36th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL October 25-29, 2023

Freedom Summer

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In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation’s eyes were riveted on Mississippi. Despite concerted efforts of local civil rights activists, the state remained steeped in segregation, underscored by racial hate crimes and the systematic exclusion of African Americans from the political process. Award-winning director Stanley Nelson captures this volatile period with remarkable historical footage and firsthand accounts from volunteers whose lives changed in those long summer months. Fifty years later, this film highlights an overlooked but essential element of the Civil Rights Movement: activists’ patient and long-term efforts to organize communities and register black voters — even in the face of intimidation, physical violence and death. Discussion with Julian Bond, Lynn French, Joyce Ladner, and Deborah McDowell (U.Va.)

Supported by U.Va. Office for Diversity and Equity and The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at U.Va.


Friday, November 7


7:30 PM


UVA : Newcomb Hall Theater

Buy Now

VAFF donors at the Extra level and above receive advance access to purchase VAFF tickets during our donor pre-sale window. Donors with pre-sale access have received an email with instructions on how to unlock their access. Public ticket sales begin at Noon on Oct. 6. Please visit Donor Benefits.

Film Info

Director: Stanley Nelson

Runtime: 112 min

Genre: Documentaries

Year: 2014

Country: USA

Featuring: Julian Bond, Taylor Branch, Ben Chaney