festival after its September premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson’s meditation on love and death is playful, lucid, and heartbreaking. Sparked by the death of her beloved terrier Lolabelle, Anderson draws on her childhood experiences and political beliefs, using her own compositions, 8 millimeter films from her family archive, and animation to help guide the journey of Lolabelle’s spirit.

Lucifer – An angel falling from heaven to hell unexpectedly lands in a Mexican village where his presence affects the villagers in surprising ways. Lucifer is a mesmerizing, moving, and unique experiment in form, presented in director t Gust Van Den Berghe’s original format, Tondoscope, which features a lens he created for the film that allows it to be projected in a circular format.

Embrace of the Serpent – This epic story, inspired by the journals of the first explorers of the Colombian Amazon, Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evans Schultes, encompasses the first contact, encounter, approach, betrayal, and, in the end, life-changing friendship between an Amazonian shaman who is the last survivor of his people and two scientists who spend 40 years in the Amazon in search of a sacred plant to heal them.

The Festival has also announced that Alex Neustaedter, the young star of Ithaca, will join in a post-screening discussion that will include director Meg Ryan, actor Lois Robbins, and producer Janet Brenner. The 16-year-old Neustaedter portrays the lead role of Homer in this coming-of-age story about  a small-town telegraph bicycle who delivers messages of love, hope, pain, and even death, to the good people of Ithaca, only to have one of those messages change his life forever.

For a full schedule and complete information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org. Tickets may be purchased online, in-person at the U.Va. Arts Box Office (at Culbreth Theatre), and via phone at 434-924-3376.  The 2015 VFF Press Kit can be accessed at virginiafilmfestival.org/presskit/.

The 2015 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Virginia Film Office, Violet Crown, and Wells Fargo.

2015 VFF to Feature More Than 100 Films and Special Guests Meg Ryan, Oliver Stone, and More

2015 VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL SET FOR NOVEMBER 5-8

28th ANNUAL VFF TO FEATURE MORE THAN 100 FILMS AND BROAD ARRAY OF SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDING MEG RYAN, OLIVER STONE, LEONARD MALTIN, AND NOTED WRITER AND ACTIVIST LARRY KRAMER

Festival To Open With Highly-Anticipated Hank Williams Film I Saw the Light

Other Highlights to Include Upcoming Features Ithaca, Son of Saul, Carol, The Lady in the Van, and a Special Sneak Preview of New PBS Civil War Drama Series Mercy Street

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – September 29, 2015 – The Virginia Film Festival returns to Charlottesville for its 28th year from November 5-8 with a collection of more than 100 films ranging from highly-anticipated first-run features to compelling documentaries as well as new works by the industry’s most exciting up-and-coming filmmakers and outstanding films from around the world, and right here in Virginia.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

This year’s guest list will be highlighted by actor Meg Ryan with her directorial debut Ithaca, filmed in Virginia; legendary director Oliver Stone; noted writer and activist Larry Kramer (The Normal Heart); celebrated film critic and historian Leonard Maltin; Emmy Award®-winning actor Cherry Jones; actor Scott Haze in his directorial debut documentary Mully, along with Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Moll; actor Maddie Hasson; and cast members from the upcoming filmed-in-Virginia PBS Civil War dramatic series Mercy Street, including Norbert Leo Butz (Bloodline); Tara Summers (Boston Legal), and Central Virginia native Hannah James.

“This year’s Virginia Film Festival will offer audiences an incredibly strong program of films that once again run the gamut of cinematic experiences. We are thrilled to welcome back Oliver Stone for a conversation about his extraordinary Academy Award-winning film Born on the Fourth of July. We are honored to be hosting Meg Ryan in celebration of her directorial debut and are looking forward to showcasing another Virginia production, the new PBS Civil War dramatic series Mercy Street. And we are honored to welcome the Tony® and Emmy® -winning writer and LGBT activist Larry Kramer, who has for decades stopped at nothing to help gay men and women literally fight for their lives.”

Along with the headline names, Kielbasa said, comes a reaffirmed commitment to cinematic discovery. “We have, as always, focused on creating a program that is as deep and broad as the interests and passions of our unique VFF audiences, and have further expanded our efforts to share new voices and talents with our audiences by bringing in a wide array of emerging filmmakers working across a vast landscape of genres, styles, and topics.”

Opening Night Film: I Saw the Light
Opening the 2015 Festival, on Thursday, November 5 at 7:00 PM, will be I Saw the Light, the Hank Williams film from director Marc Abraham that chronicles the country music legend’s meteoric rise to fame and its tragic consequences on a life cut short at the age of only 29. The film stars Tom Hiddleston in the lead role and Elizabeth Olsen as Williams’ wife Audrey Mae, and is directed by Marc Abraham, a University of Virginia alumnus and VFF Advisory Board member. Marc will be on hand to present the film along with cast members including theater legend and Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Cherry Jones, and rising Hollywood star Maddie Hasson, who plays Williams’ second wife and widow. “We are delighted to share this film with our audiences,” Kielbasa said “and to celebrate a University of Virginia alumnus and his film, which shines a light on the incredible legacy and troubled life of one of America’s most renowned musical figures.”

Centerpiece Film: The Lady in the Van
The legendary Maggie Smith stars in this funny, poignant, and life-affirming true story about an elderly woman of uncertain origins who “temporarily” parked in the London driveway of acclaimed writer Alan Bennett (History Boys) …and proceeded to stay for 15 years. The film is directed by longtime Bennett collaborator Nicholas Hytner (The Madness of King George), and also stars Alex Jennings and Jim Broadbent.

Closing Night Film: Son of Saul
Hungarian director László Nemes’ astonishing directorial debut created an international sensation when it captured the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film offers a raw and rarely-seen first-person perspective on the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust through the story of a Jewish prisoner and Sonderkommando worker forced to work in a Nazi crematorium. When the man comes across the body of a boy he takes to be his son, he embarks on the impossible task of saving the body from the flames, finding a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish, and offering the boy a proper burial.

Ithaca – Featuring Special Guest Meg Ryan
The famed actor’s directorial debut, filmed in Virginia, tells the story of a 14-year-old boy in 1942 working as a bike messenger to deliver messages of love, hope, pain…and death, to the people of Ithaca, and how he deals with one particular message that will change him forever. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan’s 1943 novel The Human Comedy, Ithaca is a coming-of-age story about the exuberance of youth, the abruptness of change, the sweetness of life, the sting of death, and the sheer goodness that lives in each and every one of us.

Oliver Stone – Born on the Fourth of July
The Virginia Film Festival welcomes back legendary director Oliver Stone for a special screening  and discussion of his powerful Academy Award-winning film adaptation of the bestselling book by famed Vietnam veteran turned ardent anti-war activist Ron Kovic. Mr. Stone wrote the film’s screenplay with Kovic and received a Best Director Academy Award for the film, which earned eight Oscar® nominations and won four Golden Globe Awards®. Mr. Stone will be featured in a discussion with noted educator, author, and Vietnam War expert Robert Toplin.

Special Event – An Evening with Larry Kramer
The VFF is honored to welcome the distinguished American playwright and LGBT rights activist Larry Kramer for a pair of events at this year’s Festival. Mr. Kramer will be on hand for a discussion of the acclaimed HBO documentary Larry Kramer in Love and Anger on Sunday, November 8 at Newcomb Hall Theater. Later that afternoon at Old Cabell Hall, the Festival will present “An Evening  with Larry Kramer,” a wide-ranging talk about his remarkable career and life, at Old Cabell Hall later that afternoon. Mr. Kramer is one of the most dynamic and influential forces for political activism, gay rights, public health policy, and AIDS awareness, and is renowned for both his ardent social activism and literary achievements. At the root of both is his life-long commitment to criticizing gay apathy and government and social indifference to AIDS. He is the founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS service organization, and ACT UP, a widely effective direct action AIDS advocacy group. His most acclaimed plays include The Normal Heart (1985) and the Pulitzer Prize-finalist The Destiny of Me (1992).The recent revival of The Normal Heart in May, 2014 won three Tony Awards including Best Play, and the HBO television adaptation that same year earned the Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

Leonard Maltin
Celebrated critic and film historian Leonard Maltin comes to the Virginia Film Festival for the first time to guest program a number of films and to be a part of the annual VFF and the Library of Congress. series. Mr. Maltin’s guest programmer appearances include a conversation with the legendary animator Bill Plympton after a screening of his celebrated film Cheatin’. Maltin will also present a screening of the Academy Award-nominated film Songcatcher followed by a conversation with director, Maggie Greenwald. In addition, Mr. Maltin, a voting member of the National Film Registry, will present hand-picked, restored 35mm prints from the Library of Congress archives in Culpeper of The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Employees’ Entrance (1933).

Mercy Street
The Festival will present a sneak preview of an episode of the upcoming PBS television drama Mercy Street. Set to debut following Downton Abbey on Sunday, January 17, the six-part series was produced in and around Richmond, Virginia. Part medical drama, part family saga, the series is based on true  stories and is set in Alexandria, Virginia, the longest Union- occupied town of the war. The show follows two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the Civil War; Mary Phinney, (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green, (Charlottesville-area native Hannah James), a naive young Confederate belle, who collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel that has been taken over by the Union and transformed into an Army Hospital. The world of Mansion House is a complex one populated by doctors, nurses, corrupt officials, soldiers, spies, escaped slaves, speculators, and more. Juxtaposed with the hospital is the story of the Green family, southern loyalists who have stubbornly chosen to stay in their hometown despite the occupation. The intersection of North and South within the confines of a small occupied city creates a rich world that is chaotic, conflicted, corrupt, dynamic and even hopeful. The screening will be followed by a discussion with several Mercy Street cast members including Hannah James, Norbert Leo Butz (Bloodline), Cherry Jones (24), and Tara Summers (Boston Legal) along with one of the series’ Executive Producers Lisa Quijano Wolfinger, and renowned U.Va. Civil War expert Gary Gallagher.

Spotlight Screenings

Carol –
Set in 1952 New York, this new film from award-winning director Todd Haynes tells the story of an aspiring young photographer (Rooney Mara) whose chance department store encounter with an older, married woman (Cate Blanchett) sparks a relationship that changes both of their lives forever.

Entertainment – Richmond, Virginia native Rick Alverson presents this nightmarish account of an entertainer on the brink as an aging comedian tours a series of fourth-rate venues in the California desert while trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. Director Alverson will be on hand for a post-film discussion.

In TransitThe final project of the late legendary documentarian Albert Maysles takes viewers on a journey into the hearts and minds of everyday passengers aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder, America’s busiest long-distance train route, capturing a beautiful portrait of America told in gorgeous landscapes and fascinating interconnected vignettes.

Lamb – A man’s journey to self-discovery, fueled by the disintegration of his marriage and death of his father, takes an unexpected detour when he meets an awkward and unpopular eleven-year-old girl who he takes on a mountain road trip that affects them both in surprising ways. The film’s writer, director and star Ross Partridge will be on hand for a discussion of the film.

Last Days in the Desert – Ewan McGregor plays Jesus and The Devil in an imagined chapter from his 40 days in the desert that finds the two tangling over the fate of a family in crisis in this latest film from director Rodrigo Garcia and produced by U.Va. alumna Julie Lynn and her producing partner Bonnie Curtis at Mockingbird Pictures. Lynn will be on hand for a discussion of the film.

A Light Beneath Their Feet – A high school senior must choose between going to college and taking care of her bipolar mother (played by Taryn Manning) in this film starring Maddie Hasson, who will be on hand to participate in a discussion of the film.

Louder Than Bombs – Writer/director Joachim Trier’s drama follows a father (Gabriel Byrne) and his two sons, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Devin Druid, as they confront their very different memories of their wife and mother, a famed war photographer. Druid will be on hand to discuss the film along with its producer, VFF Advisory Board member Ron Yerxa.

Mully – Actor Scott Haze, a graduate of The Miller School in Albemarle County, makes his directorial debut with this inspiring story of Charles Mully, a one-time Kenyan orphan who rose to great wealth and power then risked it all to launch a foundation dedicated to creating a better life for orphans in the country today. Haze will be on hand for a discussion of the film along with the film’s executive producer, Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Moll.

Project Greenlight Film – Enjoy a sneak peek at the result of HBO’s acclaimed documentary series about filmmaking from executive producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The series focuses on the challenges facing a first-time director as cameras roll from pre-production to casting through principal photography and post production. Director Jason Mann will take part in a conversation about the film.

Documentary Films

Another Way of Living: The Story of Reston, VA –Visionary American planner Robert Simon dreamed of “another way of living” in the suburbs, and in 1964 created the New Town of Reston, Virginia. The film follows his unwavering belief in the project, despite being fired due to financial challenges in its earliest stages, and highlights his insistence that the town remain true to its core principles, even with the challenges brought on by financial success.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution –Filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders) examines the rise of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and its impact on civil rights and American culture. Nelson weaves together a treasure trove of source material with the voices of those who lived it- from the Black Panthers themselves to detractors, FBI informants, journalists, white allies, and others.

Bound: Africans versus African Americans – Controversial and illuminating, this documentary from Kenyan-born Peres Owino uses testimonials to expose the seldom-discussed ways that Africans and African Americans view each other, and looks at the cultures’ shared history to foster mutual understanding. Owino will be present to share her film and a post-screening discussion.

Generation A: Portraits of Autism in the Arts – This powerful and insightful film, which features Temple Grandin and Ed Asner, shows how young people on the autism spectrum use the arts to reach their highest potential and to connect with others and build pathways into their community.

Harry & Snowman – This heartwarming documentary about renowned Central Virginian equestrian Harry deLeyer tells the Cinderella love story that began when he paid $80 for a broken down Amish plow horse headed for the glue factory. Two years later, the pair won the triple crown of show jumping, gaining worldwide fame and forging friendship that lasted a lifetime.

Imba Means Sing – An eight-year-old star drummer from Uganda’s Grammy®-nominated African Children’s Choir leads audiences on an inspirational journey highlighted by a life-changing opportunity and showcasing the importance of education.

Rosenwald – Filmmaker Aviva Kempner’s latest film tells the incredible yet too-little-known story of how businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald joined with African-American communities in the South to build schools during the early part of the 20th century, and the ongoing efforts to reconfigure those schools. The screening will be in tribute to Julian Bond, who is featured in the film. Mr. Bond’s wife, Pamela Horowitz, Rita Dove, and director Kempner will be in attendance.

Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot – The true story of the forgotten heroes in the fight for voting rights—the courageous students and teachers of Selma, Alabama, who stood up against injustice despite facing intimidation, arrests, and violence. Presented in partnership with the U.Va. Center for Politics.

Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings – Filmmakers Edgar B. Howard and Tom Piper present a retrospective of LeWitt’s wall drawings in North Adams, Massachusetts. Born in 1928, LeWitt is considered one of the key pioneers of conceptual art for his belief that concept is more important than execution. This screening supports an exhibition this fall at the Fralin Art Museum.

Until 20 – When James Ragan was 13, he received the most devastating news: he had a rare childhood cancer. What he did after he heard that news is the basis for this film, a moving account of James’ life after his diagnosis that asks the question “how would you live if you knew your life would end at 20?”

Spotlight on Virginia Filmmaking

“This year’s crop of films that were either made in Virginia or have Virginia roots are particularly impressive,” said VFF Programmer Wesley Harris, “which really speaks to the growing base of talent and creativity in the Commonwealth. It’s an honor to be able to showcase their work each year.”

This year’s Virginia Filmmaking lineup includes:

Coming Through the Rye – Jamie Schwartz, obsessed with Holden Caulfield, runs away from boarding school in the year 1969 to find reclusive author JD Salinger. Inspired by actual events, Jamie’s search for Salinger becomes a journey into sexual awakening, love, and loss in this film directed by James Steven Sadwith.

H8RZ – With the intrigue of a crime thriller, this story of a mysterious high school “incident” tells a many-layered story that unravels throughout the course of the school’s investigation, and cleverly deals with issues of bullying, school corruption, and the darker side of teen interactions. The screening will feature a discussion with writer/director Derrick Borte (from Norfolk, Virginia) and the film’s star, Israel Broussard.

Monroe Hill –This historical documentary-essay film from Charlottesville-based documentarian Eduardo Montes-Bradley traces the roots and historical context of James Monroe’s first home in Albemarle County. The property known as Monroe Hill serves today as the administrative offices of Brown Residential College and is located on the Grounds of the University of Virginia.

Paradise–Produced over the course of eight years beginning in 2007, Paradise is a feature-length non-fiction video by U.Va. professor Lydia Moyer that focuses on seven American stories of abandoned sites, including Wounded Knee, South Dakota; the mining town of Centralia, Pennsylvania; and the site of the Jonestown massacre in Guyana. Moyer’s work will also be featured in this year’s Digital Media Gallery, located in Second Street Gallery.

Polyfaces  – Four years in the making, this documentary celebrates the unique connection between food and community found at the third-generation family farm of internationally-acclaimed author and activist Joel Salatin (called the “world’s most innovative farmer” by Time Magazine). The screening will feature a conversation with Joel Salatin alongside filmmakers Lisa Heenan and Darren Doherty.

Night of the Living Deb–Endearingly awkward Deb wakes up in the apartment of the most attractive guy in Portland, Maine. One problem…she doesn’t remember how she ended up there. A second problem…said guy ushers her out the door…and straight into a full-scale zombie apocalypse! Virginia native director Kyle Baker, star Maria Thayer, and cinematographer Tom Ackerman will be present to discuss the film.

Library of Congress Series
The Virginia Film Festival celebrates the fifth year of its unique partnership with the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia, presenting a series of films that celebrate the National Film Registry and the Campus’ dedication to film preservation. This year’s lineup will include the Humphrey Bogart classic The Maltese Falcon (1941), the seedy pre-Code drama Employee’s Entrance (1933), and D. W. Griffith’s landmark 1915 film Birth of a Nation, which remains one of the most controversial films in American history. The screening of Birth of a Nation will be followed by a panel discussion led by The Miller Center’s Director of Public Programs, noted journalist and author Douglas A. Blackmon, who earned the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.

International Films

Cemetery of Splendour (Thailand) Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) returns in this mysterious and funny new film about  a young medium and middle-aged hospital volunteer who investigate a case of mass sleeping sickness that may have supernatural roots.

Dough (UK/Hungary)An endearing and heartfelt tale about an old Jewish baker (Jonathan Pryce) who  is struggling to keep his business afloat, and then sees sales soar when a young Muslim apprentice accidentally drops cannabis into the dough.

Eisenstein In Guanajuato (Netherlands/Mexico)Filmmaker Peter Greenaway looks into the mind of the Russian creative genius Sergei Eisenstein and how that filmmaker’s ten days in Mexico in 1931 and the desires and fears of love, sex, and death, he faced there, helped shape the career and legacy of one of the great Masters of Cinema.

In the Basement (Austria) – Ulrich Seldl heads deep into his nation’s consciousness by delving into what its people get up to in their basements, one of the most utilized rooms in Austrian homes. The answers run the gamut from mundane hobbies to shocking obsessions and reveal, in some cases, more than we ever hoped to know.

The Kindergarten Teacher (Israel/France) – A young woman becomes enchanted, then obsessed, with the otherworldly poetic talents of a five-year-old boy, ultimately pushing boundaries in an effort to protect that talent before his purity is lost.

The Pearl Button (Chile) The great Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán uses the metaphor of water, inspired by his nation’s vast coastline, to chronicle the history of the indigenous peoples of Chilean Patagonia, whose decimation by colonial conquest foretold the brutal Pinochet dictatorship.

Mountains May Depart (China) – A sweeping tale from noted Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke about a town beauty and two suitors that that jumps from the past to the near future to show how China’s economic boom has impacted the bonds of family, tradition, and love.

My Friend Victoria (France) – Adapted from a short story by Nobel Prize®-winning writer Doris Lessing, this powerful tale of race and privilege shifts the scene to Paris to focus on a young orphan girl whose one night in the home of a wealthy family changes has reverberations that change the course of her life.

Sembene! (Senegal) – The unbelievable real life epic about Ousmane Sembene, the “father of African cinema,” tells the tale of an ordinary man who fought enormous odds to give African stories to Africans from the perspective of the man who knew him best.

Summer of Sangaile (Lithuania/France/Netherlands) – A chance meeting between two restless teenagers sets the stage for a summer of awakening, learning to fly, and learning to love, in this beautiful film that earned a prestigious World Cinema Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Taxi (Iran) – Exiled Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi takes the helm, and the wheel, in this slice-of-life documentary that finds him posing as a taxi driver to get a look inside the lives of Tehran residents. The film earned the coveted Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival.

Victoria (Germany) – Shot in a single two hour-plus take, this edge-of-your-seat thriller tells the story of a runaway party girl who spontaneous night out with three men turns into a bank robbery.

U.Va. Center for Politics
This year, the VFF and the Center for Politics are continuing their annual collaboration with a special screening of Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot. The true story of the forgotten heroes in the fight for voting rights depicts the courageous students and teachers of Selma, Alabama who stood up against injustice despite facing intimidation, arrests, and violence. The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Joanne Bland, the co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama; Charles Mauldin, who was elected president of the Dallas County Youth League at the age of only 16 – the student-led organization that led many of the nonviolent marches and demonstrations that culminated in the March to Montgomery and the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and whose parents were the first two to be registered as a result of that passage; and Selma foot soldier Albert Southall, who faced dogs, horses, tear gas, billy clubs, and cattle prods that fateful day on the other side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Faust – Featuring John D’earth and the Free Bridge Quintet
On Saturday, November 7, as part of a special partnership with the University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Music, the Free Bridge Quintet, in partnership with the Virginia Film Festival, will perform a two hour accompaniment to the 1926 silent film Faust, directed by F.W. Murnau. The score, composed by Free Bridge trumpeter and U.Va. Director of Jazz Performance John D’earth, was originally commissioned by the U.Va. Film Society in 2003 for a presentation of the restored print. The film will screen in Old Cabell Hall and will feature the Quintet with special guest, principal percussionist of the Charlottesville Symphony, I-Jen Fang. Note: VFF ticket vouchers and badges will not be redeemable for this event.

Family Day
Family Day returns to the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds on Saturday, November 7 with a day-long celebration for all ages, highlighted by screenings of Pixar Short Films 2007-2012 and the beloved family classic Babe. The screenings begin at 10:00 AM at Culbreth Theatre. Also returning this year will be the Charlottesville Symphony’s Musical Instrument Petting Zoo in the Helms Theatre, and the ever-popular Young Filmmakers Academy, showcasing the work of over 600 student filmmakers from around the area who this year received classroom mentorship on various aspects of the filmmaking process from representatives of Light House Studio.

The day will also feature the return of the VFF arts-inspired interactive workshops led by U.Va. and community arts professionals on topics including “Make-up Effects,” “Speak Shakespeare Like a Pro!”, “Music in Movies,” and more. The workshops are free, but require advance registration. To register, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/workshops/.

All Family Day events are free and open to the public, and feature complimentary and convenient parking at the Culbreth Road Garage.

School Screening – Most Likely to Succeed
Middle school and high school students from throughout the region will attend a special screening of the award-winning documentary Most Likely to Succeed on Friday, November 6 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. The film, by Greg Whiteley, has been hailed as one of the most important films ever done on the topic of the past and present of school. The film inspires audiences with a sense of purpose and possibility to reimagine what America’s students and teachers are capable of doing, and encourages its viewers to look at education in ways they never have before.

The film will also be presented as a public screening that same evening at PVCC Dickinson Center.

Digital Media Gallery
The Digital Media Gallery returns to Second Street Gallery, inside the City Center for Contemporary Arts, where it will feature video projection art and experimental films by students from acclaimed filmmaker Kevin Everson’s intermediate and advanced U.Va. cinematography students and local students from the award-winning Light House Studio.  The DMG will also feature the debut of a new film by celebrated video artist Lydia Moyer, an associate professor at U.Va. The DMG will officially open with a First Friday reception on November 6 and will remain open through the month of November. The 2015 DMG is curated in company with Beyond Classification, a group exhibition of contemporary photography and video by women artists from Egypt who offer multiple perspectives on current political and social conditions in Egypt, as well as diverse strategies for communicating about those conditions in photography and video. View these works before the VFF weekend, beginning October 23. Beyond Classification and the Digital Media Gallery are both free and open to the public. The 2015 DMG is made possible by the generous support from the University of Virginia Arts Council and The A/V Company and is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s Community Outreach & Education Program.

Adrenaline Film Project
Since its launch in 2003, the Adrenaline Film Project has become an annual highlight and audience favorite at the VFF, bringing together 10-12 teams of three filmmakers to write, cast, shoot, edit, and screen their films in only 72 hours. Acclaimed filmmaker and Charlottesville native Jeff Wadlow will once again head a veteran mentor team that includes Charlottesville filmmaker Derek Sieg and noted acting coach Leigh Kilton-Smith. Mentors closely supervise each stage of production, and the process culminates in a competitive screening and award ceremony in front of a live audience at Culbreth Theatre on Saturday, November 7 at 9:30 PM

Parties and Events

The 28th Annual Virginia Film Festival offers plenty of reasons to celebrate, and some great ways to do it! Highlights of this year’s parties and events include:

  • Opening Night Gala – Thursday, November 5
    The Jefferson Theater, Downtown Mall – doors open at 9:30 PM (21 and over event)

Come celebrate the excitement of opening night following our special screening of I Saw the Light, and toast the Festival weekend with beverages, light buffet refreshments, and live big band music while mixing and mingling with special guests and VFF friends and supporters. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are $75.00 per person.

  • Late Night Wrap Party – Saturday, November 7
    Main Street Arena, Downtown Mall – 10:00 PM (21 and over event)

Close out the 2015 Virginia Film Festival in style at this annual highlight event. It’s a great way to connect with filmmakers, VFF special guests, and fellow film fans in a fun and festival atmosphere. Tickets to the Late Night Wrap Party are $35.00 per person.
For a full schedule and complete information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org. Tickets will go on sale Friday, October 2 online, in-person at the U.Va. Arts Box Office (at Culbreth Theatre), and via phone at 434-924-3376.  The 2015 VFF Press Kit can be accessed at virginiafilmfestival.org/presskit/.

The 2015 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Virginia Film Office, Violet Crown, and Wells Fargo.

VFF Announces Launch of Applications for 12th Annual Adrenaline

Virginia Film Festival Announces Launch of Applications for 12th Annual Adrenaline Film Project

Adrenaline Co-Founder And Charlottesville Native Son Jeff Wadlow Returns As Lead Mentor With Returning Guest Mentors Derek Sieg and Leigh Kilton-Smith

Popular 72-Hour Filmmaking Project Culminates In Special Screening on Saturday, November 7

Charlottesville, VA – September 22, 2015 – The Virginia Film Festival is preparing to deliver its annual highly-caffeinated dose of energy and excitement with the launch of applications for its popular Adrenaline Film Project.

The Virginia Film Festival, coming up from November 5-8 at venues throughout Charlottesville, is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

Now in its 12thh year, the Adrenaline Film Project is a 72-hour guerrilla filmmaking adventure in which 10-12 teams made of up of filmmakers from throughout the region pitch, write, cast, shoot, edit, and screen their own 5-7 minute films with guidance from acclaimed guest mentors.

This year’s mentors will once again include AFP co-founder, noted filmmaker and Charlottesville native Jeff Wadlow, along with Charlottesville-based filmmaker Derek Sieg and acclaimed acting coach Leigh Kilton-Smith. The mentors work closely with each team throughout the process, and the project concludes with a competitive screening and awards ceremony before a live audience at Culbreth Theatre on Saturday, November 7 at 9:00 PM.

In addition to working with the Adrenaline Film Project mentors, Adrenaline filmmakers often have the opportunity to interact with and learn from high profile VFF guests. In past years, Adrenaline film sets have been visited by legendary director Norman Jewison (In the Heat of the Night), film and television producer Mark Johnson (The Chronicles of Narnia, Breaking Bad), Brad Silberling (Director, Lemony Snicket), Ron Yerxa (Producer, Little Miss Sunshine), and many more.

For information about how to apply to be part of the 2015 Adrenaline Film Project, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/adrenaline/.  Submissions are due by 5:00 PM on Friday, October 16. We will notify selected participants on Friday, October 23.

Actors and composers can also participate in this year’s Adrenaline Film Project. Arvold Casting will manage a database of available actors and host an Actors Meet and Greet on Tuesday, November 3.  Interested composers can sign up to participate by completing the 2015 Composer Form.  For information on both opportunities, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/adrenaline/.

The 2015 Adrenaline Film Project is presented by Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company and supported by U.Va. Arts Council, Resolution Rentals, U.Va. Robertson Media Center, and Virginia Production Alliance.

The full schedule for the 2015 Virginia Film Festival will be announced on September 29 and tickets go on sale October 2. For more information, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.

The 2015 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Virginia Film Office, Violet Crown, and Wells Fargo.

VFF Announces 2015 Family Day Events and YFA Changes

VFF Announces 2015 Family Day Events. 

Festival To Present Program of Pixar Short Films and 20th Anniversary Screening of Babe Along With Series of Interactive Arts Workshops Featuring
U.Va. and Community Arts Professionals

New Partnership Announced with Light House Studio to Enhance Young Filmmakers Academy Program with In-School Workshops by Light House Mentors

Family Day to be Held Saturday, November 7 on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at the University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA – September 10, 2015 – The Virginia Film Festival has announced plans for its annual Family Day festivities, held Saturday, November 7 on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at the University of Virginia.

The Virginia Film Festival, scheduled for November 5-8, is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

Part of the Festival’s Outreach & Education Program, the VFF’s Family Day is an annual highlight that features family-friendly screenings, interactive arts workshops led by U.Va. and local arts professionals, and screenings of films made by as many as 600 local students in the VFF’s Young Filmmakers Academy.

All Family Day events are free and open to the public!

This year’s screenings will begin at 10:00 AM in the Culbreth Theatre with a program of Pixar Short Films, followed by the return of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia’s Musical Instrument Petting Zoo, a chance for youngsters to see, touch, and hear a variety of instruments in the Helms Theatre. And while we are on the subject of zoos…the Festival has announced that it will present a free, 20th anniversary screening of the classic family film Babe at the Culbreth Theatre at 1:00 PM.

Between screenings, families can explore an outdoor interactive arts festival, featuring demonstrations, activities, performances, and more. Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection will be on site with a hands-on flipbook animation activity, and the Fralin Museum of Art will screen student films from their Early Visions workshop. For more information on the events planned for the 2015 VFF Family Day, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/familyday/.

Hundreds of local students will once again get their turns in the VFF spotlight this year, thanks to the popular Young Filmmakers Academy (YFA). Designed to engage students in authentic film production, YFA works with local schools to create teams that write, edit, and produce films built around a common challenge. For more information on this year’s challenge, “Silver Screens, & Silver Linings,” visit virginiafilmfestival.org/yfa/.

This year, VFF officials are proud to announce a new partnership with Light House Studio that will bring Light House mentors into the classrooms at participating schools and offering workshops on various aspects of the filmmaking process. “Light House Studio does an extraordinary job of sharing the magic of filmmaking with young people in our community,” said VFF Director and U.Va. Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa, “and we couldn’t be happier to be partnering with them to make our acclaimed YFA program even better.”

For more information on Light House Studio, visit lighthousestudio.org.

Also returning this year are the Family Day Arts Workshops, a series of events throughout the day that allow young people to learn from and interact with leading arts professionals from the University and its surrounding community. All Arts Workshops will be free and open to the public, but require advance registration. This year’s workshops will include:

  • Make-up Effects by Light House Studio
  • Speak Shakespeare Like a Pro! by Kate Burke, U.Va. Drama
  • What’s That Sound? Music in Movies – How the Tune Sets the Tone by Dave “Professor Be Bop” Rogers, WTJU 91.1
  • What Do You See When You See Me? On-Camera Workshop by Jon Emm, The Actor’s Training Studio with Jon Emm
  • Auditioning for the Camera by Mendy St. Ours, Live Arts
  • Where Will You Go? Creative Theatre Workshop  by Les Rorick, U.Va. Drama
  • Story Building: Out of the Box Thinking for Storytellers by Cady Garey, U.Va. Drama

For a complete schedule and registration information for this year’s workshops, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/workshops/

Family Day is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s acclaimed Community Outreach & Education Program, which also includes annual School Screenings that draw up to 1,000 local and regional students; the ACTION! The VFF’s High School Director Competition; the Adrenaline Film Project; and the Digital Media Gallery, which features experimental works by U.Va. and local high school students, presented at Charlottesville’s  Second Street Gallery.

The VFF’s Outreach and Education Program is generously supported by the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band in the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation (CACF) and The Sarah Lahr Educational Fund. Family Day is supported by the Office of Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts, Charlottesville Newsplex, and Lite Rock Z95.1. ACTION! The VFF’s High School Director Competition is presented by the Virginia Film Office.

The full schedule for the 2015 Virginia Film Festival will be announced on September 29. For more information, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.

The 2015 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Virginia Film Office, Violet Crown, and Wells Fargo.

 

VFF to Welcome Critic Leonard Maltin as Part of the Library of Congress Series

VFF to Welcome Critic Leonard Maltin as Part of the Library of Congress Series Highlighting National Film Registry 

Festival Announces Partnership with Violet Crown Charlottesville That Will Offer VFF Audiences First Look at New Downtown Cinema and Restaurant and Serve as 2015 VFF Headquarters

2015 Virginia Film Festival Set for November 5-8 in Charlottesville

Legendary Film Critic Leonard Maltin
Legendary Film Critic Leonard Maltin

Charlottesville, VA – August 18, 2015 – The Virginia Film Festival made two major announcements at its annual “Stakeholders” event, held this evening at The Local in Charlottesville.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

Festival officials announced that legendary film historian and critic Leonard Maltin will be a special guest at this year’s Festival. Maltin, a member of the National Film Preservation Group, which serves as a public advisory group to the Librarian of Congress, will act as a guest programmer for the VFF’s popular Library of Congress Series, which celebrates films found on the National Film Registry. He will also host of a number of screenings and discussions during the Festival and work with Festival staff to bring in special guests related to those programs. f .

Leonard Maltin is known to millions for his regular segment on the syndicated television show Entertainment Tonight. He is also featured regularly on the Starz cable network and hosts his own syndicated radio program Leonard Maltin on Video. As an author, he is best known for Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, which has been published every year since 1969 and features constantly updated film synopses and trivia. Maltin has also penned several other highly-acclaimed works including Behind the Camera, a study of the art of cinematography; The Whole Film Sourcebook, Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia, and Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Mr. Maltin, who is perhaps the preeminent critic in the film industry today,” said Virginia Film Festival Director Jody Kielbasa. “His involvement serves to further expand what is an outstanding partnership with The Library of Congress and dovetails perfectly with our mission of offering new perspectives on classic films.”

Kielbasa also announced a new partnership between the Festival and the new Violet Crown Cinema on the Downtown Mall. Violet Crown Charlottesville will open to VFF audiences on November 5, 2015 and will serve as the primary host venue for the 2015 Virginia Film Festival, and the site of this year’s Festival Headquarters and Box Office, which opens on Wednesday, October  28.

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Violet Crown Charlottesville to Open to VFF Audiences on November 5, 2015.

“We are pleased to partner with the Virginia Film Festival and to offer the Festival audiences the very first experience of all that Violet Crown Cinemas has to offer the Charlottesville community,” said Bill Banowsky, principal owner of Violet Crown Cinemas.  “The Festival is an ideal representation of the wide range of programming options that we will bring to Charlottesville, and we look forward to working with Jody Kielbasa and his team to explore opportunities to work together both during and beyond the Festival for many years to come.”

Violet Crown Charlottesville is the third Violet Crown Cinema location, joining Violet Crown Austin, which opened in April of 2011, and Violet Crown Santa Fe, which opened in May of this year. Featuring a 10-screen, state-of-the-art cinema presenting quality independent, foreign, documentary, and blockbuster films, Violet Crown Charlottesville is designed to raise the bar for what customers should expect from a night at the movies by combining best-in-industry viewing experiences with a quality food and beverage experience. Violet Crown Charlottesville’s food and beverage offerings are presented alongside traditional concessions and highlighted by chef prepared, locally sourced entrees and a full bar with 36 rotating taps offering the very best local beer, wine, and cider, plus signature cocktails. All food and drinks can be enjoyed comfortably in Violet Crown Charlottesville’s full service sit down restaurant, in its upstairs lounge overlooking the Downtown Mall, or in any of its comfortable, state-of-the-art auditoriums, where each cinema seat includes a custom-built retractable tray to accommodate in-cinema dining.

The 2015 Virginia Film Festival is scheduled for November 5-8 in Charlottesville. The complete program announcement is scheduled for September 29. For more information, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

The 2015 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Virginia Film Office, Violet Crown, and Wells Fargo.

 

‘Moonlight Movies’ Film Series Launches

VFF to Launch ‘Moonlight Movies’ Free Outdoor Film Series on Friday, June 26 with Xanadu at Champion Brewery Company 

Series To Continue Throughout Summer With Lineup Including
The Sandlot, Back to the Future and The Endless Summer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – June 16, 2015 – The Virginia Film Festival is taking to the great outdoors this summer to present Moonlight Movies, a series of free screenings at locations throughout the Charlottesville area.

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

All VFF Moonlight Movies screenings are free and open to the public, and will begin at sundown (approximately 8:30 p.m.).

The series launches on Friday, June 26 with a screening of Xanadu at Champion Brewing Company. The campy cult classic 1980 musical fantasy stars Olivia Newton John and Gene Kelly and features music by John as well as Electric Light Orchestra. The film is being presented in partnership with the Live Arts production of the musical, which opens on July 17. Xanadu is the story of down-on-his-luck painter Sonny, who decides to change his fortunes by building a roller rink with the help of his mythological muse (John) and an entertainer-turned-construction magnate (Kelly) whom she had inspired decades earlier. Food from Two Brothers Southwestern Grill will be available for purchase before and during the screening. Champion will also have a special, one-night-only cask to pour at the bar, and will be releasing their Biere de Mars in bottles that day.

The next night, Saturday, July 27, the Festival will partner with the Charlottesville Tom Sox to take you out to the ballgame with a screening of the baseball-themed family favorite The Sandlot.  The 1993 coming-of-age story, presented at C-VILLE Weekly Ballpark at Charlottesville High School, will follow that evening’s Tom Sox-Front Royal Cardinals game. Game tickets are available at the door, and you can learn more at www.tomsox.com.

On Saturday, July 11, Marty McFly and Doc will fire up the DeLorean all over again with a special screening of the beloved comedy classic Back to the Future at Old Trail Village Center in Crozet. Grit Cafe Crozet will be expanding their outdoor patio seating for the night, and they will set up an outdoor stand with beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks, snacks, ice-cream, and more for purchase.

Finally, on Friday, August 7, the series will return to Champion Brewing Company to present the mind-blowing sights and sounds of the 1966 surf film classic The Endless Summer. The Bruce Brown documentary, known for its gorgeous footage and The Sandals’ twangy surf rock soundtrack, follows a pair of surfers who “chase“ summer all over the globe, traveling to the coasts of Australia, New Zealand , South Africa, Tahiti, and Hawaii in a search for the ever-elusive perfect wave.

Announcements regarding possible weather-related cancellations for the series will be made through the Virginia Film Festival’s website and social media channels.

The VFF Moonlight Movies series is sponsored by the AV Company and C-VILLE Weekly.

The Virginia Film Festival returns to Charlottesville for its 28th year from November 5-8, 2015. For complete Festival information, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

2015 Call for Entries Now Open

Virginia Film Festival Announces 2015 Call for Entries 

Filmmakers Invited to Submit Features, Documentaries and Short Films – Free For Virginia Residents and Students at Virginia Schools

Charlottesville, VA – March 26, 2015 – The Virginia Film Festival has announced the launch of its 2015 Call for Entries, inviting filmmakers from around the state, region, and throughout the world to submit feature films, documentaries, shorts, animation, and experimental works for consideration for the upcoming Festival. The 2015 Virginia Film Festival is scheduled for November 5-8 in Charlottesville.

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

“As the Festival has continued to grow in stature, including a record-breaking 2014 that saw us break box office records by an astonishing 46%, we have increased our commitment to bringing in emerging filmmakers and sharing new voices and talents with our audience,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the VFF and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “Our Call for Entries is a great way to cast this net even wider net for our Programmer Wesley Harris and myself to find and present exciting new work,” Kielbasa said. “We look forward to another outstanding crop of films and artists this year to add to a program that has earned an increasingly strong reputation each year for its quality and its depth.”

This year filmmakers can make their submissions online at www.virginiafilmfestival.org. Once again, Virginia residents and students at Virginia schools are eligible to have their entry fees waived. The fees for non-Virginia filmmakers submitting by the regular deadline of July 24 will be $35 for features and $15 for shorts. Those submitting by the extended deadline of August 21 may do so for $50 for features and $25 for shorts. The fee for students outside of Virginia to submit a film is $10.

The notification date for filmmakers will be September 25.

For complete submission guidelines visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org or contact VFF Programmer Wesley Harris at wesleyharris@virginia.edu or 434-243-6830.

The Virginia Film Festival will announce its complete 2015 program on September 29. For more information, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

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/.

VFF Programming Staff Goes to Sundance

 

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It’s official… Programming for the 2015 Virginia Film Festival has begun!

Our Director Jody Kielbasa and Programmer Wesley Harris are bundled up in snowy Park City, attending the 2015 Sundance Film Festival! Be sure to follow the VFF on Instagram (@vafilmfest) this week as Wes and Jody take over our account and give us all a behind the scenes look at their trip.

VFF Announces 2014 Audience and Programmer’s Awards

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VFF Announces 2014 Audience and Programmer’s Awards

What We Do in the Shadows Takes Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

How I Got Over Earns Best Documentary Honors

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – November 19, 2014 – The Virginia Film Festival has announced the winners of its Audience and Programmer’s Awards for the recently completed record-breaking 2014 VFF.

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

Earning top honors in the Audience Award category of Best Narrative Feature was What We Do in the Shadows, the vampire mockumentary from Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords, and Taika Waititi.

The full list of 2014 VFF Audience Award winners includes:

Narrative Feature: What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi)
Narrative Short: Waking Marshall Walker (Bjorn Thorstad, Gabriel Baron)
Documentary Feature: How I Got Over (Nicole Boxer)
Documentary Short: 28ft Deep (Mandy Giampaolo)

“Our Audience Award winners this year are reflective of our deep and diverse program, as well as of our deeply engaged, passionate and knowledgeable audience,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the VFF and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “Each of these films is compelling in very different ways, and together, they provide a perfect snapshot of the festival experience that VFF Programmer Wesley Harris and I are seeking to create, and the kind of festival experience our audiences are enjoying in record numbers.”

In addition, Kielbasa said, the Audience Awards celebrate a film with deep U.Va. connections.  “Waking Marshall Walker was made by Thom Canalichio and Giorgio Litt, both graduates of the University, and stars Sarah Drew, another grad, who currently stars in Grey’s Anatomy on ABC,” Kielbasa said. “And the title role of the film is brilliantly played by U.Va. acting professor Richard Warner, with whom they all studied here.” Kielbasa added that Mandy Giampaolo, the filmmaker behind Documentary Short Audience Award-winner 28ft Deep, is also a recent U.Va. grad. Her film uses a variety of film stock and formats in exploring the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Giampaolo’s Gulf Coast hometown.

Once again this year, Kielbasa and Harris saluted additional films with the Programmer’s Award, including:

Narrative Feature:  Animals (Collin Schiffli)
Narrative Short: Sure Thing (Deborah Reinisch)
Documentary Feature: Big Moccasin (Andrew Moynehan, Chelsea Moynehan)
Documentary Short: Field Notes (Vashti Harrison)

“With the Programmer’s Awards, we’re shining a light on a handful of stellar films from this year’s program that we’re proud and humbled to have given a platform,” Harris said. “These filmmakers are sharing stories and making art outside the boundaries of the expected, which only benefits us as an audience. These are names to remember – you’ll be seeing them again.”

The Programmer’s Awards also feature a nod to the ever-growing Virginia film scene, as well as another U.Va. connection, Harris said. “Big Moccasin is a compelling and peculiar look at Appalachian life through the lives of a handful of people living along a 25-mile stretch of Big Moccasin Road in Southwest Virginia. Finally, our Programmer’s Award for short documentary went to U.Va. grad Vashti Harrison for her outstanding experimental essay film Field Notes.”

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

The 2014 Virginia Film Festival was generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Ader and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), Regal Entertainment Group, the Virginia Film Office, and Wells Fargo.

2014 VFF SMASHES ALL-TIME SALES RECORDS

VFF 2014- Opening Night_JL

27th Annual Virginia Film Festival Smashes All-Time Sales Records

2014 Festival Earned $174,946 in Box Office Sales – An Increase of 45.6% Over 2013 Record

Record 28,609 Tickets Issued and 41 Sold Out Screenings

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA– November 12, 2014 – The recently-completed 2014 Virginia Film Festival  took the Festival’s recent string of record-breaking success to a whole new level, smashing its previous box office record, set last year, by a remarkable 45.6 % and setting a new record for tickets issued in the process.

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

Festival officials announced today that the 2014 VFF set all-time marks at the box office, coming in at $174,946. The 2013 Festival held the previous mark of $120,000.

In addition, the VFF set a new all-time record of 28,609 tickets issued. The weekend also featured 41 sold out screenings.

“By every conceivable measure, this was a historic Virginia Film Festival,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “We are obviously thrilled with the record-breaking numbers and with the extraordinarily positive feedback we heard throughout the weekend.  I really believe that this year represented a seismic shift in terms of our impact on this community. Everywhere you went throughout the weekend, there was a palpable energy and an unwavering level of enthusiasm around the screenings and around the Festival as a whole, and the clear sense that the Festival has reached another level in its development, and is poised for even bigger things.”

That energy extended far beyond Charlottesville, Kielbasa added. “We had a board member of ours tell us that she was getting on a train in Penn Station in New York and started a conversation about the Festival, only to find that several people around her were heading here too. This just speaks to the rapidly increasing profile of the Festival throughout our community, our region, and beyond, not to mention throughout the film industry.”

The Festival’s screening of Big Stone Gap helped to set the tone for the weekend, Kielbasa said. “That was a landmark event  for us in that it represented a sort of perfect storm that showcased a film made in Virginia, by a Virginian, and about Virginia, the presence of its cast members, and of Governor Terry McAuliffe and three of his former gubernatorial predecessors, including Senator Tim Kaine, Linwood Holton and Gerald Baliles, who was of course instrumental in founding the Festival 27 years ago. The excitement only built from there, thanks in part to an extraordinary guest list that included everyone from Hal Holbrook to Frank Langella to Richard Roundtree, Katie Couric and more, all of whom gave our audiences unforgettable moments.”

What was equally remarkable, and extremely gratifying, Kielbasa said, was the way that enthusiasm was spread throughout the Festival’s entire program of more than 120 films.  “Thanks in part to the efforts of our Festival Programmer Wesley Harris, who once again did a remarkable job this year, we heard from, and continue to hear from countless patrons and filmmakers about the remarkable depth and breadth of our program.”

Adding to that allure he said, was the record number of filmmakers the Festival brought to Charlottesville this year. “This year our increased emphasis on bringing in filmmakers at all stages of their careers resulted in our hosting more than 150 filmmakers, actors and other industry guests at the Festival.  In addition to sharing these new voices and talents with our audiences, this also builds excitement and momentum for the Festival as these people see and experience all we have to offer, from the scope of the program to the professionalism with which the entire Festival is presented. We received incredibly positive feedback from these filmmakers throughout the weekend and continue to hear from them about how amazed they were by the whole experience.”

The 2014 Virginia Film Festival was generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Ader and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), Regal Entertainment Group, the Virginia Film Office, and Wells Fargo.

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

ACTRESS ASHLEY JUDD JOINS STELLAR GUEST LINEUP AT 2014 VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL

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Actress Ashley Judd Joins Stellar Guest Lineup at 2014 Virginia Film Festival

Judd to join fellow castmates including Patrick Wilson, Jenna Elfman, and Jasmine Guy for Opening Night world premiere of Big Stone Gap

Festival Organizers Announce That Limited Number of Opening Night Big Stone Gap Tickets Will Go On Sale On Thursday, October 30 at noon

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 29, 2014 – Virginia Film Festival organizers announced today that actress Ashley Judd will appear at its opening night world premiere screening of her upcoming film Big Stone Gap. She will join fellow cast mates including Patrick Wilson, Jenna Elfman, and Jasmine Guy along with writer/director and bestselling author Adriana Trigiani and Academy Award™-winning- producer Donna Gigliotti for a discussion that will follow the film.

The Virginia Film Festival, presented by the University of Virginia, is coming up from November 6-9 at a variety of venues on the Grounds of the University, downtown and beyond, and will feature more than 100 films over four days.

The Festival has also announced that a limited number of tickets to the sold out opening night screening will go on sale on Thursday, October 30 at noon at the Festival Headquarters Box Office at the Main Street Arena on the Downtown Mall. The Big Stone Gap tickets will be available in-person at the Main Street Arena box office location only and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis – limit 2 tickets per person. Tickets will not be available by phone, online, or at the U.Va. Arts Box Office.

The Festival Headquarters Box Office opens on Wednesday, October 29 at noon and will remain open through the Festival. Hours are noon to 6:00 p.m. from Monday through Saturday and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. For complete ticket information for the Festival visit http://virginiafilmfestival.org/tickets/.

“We are very excited to welcome Ashley Judd to the Festival and to what promises to be a really exciting opening night world premiere of Big Stone Gap,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Vice Provost for the Arts at U.Va. “She is truly extraordinary in this film and I know our audience will love to see and hear from her.”

Big Stone Gap, written and directed by Big Stone Gap native Adriana Trigiani and based on her bestselling novel, stars Judd as Ave Maria Mulligan, the town’s self-proclaimed spinster who lives with her mother, runs the local pharmacy and directs the town’s outdoor drama. Her quiet life is suddenly thrown off course when she discovers a long-buried family secret that changes her life forever. Before she can even blink, Ave is fielding marriage proposals, fighting off greedy family members, organizing a celebration for visiting celebrities and planning a life-changing trip.

Ashley Judd joins an outstanding guest lineup at the 2014 Virginia Film Festival that includes Hal Holbrook, Barry Levinson, Frank Langella, Richard Roundtree and Katie Couric.

The 2014 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Ader and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), Regal Entertainment Group, the Virginia Film Office, and Wells Fargo.

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival or to get your tickets today, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

VFF Announces 2014 Program of Films, Events, and Special Guests

Virginia Film Festival to return to Charlottesville November 6-9 with more than 100 films and stellar lineup of special guests including Hal Holbrook, Jenna Elfman, Barry Levinson, Frank Langella, Richard Roundtree, Katie Couric, Patrick Wilson, and Jasmine Guy

2014 Festival To Open with World Premiere of Virginia-Themed and Made Big Stone Gap And Feature Live Performance of Legendary Actor Hal Holbrook’s Enduring One-Man Show Mark Twain Tonight!

Wide-Ranging Program To Include Top Festival Circuit Titles Wild, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, and Mr. Turner – Plus Dynamic New Discoveries, Powerful Documentaries, Timeless Classics

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 7, 2014 – The 2014 Virginia Film Festival lineup will return to Charlottesville from November 6-9, highlighted by a diverse program array of more than 100 films and a stellar lineup of special guests highlighted by Hal Holbrook, Jenna Elfman, Frank Langella, Patrick Wilson, Barry Levinson, Katie Couric, Richard Roundtree, and Jasmine Guy.

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

“Once again this year, I think we have an incredibly strong program of films that entertain and engage us in addition to inspiring important dialog around the issues we face every single day,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “We are thrilled to welcome an extraordinary lineup of special guests who include all-time acting and directing greats, some of today’s most talented actors, leading cultural figures and personalities, and the largest collection of filmmakers we have ever brought in for the Festival.”

Opening Night Film: Big Stone Gap
This year’s Virginia Film Festival will officially kick off on Thursday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. with the World Premiere of Big Stone Gap, filmed on location in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and based on the popular series of books by noted author and Big Stone Gap native Adriana Trigiani. The film stars Ashley Judd as the small town’s self-appointed middle-age spinster who keeps countless secrets before discovering one of her own that will change her life forever. The Festival is excited to welcome Big Stone Gap screenwriter and director, bestselling author Adriana Trigiani, along with cast members Patrick Wilson, Jenna Elfman, and Jasmine Guy. “We are thrilled to be able to share this world premiere of a film that was made in Virginia,” Kielbasa said, “by Big Stone Gap native Adriana Trigiani, and a film that so wonderfully celebrates the Commonwealth’s unique spirit and natural beauty. It all combines to make this a perfect choice for our opening night, and we are looking forward to a truly special evening.”

Centerpiece Film: 5 to 7
The Festival’s primetime Saturday evening slot has long been home to exciting new films, and the tradition continues this year with 5 to 7, the tale of a “cinq-a-sept” romance, and love’s power to conquer even the most insurmountable of obstacles. The film will be followed by a discussion with special guest Frank Langella, who will be joined by the film’s director Victor Levin along with U.Va. grad Julie Lynn and her Mockingbird Pictures partner Bonnie Curtis, producers of the film.

Closing Night Film: Dead Poets Society
The Virginia Film Festival will offer a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most iconic films of the last quarter century as it celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Dead Poets Society. The screening will be followed by a discussion with its producer, U.Va. alum Paul Junger Witt, and its screenwriter Tom Schulman, who won an Academy Award® for the film. Dead Poets Society, which has won over generations of fans since premiering in 1989, has further increased in popularity recently due to the tragic loss of Robin Williams, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance as transformative teacher John Keating.

Special Event – Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight!
The VFF is proud to welcome one of America’s most treasured actors, Hal Holbrook, who will give a live theatrical performance of his signature one-man-show Mark Twain Tonight! at The Paramount Theater on Friday evening. Then, on Saturday afternoon, the 89-year-old actor will join director Scott Teems to present the acclaimed documentary Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey. Holbrook first played Mark Twain as part of an honors project at Denison University after World War II. Today it is perhaps the longest-running show in theatre history. This year marks his 60th consecutive year performing Mark Twain Tonight!, for which he won a Tony® Award. In 2014, Holbrook will give his 2,298th performance in the role, and continues to change the show, mining over 20 hours of material to fit the times.

Barry Levinson – The Natural and The Humbling
Barry Levinson, one of the most popular directors of the modern movie era thanks to hit films including Diner, Rain Man, Bugsy, Good Morning Vietnam, and others, will come to the Festival for the first time to present a 25th Anniversary screening of The Natural on Sunday at The Paramount Theater. In addition, Levinson will offer a sneak peek at his latest directorial effort, The Humbling, which stars Al Pacino.

Katie Couric – Fed Up
University of Virginia grad Katie Couric returns to her alma mater to present and discuss this powerful documentary on America’s runaway childhood obesity epidemic. Couric narrates the film, which she co-executive produced with Laurie David (An Inconvenient Truth). Fed Up features interviews with food and nutrition experts and heartbreaking first-person interviews with children on its way to taking on the powerful “Big Sugar” lobby and questioning many of the basic “truths” we have been told about food and nutrition for the past 30 years.

Spotlight Screenings
BuzzardDirector Joel Potrykus will present his dark comedy about a horror metal slacker who flees a dead end temp job to hide out in a friend’s basement, armed with a pile of pilfered bogus checks and a nasty temper.

Dumb and Dumber ToJeff Daniels and Jim Carrey are back…and dumber than ever…in this sequel that picks up twenty years from the time we first met their dimwitted duo, and the boys are on a quest to find their long lost children in hopes of finding a kidney.

Fishing Without Nets – This affecting film from director Cutter Hodierne won Best Director honors at Sundance this year and tells the story of a young Somali pirate from the perspective of the pirates themselves.

Foxcatcher – This powerful psychological drama tells the true story of John duPont, chillingly played by Steve Carell, a deeply troubled man who lures Olympic hopeful wrestler Dave Schultz (Channing Tatum) to live and train with him. It was a move that would have tragic repercussions.

HellionBreaking Bad star Aaron Paul stars in this disturbing, powerful and authentic story about a fractured family’s response to a 13-year-old boy’s spiraling out of control. The film, directed by Kat Candler, was one of the most talked-about films at Sundance this year.

The Imitation Game – Benedict Cumberbatch is earning significant Oscar talk as mathematician Alan Turing whose status as a war hero, earned by leading a team that cracked the German Enigma Code and shortened World War II, is destroyed by revelations about his personal lifestyle and the unenlightened reactions of his countrymen.

Low Down –Directed by Jeff Preiss, the film looks at the life of celebrated jazz pianist Joe Albany through the eyes of his young daughter Amy Jo Albany, who wrote the memoir recounting his battle with a drug addiction in the 1970’s and 80’s on which the film is based.

Mommy – Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s emotionally-charged story of a widowed single mom trying to manage her explosive 15-year-old ADHD son and a neighbor whose unexpected support adds an unexpected sense of stability, and ultimately, hope, to their lives. The film shared the 2014 Jury Prize at Cannes with Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language, which will also be featured at the VFF this year.

Mr. Turner – Filmmaker Mike Leigh turns his unblinking and improvisational focus to the last 25 years of eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner, whose complicated life and relationships make him at once loved and reviled by the art world, the public, and royalty.

Shaft – Part of a larger tribute to the famed photographer and film director Gordon Parks, this special screening of the film that introduced true cool to the 70’s will be followed by a discussion with its star, Richard Roundtree.

Wild – Reese Witherspoon is earning significant Oscar® buzz for her performance as author Cheryl Strayed, who sets out on a grueling thousand-plus-mile hike along the Pacific Trail in an attempt to heal herself from the loss of her mother, a divorce, and years of self-destructive behavior.

Documentary Films
Alive Inside
– This stirring film follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.

All Fall Down – Filmmaker Emily Topper looks back at her family’s complex reaction to her grandfather’s violent murder in Baltimore in 1972 in a first-person, close-to-the-bone treatment of the incident and its racially-charged aftermath. The film will be presented by its executive producer, VFF Advisory Board Member Ron Yerxa.

Gray Matters – Marco Orsini’s captivating documentary presents the story of Eileen Gray, the 20th century artist whose vision, imagination, and sensibility changed the way we live with furniture and within houses.

The Hip Hop Fellow – This film follows the Grammy Award winning producer 9th Wonder’s tenure at Harvard University as he teaches ‘The Standards of Hip Hop’ course, conducts research for his thesis, and explores hip-hop’s history, culture and role in academia.

How I Got Over – Filmmaker Nicole Boxer’s moving film follows 15 formerly homeless and/or incarcerated women as they craft an original play, based on their harrowing life stories, to be performed one-night only at The Kennedy Center.

Out in the Night – Blair Dorosh-Walther tells the story of four young African-American lesbians in New York City fight back when they are sexually threatened by a man on the street, then are tried and convicted in the courts and the media as a ‘Gang of Killer Lesbians.’

This Time Next Year – Director Jeff Reichert (who screened his documentary Remote Area Medical at the Festival in 2013), returns with co-director Farihah Zaman to present this moving look at the devastation Hurricane Sandy brought to Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Spotlight on Virginia Filmmaking
“It seems like each year we receive more films, and more impressive films, that highlight Virginia filmmaking, and by that I mean films that were either made in Virginia, or by filmmakers with distinct Virginia ties or roots,” said VFF Programmer Wesley Harris. “This year’s crop of Virginia films was exceptionally strong, and we are proud to be able to highlight their work.”

This year’s Virginia Filmmaking lineup includes:

A Winding StreamThis music-filled documentary traces the influential musical and personal arc of the legendary Carter family from, their early days in Southwestern Virginia to their famed intersection with Johnny Cash and their efforts to add to their musical legacy today.

Big Moccasin – Directed by Virginia native Andrew Moynehan and Chelsea Moynehan, the film explores the meaning of life in the mountains, from the varied perspectives of the individual characters to the universal, unified knowledge and love for the mountain way of life.

Big Significant Things – Director Bryan Reisberg’s road trip movie earned raves at SXSW, and focuses on what happens when a man lies to his girlfriend in order to take a southern road trip that culminates right here in the Commonwealth.

From Grain to Growler – A documentary focusing on the explosion of the craft beer culture in Virginia.

Goodish – Filmmaker Amanda Patterson’s story of a couple who take their previously platonic relationship physical only to face up to an interrogation by prying friends that makes them wonder if their friendship will ever be the same.

Hot Air – A special work-in-progress screening of the new film Hot Air by Charlottesville filmmaker Derek Sieg and producing partner Jeremy Goldstein.

Wish You Well – Bestselling author David Baldacci will present and discuss this adaptation of his 1940’s coming of age story about a young girl who moves with her brother from New York to a Virginia farm following a family tragedy and discovers truths about her family and herself in the process.

Library of Congress Series
For the fourth year, the Festival is partnering with the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia to present a series of films celebrating the National Film Registry. This year’s lineup includes Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb [1964], which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year; Gordon Parks’ The Learning Tree [1969]; and Shaft [1971], which honor Parks and his legacy in American cinema and photography; Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant (1917); and The Wizard of Oz [1939], the quintessential musical fantasy film which will be the screened as part of our Family Day festivities this year.

International Films
Las Maestras de la Republica
(Spain)Director Pilar Pérez Solano’s acclaimed documentary celebrates a group of women in Spain who bravely fought to bring down the walls between male and female students, only to have their efforts destroyed by the Civil War that started in 1936.

20,000 Days on Earth (Great Britain) – Writer and musician Nick Cave marks his 20,000 day on the planet.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Iran) – In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.

Babadook (Australia) – This gripping modern suspense thriller tells of a single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, who battles with her son’s night time fear of a shadowy monster. But soon, she discovers a sinister presence is lurking in the house.

Futuro Beach (Brazil/Germany) – Short after facing the failure of an attempt to rescue a drowning man, Donato meets Konrad, friend of the victim. Motivated by the circumstances, Donato decides to begin a new life in Berlin, but pieces of his past are coming after him.

Girlhood (France) – A complex look at the America’s justice system, the film follows two female inmates – victims of horrific violence and tragedy who are serving time in a Maryland juvenile detention center.

Level Five (France) – From filmmaker Chris Marker, whose Le Joli Mai was a favorite of last year’s VFF, comes Level Five, comes this story of a video game designer and his work on a WW II themed project. The film was first released in 1997, and is just now available for the first time in the United States.

Poison Pen (Ireland)From writer Irish writer Eoin Colfer of the internationally bestselling Artemis Fowl book series comes this frothy tale of a washed up author forced to join the ranks of common gossip writers.

Run Boy Run (Germany/Poland) – The film tells the true story of 9-year-old Jurek, who escapes from the Warsaw ghetto in 1942 and learns to survive in the nearby woods until the end of the war.

What We Do in the Shadows (New Zealand) – This dark comedy follows the lives of three roommates just trying to deal with typical life challenges – like being immortal vampires with an insatiable thirst for human blood. The film features Flight of the Conchords star Jemaine Clement.

U.Va. Center for Politics
This year, the VFF and the Center for Politics are continuing their annual collaboration with a special screening of Bombs Away: LBJ, Goldwater and the 1964 Campaign That Changed It All. This documentary, produced by the Center for Politics in conjunction with WCVE-TV, focuses on the pivotal 1964 presidential election between Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry Goldwater, and particularly on the negative campaign advertisements that many feel set the stage for the hyper-partisanship that defines American politics today. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with guests including Barry Goldwater, Jr.

The Presidency in Film Series
The Festival is again partnering with the Miller Center at the University of Virginia to examine the way Chief Executives are portrayed on the silver screen – this time with a trio of films. Frost/Nixon focuses on the famous Nixon interviews with talk show host and news personality David Frost and features Frank Langella in a memorable performance as Nixon. Langella will be on hand for a post-screening discussion with noted Nixon expert Ken Hughes of the Miller Center. 41 on 41 is a fascinating CNN documentary focusing on George H.W. Bush as a President, husband, father, grandfather and friend, in stories told by those closest to him. Joining in the panel discussion following the film will be former George H.W. Bush and Reagan Press Secretary Marlon Fitzwater and Andy Card, who served under 41 as Transportation Secretary before serving as Chief of Staff in the George W. Bush administration.

Berlin Wall
The Festival will present a special series of five films as part of the University of Virginia’s Berlin Wall Symposium, a week-long multidisciplinary exploration of the 25th Anniversary of the historic fall of the Berlin Wall. The series will include Dr. Strangelove and 41 on 41 in addition to the compelling new documentary Red Army. The film captures the compelling on and off-the-ice drama of the Soviet hockey dynasty through the story of its legendary captain Slava Fetisov, and how the team’s rise and fall mirrors that of the Soviet Union itself. The series will also include Walesa: Man of Hope, legendary Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda’s biopic tracing the rise of Nobel Prize-winner Lech Walesa ‘s Solidarity Movement in the 1970’s and the peaceful revolution he helped inspire; and Wim Wenders 1987 romantic fantasy Wings of Desire.

Family Day
Family Day returns to the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds on Saturday, November 8 with a day-long celebration for all ages, highlighted by a special 75th Anniversary screening of The Wizard of Oz at Culbreth Theatre at 10:00 a.m. A series of free film-inspired workshops will be offered throughout the day, led by U.Va. faculty, students and community organizations. Topics will include audition techniques, dance routines, make-up application and improv fun. Space is limited, and registration is available at www.virginiafilmfestival.org/workshops.

The musicians from the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia will return to Family Day this year for a “Musical Instrument Petting Zoo” at the Helms Theatre. The afternoon will bring an outdoor Interactive Arts Festival, including performance featuring U.Va. a cappella and improv groups.

And in what has become a Family Day highlight, more than 600 local students will flock to the Arts Grounds for their own red carpet moments as the Festival screens the films from its Young Filmmakers Academy in Campbell Hall.

Adding to the fun this year will be an opportunity to stop by The Fralin Museum of Art to see how Charlottesville –area youth interpret the work of Gordon Parks in film.

All Family Day events are free and open to the public, and feature complimentary and convenient parking at the Culbreth Road Garage.

School Screening – Freedom Summer
More than 1,000 local and regional middle and high school students will pack the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for the Performing Arts this year for a special screening of the documentary Freedom Summer. The film, from director Stanley Nelson, chronicles 10 memorable weeks in 1964 known as “Freedom Summer,” when more than 700 student volunteers teamed with organizers and African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states. Following the film, students will hear and participate in a panel discussion that will include legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond and be moderated by Deborah McDowell, Alice Griffin Professor in the Department of English at University of Virginia, and Director of the Carter Woodson Institute.

Digital Media Gallery
The Digital Media Gallery returns to Second Street Gallery, inside the City Center or Contemporary Arts, where it will feature video projection art and experimental films by students from acclaimed filmmaker and University of Virginia Associate Professor Art Kevin Everson’s intermediate and advanced cinematography students and from local students from the award-winning Light House Studio. The DMG will officially open with a First Friday reception on Friday, November 7 at 5:30 p.m. and will remain open through the month of November. It is free and open to the public; made possible by generous support from the University of Virginia Arts Council and The AV Company; and is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s Community Outreach & Education Program.

Adrenaline Film Project
Since its launch in 2003, the Adrenaline Film Project has become an annual highlight and audience favorite at the VFF, bringing together 10-12 teams of three filmmakers to write, cast, shoot, edit, and screen their films in only 72 hours. Acclaimed filmmaker and Charlottesville native Jeff Wadlow will once again head a veteran mentor team that includes Charlottesville filmmaker Derek Sieg and noted acting coach Leigh Kilton-Smith. Mentors closely supervise each stage of production, and the process culminates in a competitive screening and award ceremony in front of a live audience at Culbreth Theatre on Saturday, November 8 at 9:00 p.m.

Parties and Events

The 27th Annual Virginia Film Festival offers plenty of reasons to celebrate, and some great ways to do it! Highlights of this year’s parties and events include:

  • 2014 Opening Night Gala – Thursday, November 6
    The Jefferson Theater, Downtown Mall – doors open at 9:00 p.m. (21 and over event)
    Come celebrate the utter “Virginia-ness” of it all as we toast the Festival launch following the World Premiere of Big Stone Gap at the Paramount. Enjoy beverages, light buffet refreshments, and big-band music while mixing and mingling with special guests and VFF friends and supporters. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are $75.00 per person.
  • Late Night Wrap Party – Saturday, November 8
    Main Street Arena, Downtown Mall – 10:00 p.m. (21 and over event)

Nothing says “it’s a wrap” quite like this annual highlight – the perfect place to connect with filmmakers, special guests and fellow Festival fans! Tickets to the Late Night Wrap Party are $35.00.
For a full schedule and complete information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org. Tickets will go on sale Friday, October 10 via that website, in-person at the U.Va. Arts Box Office (at Culbreth Theatre), and via phone at 434-924-3376. Press images are also available at www.flickr.com/photos/virginiafilmfestival/.

 

The 2014 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Ader and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), Regal Entertainment Group, the Virginia Film Office, and Wells Fargo.

2014 Family Day and Adrenaline Film Project Plans Announced

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VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR 2014 FAMILY DAY AND LAUNCH OF APPLICATIONS FOR 11TH ANNUAL ADRENALINE FILM PROJECT

Family Day To Feature Free 75th Anniversary Screening of Wizard of Oz at Culbreth Theatre And Array of Interactive Arts Workshops Throughout U.Va. Arts Grounds

Adrenaline Co-Founder Jeff Wadlow To Be Joined By Filmmaker Derek Sieg and Acting Coach Leigh Kilton-Smith As Guest Mentors For Popular 72-Hour Guerilla Filmmaking Project

Charlottesville, VA – September 30, 2014 – The Virginia Film Festival will once again put community front and center in 2014 with the return of its highly popular Family Day and the 11th Annual Adrenaline Film Project.

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

Now in its second year on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at U.Va., the Festival’s Family Day festivities will take place on Saturday, November 8. This year’s highlights will include a free 75th Anniversary screening of The Wizard of Oz at 10:00 a.m. at Culbreth Theatre.

Once again this year, the Festival will offer a series of dynamic, interactive, and film-themed workshops led by U.Va. faculty, students, and representatives from community organizations. This year’s workshop topics will include audition techniques, dance routines, make-up application, and improv fun. Space is limited, and reservations can be made at www.virginiafilmfestival.org/workshops.

Also returning to Family Day this year is the “Musical Instrument Petting Zoo,” a hands-on musical experience hosted by the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia. The fun and entertainment continues throughout the day outside as well, thanks to an interactive Arts Festival that will feature demonstrations, activities, and performances featuring U.Va. a cappella and improv groups. More than 600 local students from Charlottesville and Albemarle County will participate in the VFF Young Filmmakers Academy, making their own films with the help of VFF mentors, then enjoying their own red carpet screening experience as part of the Family Day fun.

The Virginia Film Festival’s Family Day and Young Filmmakers Academy are part of its Outreach and Education program, which also includes the ACTION! High School Filmmaking Competition and special middle and high school screenings presented both during the Festival and throughout the year.

Since its initial launch in 2003, the Adrenaline Film Project has become an annual highlight and audience favorite at the VFF, bringing together 10-12 teams of three filmmakers to write, cast, shoot, edit, and screen their films in only 72 hours. Acclaimed filmmaker and Charlottesville native Jeff Wadlow will once again head a veteran mentor team that includes Charlottesville filmmaker Derek Sieg and noted acting coach Leigh Kilton-Smith. Mentors closely supervise each stage of production, and the process culminates in a competitive screening and award ceremony in front of a live audience at Culbreth Theatre on Saturday, November 8 at 9:00 p.m.

Applications are currently available for the 2014 Adrenaline Film Project at http://www.virginiafilmfestival.org/adrenaline/. Submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 17. Selected participant will be notified on Friday, October 24.

Adrenaline Film Project applications can be delivered to the Virginia Film Festival’s office at:

617 West Main St
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Hours: M-F 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Or materials can be mailed t:

Virginia Film Festival
ATTN: Adrenaline Film Project
PO Box 400869
Charlottesville, VA 22904

The Family Day at the 2014 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the Office of the Provost and the Vice Provost for the Arts, CenturyLink, Foxfield Racing Association, Charlottesville Newsplex, and Lite Rock Z95.1

The Virginia Film Festival’s 2014 Adrenaline Film Project is presented by Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Central Virginia and supported by the U.Va. Roberston Media Center, the U.Va. Arts Council, and the Virginia Production Alliance.

The Virginia Film Festival’s 2014 Community Outreach and Education Program is generously supported by the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band in CACF and The Sarah Lahr Educational Fund.

For more information, visit http://www.virginiafilmfestival.org/.

UVA Alum Katie Couric to Attend Virginia Film Festival

Katie Couric Coming to 2014 VFF to Present Acclaimed Documentary Fed Up

Critically Acclaimed “Film the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to See” Based on Premise That Everything We’ve Been Told About Food and Exercise for the Past 30 Years is “Dead Wrong”

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – August 19, 2014 – University of Virginia alum Katie Couric will return to Charlottesville for this year’s Virginia Film Festival to present a special screening of the acclaimed documentary Fed Up. The film, which Couric executive produced along with Laurie David (producer of An Inconvenient Truth), has been widely promoted as “the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see” and is based on the premise that everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong.

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

Using a combination of interviews with a variety of food and nutrition experts plus heartbreaking first-person tales of young people battling the runaway childhood obesity epidemic in the United States, the film takes to task the powerful corporate lobby known as “Big Sugar” as well as government agencies and representatives who failed to stop the problem before it spiraled out of control.

Fed Up (www.fedupmovie.com), narrated by Couric and written and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of this year.

“We are proud to welcome Katie Couric back to Charlottesville and to the Virginia Film Festival for the first time,” said Virginia Film Festival Director and U.Va. Vice-Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “Katie is obviously a great friend of and powerful advocate for the University, and this is a timely film with a powerful message that resonates throughout our area here just as it does throughout our nation. We look forward to the screening and to the vibrant discussion that will follow it.”

The 2014 Virginia Film Festival will take place from November 6-9 at venues throughout Charlottesville. The full program for the Festival will be announced on Tuesday, October 7, and tickets will officially go on sale on Friday, October 10.

Premiere sponsors for the 2014 Virginia Film Festival are The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), and the Virginia Film Office.

For more information, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

VFF to present science fiction/horror remake Plan 9

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VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL TO PRESENT SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR REMAKE PLAN 9 ON TUESDAY, JUNE 3 AT 7PM AT REGAL STONEFIELD

Virginia-Based Remake of 1959 Ed Wood Cult Classic Plan 9 From Outer Space To Feature Post-Screening Discussion With Director John Johnson and Members of Cast and Crew

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – May 22, 2014 – The Virginia Film Festival will present a special screening of the new science fiction/horror film Plan 9 on Tuesday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. at Regal Stonefield Stadium 14.

The film, shot in Virginia, is a remake of the Ed Wood cult classic Plan 9 From Outer Space. The screening will be followed by a discussion with its director, Charlottesville native John Johnson, and members of the cast and crew.

Tickets for the screening are free and may be reserved ahead of time through the U.Va. Arts Box Office http://tickets.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=3925 or in-person starting at 6:00 p.m. on the night of the screening.

This event is generously supported by The Shops at Stonefield and Parallel 38.

Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space, released in 1959, has lived on in the hearts and minds of science fiction aficionados ever since. The story of an alien invasion designed to wipe out the Earth’s entire population has also carved a unique reputation as one of the worst films ever made.

Director Johnson and his production company Darkstone Entertainment set out to retell the story in a more serious way, creating a character-driven piece that avoids the cringe-worthy camp that dominated the original film, and replaces it with a sincere celebration of horror and science fiction.

“We wanted to honor the original source material,” Johnson said, “but also Ed Wood’s intentions when he made Plan 9 From Outer Space. His plan was to make a very scary sci-fi/horror film, and we wanted to create a film that Wood would have enjoyed, or even made himself, if not bound by the technological limitations placed on filmmakers of his era. I feel a strong camaraderie for the man and his work, and I hope that I have followed his true intention and made a film that will be as loved by audiences today as the original was in his generation.”

“We are excited to celebrate the work of another talented Virginia filmmaker,” said VFF Director and Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa, “and we invite audiences to come see the film and hear how he and his creative team have updated one of the iconic films of its genre while remaining true to the vision of its legendary creator.”

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia.
The 27th Annual Virginia Film Festival is set for November 6-9 in Charlottesville. For more information on the VFF, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

VFF Announced 2013 Audience and Programmer’s Awards

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VFF ANNOUNCES AUDIENCE AND PROGRAMMER’S AWARDS

PHILOMENA TAKES AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE; CLAW EARNS BEST DOCUMENTARY HONORS

ACTION! High School Filmmaking Submission Voted Best Narrative Short
For Second Consecutive Year

Charlottesville, VA – November 20, 2013 – The Virginia Film Festival has announced the winners of its Audience and Programmer’s Awards for the recently completed record-breaking 2013 VFF.

Earning top honors in the Audience Award category of Best Narrative Feature was Philomena, the Stephen Frears directed drama starring Dame Judi Dench as a woman who was forced to give up her son for adoption by her Irish Catholic community decades earlier and joins forces with a BBC reporter, played by Steve Coogan, on a mission to find him.

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

The full list of 2013 VFF Audience Award winners includes:

Narrative Feature: Philomena (Stephen Frears)

Narrative Short: Awakened Eyes (Lainey Wood), also Runner Up in the VFF’s 2013 ACTION! High School Filmmaker Competition

Documentary Feature: CLAW (Brian Wimer and Billy Hunt)

Documentary Short: The Creative Proposition (Gordon Quinn)

“This year’s Audience Award winners really capture what the Virginia Film Festival is all about,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the VFF and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “In Philomena you have a film that is generating incredible buzz on the festival circuit and significant awards-season attention. We are delighted with the response to CLAW, which we were proud to feature as our Centerpiece Film and which tells a fascinating story that begins in Charlottesville and has now spread internationally. Awakened Eyes is a great example of the Festival’s exceptional Outreach and Education efforts, and of the inspiration and opportunities offered to young filmmakers in our region. The Creative Proposition represents the critical role the arts play in life at the University through its fascinating look at the multi-year residency of dance visionary Bill T. Jones.”

This year, Kielbasa and VFF Programmer Wesley Harris once again saluted their own “Best of Fest” picks with Programmer’s Award winners, including:

Narrative Feature: Blue Ruin (Jeremy Saulnier)

Documentary Feature: A Will for the Woods (Amy Browne, Tony Hale, Jeremy Kaplan, Brian Wilson)

Narrative Short: Miracle Boy (Jason Brown)

Documentary Short: Ring People (Alfredo Covelli)

“Our Closing Night film Blue Ruin, which was the first major acquisition made at Cannes this year, is a perfect example of the stellar filmmaking coming out of Virginia today,” said VFF Programmer Wes Harris. “A Will for the Woods is a measured and lyrical exploration of the Green Burial Movement, helmed by a team of skilled and thoughtful young filmmakers. Adapted from the short story by Pinckney Benedict, Miracle Boy is a moody tale of one young boy risking his life for another, and a beautiful example of the Appalachian Gothic style. Italian director Alfredo Covelli, whose previous film screened at the VFF in 2011, returned with his challenging observational documentary Ring People, which he shot while living with a homeless community in Venice Beach, CA.”

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

Premiere sponsors for the 2013 Virginia Film Festival are The AV Company, Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), Flow Audi of Charlottesville, Regal Entertainment Group, and the Virginia Film Office.

26th Annual VFF Continues Record-Shattering Streak

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26th ANNUAL VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL CONTINUES RECORD-SHATTERING STREAK WITH ALL-TIME HIGH IN TICKET SALES

2013 Festival Earned $120,156 in Box Office Sales – An Increase of 11% Over 2012

More Than 27,000 Tickets Issued; Festival Included 35 Sold Out Screenings

Charlottesville, VA – November 12, 2013 – The Virginia Film Festival kicked off its second quarter-century in record-breaking style, smashing its previous ticket sales record set during the 25th Anniversary celebration in 2012.

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

Festival officials announced today that the 2013 VFF set all-time marks at the box office, coming in at $120,156 in total sales, an increase of 11% over last year’s 25th Anniversary year. The 2013 Virginia Film Festival issued more than 27,000 tickets in all, and boasted 35 sold out screenings.

“We are delighted to share the news that this year’s Festival has once again put us in uncharted territory when it comes to ticket sales,” said VFF Director and U.Va. Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “It is a credit not only to the hard work of our staff and volunteers, but also to the extraordinarily supportive and culturally engaged members of this community, who year after year come out in force to enjoy and interact with the Festival on so many levels and in so many ways.”

This year’s success is particularly gratifying, Kielbasa said, when you look at the fact that it was spread throughout the entire Festival. “We were thrilled to see a full house for our higher profile events, such as our Opening Night Screening of Nebraska with special guests Will Forte and producer Ron Yerxa, and for our Friday night screening of The Birds with Tippi Hedren.  But when you look deeper into our program, it is particularly satisfying to me and to our Programmer Wesley Harris to see the tremendous response to films that might not have been as well-known before the Festival. This really speaks to our mission, and to our ongoing desire to create a dynamic and ongoing dialogue around the films we show and the issues that surround them.”

Once again, Kielbasa said, the Festival’s reach extended to Hollywood and around the world, with a program that included some of the most highly-anticipated titles and exciting discoveries of the year, and filmmakers that hailed from around the world and right here in the Commonwealth. “I continue to be amazed by the quality of films coming from right here in the Commonwealth,” he said. “And we were so happy to provide a well-deserved spotlight for a number of talented Virginia filmmakers with films like I Used to Be Darker, CLAW, Seasons with Brian and Julia, Blue Ruin and so many others.”

Kielbasa added that this year’s Centerpiece Film, CLAW, was a perfect example of a film with local roots and national appeal. “When we decided to slot this film into our Saturday night Centerpiece Film slot, we knew it would be more than a film, it would be an event that could be shared by the people who made it, who are featured in it, and the community who helped launch CLAW around the country and around the world.”

The Festival’s special guests added so much to this year’s Festival in ways that went beyond box office success, Kielbasa said. “Will Forte, Jorma Taccone and Tippi Hedren all went above and beyond to share their talents and experiences through meetings with U.Va. students and through generous interactions with our audiences. In addition, the successful debut of our new Family Day format at the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds was a perfect example of the Festival’s ability to engage with the U.Va. academic community, while shining a well-deserved spotlight on the extraordinary arts offerings available on the Grounds all year long.”

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

Premiere sponsors for the 2013 Virginia Film Festival are The AV Company, Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), Flow Audi of Charlottesville, Regal Entertainment Group, and the Virginia Film Office.