37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL Oct 30-Nov 3, 2024

37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL October 30-November 3, 2024

Closing Night Film

American Symphony


In 2022, the Grammy and Oscar-winning jazz and contemporary recording artist Jon Batiste faced a pivotal moment in his career. Publicly, he was perceived to be reaching the pinnacle of his success, serving as the bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and garnering eleven Grammy nominations. Filmmaker Matthew Heineman had just committed to directing a documentary capturing Batiste’s rise to fame, notably his upcoming performance of “American Symphony” at Carnegie Hall.

Behind the scenes, however, he had received shattering news.  Emmy-winning journalist and author Suleika Jaouad, Batiste’s longtime partner, was faced with atheaggressive return of a cancer that had been in remission for a decade. What initially began as a documentary focusing on Batiste’s remarkable accomplishments soon became a poignant portrayal of a couple navigating life’s emotional peaks and valleys. American Symphony provides an intimate glimpse into one artist’s endeavor to balance personal adversity with professional ambition.

Discussion with film subject Jon Batiste and director Matthew Heineman (VAFF Directorial Achievement Award). Moderated by Tyler Coates (The Hollywood Reporter).

After the conversation, Jon Batiste will offer a brief performance. 

Presented by

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Presented by

envision + UW(white)[2]