VAFF to Launch Festival Scholars Program

Virginia Film Festival to Launch Festival Scholars Program

Six-Day Intensive Mentored and Guided Program of Studies, Discussions, and “Insider” Festival Experiences Led by Noted Film Scholar, Industry Veteran, and Longtime VAFF Moderator Harry Chotiner

Festival Scholars is Latest of VAFF’s Acclaimed Outreach & Education Programs, Including Family Day, Young Filmmakers Academy, School Screening, and Sensory-Friendly Screening Collaboration with the Accessible Theatre Project

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VASEPTEMBER 13, 2018 – This fall, the Virginia Film Festival will take a small group of film-loving UVA students on an immersive insider’s journey inside the 2018 VAFF with the launch of its inaugural Festival Scholars Program.

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 2018 Festival will take place from November 1-4 in Charlottesville and will include more than 150 films and over 100 industry guests from around the world.

The Festival Scholars Program will provide a 6-day educational, learning, and networking experience built around the themes of filmmaking, the film industry, and film criticism. Noted film scholar, industry veteran, and longtime Virginia Film Festival moderator Harry Chotiner will lead participants on a mentored and guided program of studies, discussions, and exclusive Festival experiences. These will include 8-10 curated screenings selected by Chotiner and Festival programmer Wesley Harris; 8-10 intimate group discussions and Q&A sessions with Festival guests and VAFF Advisory Board Members; attending panel discussions throughout the Festival Weekend; 2-3 short readings; and a post-program reflection survey.

“We are always looking for ways to maximize the Festival experience for UVA students,” said VAFF Director Jody Kielbasa, “and feel like this is a great way to do that. This program will provide a wonderful opportunity to dive deeply into our more than 150 films and to learn from the vast array of artists and experts that we will bring in this year, and to get a true insider’s perspective with the guidance of Harry Chotiner, whose deep knowledge of and great passion for film and filmmaking makes him an outstanding leader for this program.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles to an upper-middle class Jewish family, Harry Chotiner grew up with all sorts of explicit and inchoate connections to Hollywood, and thus has always been connected to the world of film. After college, he went to Rabbinical school for one year before dropping out to get a PhD in history. Harry went on to be the editor of Socialist Review Magazine, a reader for Francis Ford Coppola at Zoetrope Studios, Head of Story Development at CBS Theatrical Films, Vice President of Creative Affairs at 20th Century Fox, and Executive Vice President of the film division at Interscope before leaving the film business to teach high school history and adult education film classes at New York University.

Festival Scholars will receive complimentary admission into all film screenings chosen as part of the Program’s course of study; full credentials to the 2018 VAFF, including access to the Filmmakers & Sponsors Lounge; and two complimentary group dinners to kick off and wrap-up the program.

Applications are now open for the 2018 Festival Scholars Program. The program is open only to UVA students, and all years of undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to apply. There is no fee to submit an application, and there is no cost to enroll if accepted. The deadline to apply is Friday, October 12, 2018. For more information and to apply, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/scholars.

This year’s Virginia Film Festival Family Day will return on Saturday, November 3, 2018 with events and activities for all ages including a free screening of Disney/Pixar’s hit film Coco, a screening of family friendly shorts; free arts-inspired workshops; an interactive outdoor arts festival; and the VAFF’s popular Young Filmmakers Academy red carpet premier, showcasing the talents of more than 500 local elementary and middle school students. Parking for these events is free at the Culbreth Road Garage. For more information on Family Day, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/familyday. For YFA’s Fall 2018 Program details, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/yfa.

The Virginia Film Festival will welcome middle school and high school students from throughout the region to The Paramount Theater on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 10:00 AM for its annual School Screening. This year’s screening will feature Science Fair, a documentary that follows nine high school students around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks, and hormones on their journey to compete in The International Science and Engineering Fair. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion led by educators and leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. For more information and for educators looking to register their students, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/school-screenings.

On Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 10:00 AM at Vinegar Hill Theatre, the VAFF will partner with Light House Studio and the Accessible Theatre Project to host a free, family and sensory-friendly, all-ages shorts screening. Sensory-friendly events aim to provide a positive viewing experience for children with Autism or other sensory-related disabilities and their families. Special accommodations at this screening will account for potential sensory challenges such as jarring sounds or lights and the selected film program will be short in length. A quiet area will be available during the screening for anyone who needs to take a break, and specially trained volunteers will be present to support attendees and families. For information on how to attend, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/sensory-friendly-screening.

The 2018 Virginia Film Festival Program will be announced on Tuesday, October 2, the full schedule of films and guests will be available to browse online on Thursday, October 4, and tickets will go on sale to the public on Monday, October 8.

The 2018 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees). The 2018 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, CFA Institute, Community Idea Stations, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Violet Crown Charlottesville, and the Virginia Film Office.

The 2018 Festival Scholars Program is supported by the UVA Arts Council. The 2018 Young Filmmakers Academy is supported by Ting Internet.  The 2018 School Screening is supported by CFA Institute.

For more information, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.