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

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

Empire of Light

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Micheal Ward and Olivia Colman in the film EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.


Academy Award-winning Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, 1917) presents a love letter to the magic of cinema with the aid of master cinematographer Roger Deakins (No Country for Old Men, Sicario) and a top-notch cast headlined by Olivia Coleman, Michael Ward, Toby Jones, and Colin Firth. Hilary works the front of house for a movie theater in the English seaside town of Margate in 1981. Each day she manages the grudgingly repetitive routine of opening the cinema, overseeing the concession stand, and fielding her manager’s uncomfortable requests for illicit favors. When Stephen, a young Black man, joins the theater’s staff, the two form a quick and unusual connection. As Hillary struggles to conceal her mental health issues and Stephen grapples with the racism rampant in 1980s England, the two lean on one another to escape their circumstances–but the impermanence of life itself soon begins to threaten their bond.

Introduction by Jody Kielbasa (VAFF)


Sunday, November 6


7:00 PM


The Paramount Theater

Film Info

Director: Sam Mendes

Runtime: 119 min.

Genre: Drama

Year: 2022

Country: United Kingdom, USA

Language: English

Featuring: Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Crystal Clarke, Tanya Moodie

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