2018: Derrick Borte, director of American Dreamer. A former computer programmer, Cam (Jim Gaffigan) is now struggling to make ends meet as a personal chauffeur to low-level drug dealer Mazz. Having lost his computer programming job and his family, Cam suffers an emotional breakdown and finds himself in an unrelenting downward spiral of mental health. Desperate to get out of his many financial binds, he kidnaps Mazz’s son in the hopes of collecting a ransom from the dealer. Shot in Norfolk, Virginia, and directed by Virginia native Derrick Borte (London Town, H8RZ), American Dreamer explores how desperation can lead to dangerous decisions. Listen here
2018: Stephen Winter, director of Jason and Shirley. In response to Shirley Clarke’s 1967 Portrait of Jason, filmmaker Stephen Winter offers an imaginative look into the making of the documentary. Based on Clarke’s original 12-hour film shoot in her Chelsea Hotel apartment, Winter digs into the complicated power dynamics of the relationship between the documentarian and Jason, a gay Black man. A hybrid of drama, fantasy, and documentary, the film exposes the heightened emotions and power struggles that arose as a part of Shirley Clarke (Sarah Schulman) and Jason Holliday’s (Jack Waters) artistic process. Listen here
Sam Bathrick and Adam Barton
2018: Director Sam Bathrick and producer Adam Barton of 16 Bars. Following three inmates at the city jail in Richmond, Virginia, 16 Bars offers a glimpse at a unique rehabilitation program that provides these men with access to a makeshift recording studio. The inmates unearth painful elements of their pasts as they write and create original music. Through the process of collaborating on an album with Grammy-winning recording artist Todd “Speech” Thomas from the iconic hip-hop group Arrested Development, they begin to move forward with their lives. The music of the film serves as a rare testimony to the messy truth behind the criminal justice system’s revolving door. Listen here
Aaron Farrington and Abel Okugawa
2018: Directors Aaron Farrington and Abel Okugawa of Know Your Neighbor. Highlighting the essence of nine locals who proudly call Charlottesville their home, Know Your Neighbor offers insight into the lives of refugees who escaped from war. Listen here
Tommaso Mottola and Gørild Mauseth
2018: Director Tommaso Mottola and subject Gørild Mauseth of Karenina and I. When Norwegian actor Gorild Mauseth receives an offer from the Primorsky Regional Drama Theater in Russia to play Anna Karenina, she agrees, and the role becomes an all-consuming venture. To reach the theater in Vladivostok, she travels along the Trans-Siberian Railway, learning Russian and trying to understand why Tolstoy (Liam Neeson) wrote his acclaimed novel Anna Karenina. As she travels through Russia, Mauseth can feel herself slowly becoming Anna, and begins to hear Tolstoy’s voice in her head. Bringing together documentary and narrative elements, Mauseth works to break free from her character by confronting her traumatic past. Listen here
2018: Michelle Jackson director of Another Slave Narrative. As part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1936-1938, the Federal Writers’ Project interviewed more than 2,300 former slaves to gain first-hand accounts of slave life. Featuring a multiracial cast, Another Slave Narrative showcases performances of the original transcripts of these federal interviews in the former slaves’ own words. Listen here
2018: Laura Somers director of Rich Kids.
Matias is a bright teenager whose family struggles with harsh financial troubles. When he discovers “Los Ricos”, a wealthy family, are out of town, Matias breaks into their mansion where he and his friends spend an afternoon basking in the good life. The party is soon disrupted when a trouble-making relative shows up uninvited. Loyalties are then pushed to the breaking point as Matias’s desire for power in the house rises. Set over a period of less than 24 hours, Matias grapples with the realities and consequences of living in a community ravaged by the wealth gap and income inequality. Listen here
Rami Al Rabih
2018: Rami Al Rabih, director of short film Dance of Amal. Forced to leave her home, Amal tells her story through oriental dance. Portraying her experiences through motion, her only amal, or “hope” in Arabic, is that someone in the audience will be able to see her pain. Listen here
Caroline Slaughter and Sara Elizabeth Timmins
2018: In the wake of the one year anniversary of the #metoo movement, the Virginia Film Festival hosted a panel on Women in Film, a discussion of the opportunities and continuing challenges for women in the industry today. Panelists Caroline Slaughter and Sara Elizabeth Timmins stopped by to talk about the panel and their film Lamb, which screens before the feature film This Changes Everything, Saturday at 1:00 PM at the PVCC Dickinson Center. Listen here
Cassidy Friedman and Eric Butler
2018: Director Cassidy Friedman and subject Eric Butler of Circles. After being displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Eric Butler moves to Oakland, California, in an impassioned effort to mentor troubled minority youth. The documentary reveals Eric’s no-nonsense approach to counseling for vulnerable Black and Latinx teenagers and reimagines standard approaches to school discipline. Butler’s restorative justice movement replaces sudden suspensions and expulsions with intimate and honest mentorship. By creating an open space for conversation, at-risk students are able to build trust and realize their potential. After his own son is arrested, Butler reevaluates his responsibilities as both father and teacher to be the leader that he never had growing up. Listen here
2018: Jerry Williams, director of the documentary, Spider Mites of Jesus: The Dirtwoman Documentary. When Donnie “Dirtwoman” Corker passed away in 2017, the city of Richmond, Virginia, lost one of its most well-known personalities. A cross-dressing entertainer and a voice of the counterculture movement, Corker embodied the spirit of Richmond through his individuality, his eccentricity, and his perseverance. From running for mayor, to posing for his own pin-up calendar, to starring in a music video for GWAR, he made himself known in all corners of the city. Spanning decades and featuring interviews from several local Richmond personalities, Dirtwoman pays tribute to the life of a local legend. Listen here
Best of Film at George Mason University
2018: Best of Film at Mason returns for a fourth year to present a selection of recent notable and award-winning films from students in the Film and Video Studies Program at George Mason University. Through collaboration with student artists studying screenwriting, producing, cinematography, sound design, and editing, these filmmakers illustrate a wide variety of stories that range from a work place comedy web series to a documentary portrait of an immigrant mother. Highlighting directors innovatively working across genres including documentary, drama, and comedy, this program celebrates the diversity of cinematic storytelling with films centered on connection and community. Listen here
2018: Morissa Maltz, director of Ingrid. At seventy-six years old, Ingrid Gipson compares her former endeavors as a successful Dallas fashion designer in the 1980s to her current, reclusive lifestyle. After retiring from her creative career, Ingrid moved to the woods. She spends her time creating sculptural ceramic art and creating structures out of nearby rocks. Driven by feelings of uncertainty over whether she had succumbed to the roles that society had chosen for her, Ingrid discusses her newfound sense of fulfillment after dropping everything to become a self-sufficient woman in the wilderness. Listen here
Festival Director Jody Kielbasa and Programmer Wesley Harris
2018: We’re kicking off this year’s Virginia Film Festival with Sunday Morning Wake-up Call. Guest host Sean McCord talks with Virginia Film Festival Director Jody Kielbasa and Film Festival Programmer Wesley Harris about this year’s event. Listen here!
2017: UVA graduate and esteemed filmmaker Colette Burson returns to Charlottesville with Permanent, her new film as writer and director. Permanent centers around a 13 year old and her family, a hairstyle gone incredibly wrong, and a young girl’s plight to fit in small town Virginia in 1983. Burson, also the creator of Hung and The Riches, talks of her transition from the UVA drama department to writing and directing for stage, film, and TV. Listen here.
2017: Virginia native Andrew Hamer, now a Los Angeles filmmaker, brings his new work as part of the Short Films: Block C. Three Skeleton Keyis based on a story by the French author George G. Toudouze and was previously and famously adapted for radio, starring Vincent Price. Hamer’s new short film is a standalone proof-of-concept, and in this interview he talks of his hope of leveraging this into a full feature-length film. Listen here.
Student Filmmakers from George Mason University
2017: Student filmmakers from George Mason University stopped to to talk about the collection of their short films, The Best of Film at Mason, Sunday at 11:15 AM at the Violet Crown C. These young filmmakers are all students working on a variety of genres, from documentary to fiction to music videos. Listen here.
2017: In addition to helping out the Virginia Film Festival with public relations, John Kelly also serves as a publicist for shows such as The Long Road Home, which will screen an episode at 5:30 pm on Friday at the Culbreth Theatre at the University of Virginia. The eight episode mini-series is being produced by the National Geographic Channel. Kelly talks about the making of the show. Listen here.
2017: Kevin Everson has made eight feature length films and over one-hundred and twenty short films.. He is Professor of Art at the University of Virginia. In Tonsler Park Everson uses 16mm black-and-white film to observe the democratic process as it unfolded across Charlottesville voting precincts on November 8th, 2016. Listen here.
IndieWire- Celebrating 20 Years
2016: IndieWire is the leading news, information, and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry, and moviegoers alike. Launched in 1996 as an online forum and newsletter, IndieWire has grown over the last two decades into a preeminent source for film and television news, reviews, interviews, global festival coverage, and more. Now the Deputy Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, co-founder Eugene Hernandez grew the company over 12 years as editor-in-chief into the leading online community and editorial publication for independent and international films and filmmakers. Co-founder Mark Rabinowitz served variously as co-editor in chief, news editor, and managing editor, as well as lead film festival correspondent and editor. Managing editor Brian Brooks also worked at IndieWire for 12 years, covering the worldwide business of indie film. Today, Eric Kohn is the chief film critic and a senior editor for IndieWire as well as the manager of the Criticwire network. Twenty years later, IndieWire stays true to its mission, while facilitating a greater appreciation of independent filmmaking to the masses. Discussion with Brian Brooks, Eugene Hernandez, Eric Kohn, and Mark Rabinowitz. Listen here.
2016: Lydia Moyer, an associate professor in the University of Virginia McIntire Department of Art, speaks with Sean McCord about her experimental films that are appearing at the 2016 Virginia Festival of Film. Listen here.
Scott Haze, Mully
The final 2015 Virginia Film Festival podcast interview was with Scott Haze. With producer James Moll, the Charlottesville native talks about his transition from local actor to documentary film director. Listen here.
Reconquest of the Useless
In Werner Herzog’s 1982 adventure film, Fitzcarraldo, the eccentric explorer Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald has the crazy idea of hauling an old steamboat over a mountain in the Amazon jungle. Thirty years later, young filmmakers Sam Pressman, Harley Adams, and Luke Wigren set off to the Peruvian jungle on the trail of Herzog’s classic to find if some traces of the film still lingered there. Here they talk about their resulting documentary Reconquest Of The Useless. Listen to the podcast here.
Bill Plympton is considered “the king of indie animation”. His 10th independent feature film Cheatin’ screens Saturday at 7:30 PM in the Newcomb Hall theater. Bill will also teach a master class to UVA students. His message is that anyone can become a successful independent animator. Listen here.
Gary Springer, Publicist to the Stars
Publicist Gary Springer talks about four films that he brought to this year’s Virginia Film Festival: Lady in the Van, with the great Maggie Smith; Reconquest of the Useless, a documentary following up on Werner Herzog’s 1982 Peruvian film adventure Fitzcarraldo; The Looking Glass,with esteemed British actress Dorothy Tristan; and Price of Love, a hard-hitting look at life on the streets in Ethiopia. Listen here.
Jason Mann, The Leisure Class
Director Jason Mann’s film The Leisure Class was the winner in this season Project Greenlight on HBO. Jason stops by to talk about the making of the film and the challenges of being a documentary film subject himself. The Leisure Class screened Friday November 6 in the new Violet Crown cinema. Listen here.
Jack of the Red Hearts
Screenwriter Jennifer Deaton, Director Janet Grillo, and young star Taylor Richardson stop by to talk about Jack of the Red Hearts, a loving story about a family impacted by autism. Taylor Richardson is originally from Virginia and, prior to this film, spent two years on Broadway as Annie. Listen to the podcast here.
Jim Sadwith, Coming Through The Rye
Writer and Director Jim Sadwith talks about his film Coming Through The Rye, his personal story of a young boarding school student who writes a stage adaption of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye, then sets out to find the elusive novelist (Chris Cooper). Listen here.
Inspired To Ride
Sean McCord speaks with Mike Dion, the director of Inspired to Ride. This documentary about the ultra-endurance Trans-Am bike race was distilled down from over 2,000 hours of footage as cyclists crossed the country from Oregon to Virginia. Find out why many cyclists have shirts that read “It’s Mike Dion’s fault” The film will be released on iTunes and other digital outlets on November 13. Listen here.
Sean McCord speaks with Mark Rozzo, Sam Erickson, and Matthew Amster about their film Hallowed Ground which made its film debut at the Virginia Film Festival on Friday at the Southern. The film is a documentary about the “sacred American space” that is Gettysburg. How do people who are drawn there think about the Civil War battle that defined the space and the history of the United States? That’s the topic the film explores. Listen here.
Actor For Hire
Sean McCord speaks with Marcus Mizelle, the director of Actor for Hire, which screened on Friday at the Violet Crown. This was the 21st stop for the film on the festival circuit and Mizelle and actors Jesse O’Neill and Jandres Burgos talked about the challenges and excitement that comes with bringing an idea to life and sharing it with the world. The film started off as a web series that became a feature film. Listen here.
Documentary filmmaker Betsy Cox discusses the fortuitous circumstances that led to this affecting look at D.C. students who were promised college scholarships in 1988 at age 12, and where there lives are now. She promises that it is not what you expect. Listen here.
Virginia actor Devin Druid stars in Louder Than Bombs, a compelling story of three men brought together after the untimely death of the family matriarch. Fans of the FX series Louie may recognize Devin as teenage Louie from a memorable two-parter this last season. In this podcast, Devin talks about acting on his first feature film and also working with Louis C.K. Listen here
Our first podcast of 2015 is a conversation with Executive Director Jody Kielbasa and Programmer Wesley Harris on the new Sunday Morning Wake-Up Call, recorded on November 1 at WPVC. Listen here.
Our first podcast of this year’s festival is with our own Jody Kielbasa and Wesley Harris, the Director and head Programmer of the Festival. Listen to them speak on WNRN’s Sunday Morning Wake-Up Call here!
Actor Paul Wilson talks with Sean McCord about how his participation in Big Stone Gap helped him and his brother Patrick Wilson reconnect with a Southwest Virginia ancestor. Big Stone Gap screens tonight at the Paramount Theater. Listen here! For more information, see the Charlottesville Podcasting Network website.
University of Virginia fourth year student Alex Rafala talks with Sean McCord about his film Farewell Old Stringy, a short film made in Charlottesville that tells the story of a funeral for an imaginary friend. How do short films like this get made? Alex clues us in. His work will debut on Sunday at 1:30 at the Dickinson Center at the Piedmont Virginia Community College. Listen here!
Documentary filmmaker Eduardo Montes Bradley speaks with Sean McCord on his films on poet Rita Dove and civil rights pioneer Julian Bond. Montes Bradley’s documentaries on the pair “confronts the audience with a unique opportunity to observe the 20th century through the eyes of two of its key witnesses.” They will screen Saturday at 1:00 at the Downtown Regal and will be followed by a discussion with Bond and Dove. Listen here!
Documentary filmmaker Richard Robinson speaks with Sean McCord on his film Song of the Cicadas. Based on an idea from David Rothenberg’s Bug Music, Song of the Cicadas explores the metaphors evoked in comparing the incarceration of American Political Prisoner Timothy Blunk (Resistance Conspiracy Case) with the 17 year period spent underground of the Magicicada. Filmed in an historic prison during a Cicada emergence, Song of the Cicadas forms a poetic critique on the politics of incarceration and the surveillance aspects of media. Listen here!
Documentary filmmaker and musician Beth Harrington talks about her film “The Winding Stream”, a look at the original Carter Family and how they transformed to the Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle. Johnny Cash makes one of his last appearances in the film, mere weeks before his death. This is a story about music, family, and with deep roots in Virginia. The film will screen at the Dickenson Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College on Saturday at 7:45 pm. Listen here!
In 2006, four young African-American lesbians in a gay-friendly neighborhood of New York City are violently and sexually threatened by an aggressive man on the street. They react in self-defense, stabbing the persistent man, warranting charges and court convictions. Director Blair Dorosh-Walther and producer Giovanna Chesler talk about their film “Out in the Night” with CPN’s Sean McCord. Together they take a look at the lives of the four women convicted of manslaughter and the media circus that surrounded the “Gang of Killer Lesbians.” The film will be shown Saturday November 8th at 5:00 p.m. at the Regal 1 theatre on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Listen here!
Virginia native Christopher C. Rogers is the co-creator of Halt and Catch Fire, a television show that captures the rise of the PC era in the early 1980′s. Rogers talks with Sean McCord about how the show went from idea to airing on AMC. The pilot will screen tonight at 7:30 pm at the Downtown Regal followed by a discussion. Listen here!
Jeff Preiss is the director of Low Down, a feature about the life of a 1970′s era jazz pianist who puts his heroin addiction and music ahead of his daughter. The film is based on the memoir of the same name as Amy-Jo Albany. Preiss talks with Sean McCord about why he made the picture and what he loves about making movies. Listen here!
Connor Hurley is the director of Skook, a film about a woman whose boyfriend leaves her to join the Occupy Wall Street movement. When she returns to spend the holidays in Schuykill County, Pennsylvania, and unexpectedly falls in love. Hurley talks with Sean McCord about how the film got made and what it means to him and his generation. Skook screens Sunday at 12:30 pm at the Downtown Regal. Listen here!
Producers and writers Giorgio Litt and Thom Canalichio and star Richard Warner talk to CPN’s Sean McCord about their short film Waking Marshall Walker, an exploration of life’s possibilities when all otherwise seems lost. The film screens as part of the Short Narrative Films program on Sunday at 1:30 PM in the PVCC Dickinson Center. For more information visit the Virginia Film Festival web site. Listen here!
Podcaster Sean McCord talks with Mitch Levine, director, writer, producer moderator, and festival consultant. In addition to all those hats, Mitch brought a short film that he directed, In Confidence, based on a short play developed at the world-renowned Actors Studio. In Confidence screens at 12:30 on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Downtown Mall Regal 1 before the feature Karate Tango. Listen here!
Erica Arvold is a local casting director and producer. CPN’s Sean McCord talked to Erica about a panel she is hosting on Saturday “ON FILMMAKING: Industry leaders and their approach in the Mid-Atlantic”, as well as a film she co-produced “Wish You Well” and the Adrenaline Film Festival. The event takes place at 11:00a.m. Saturday at 416 East Main Street on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall and is free and open to the public. Listen here!
CPN’s Sean McCord talks with Karen Spiegel, the producer of “Wish You Well”, a story about familial bonds and sacrifices in rural Virginia. From the novel and screenplay by Virginia writer David Baldacci. The film will be seen at 1:00pm, Saturday, Nov 8 at the PVCC Dickinson Center. Listen here!
Heather Waters is the president of the Virginia Production Alliance, an alliance of industry professionals that provides leadership and opportunity for the future of Virginia’s film and television community. Hear her talk about her panel from Saturday afternoon, “Frame It: The Future of Film, Television, and Media.” Listen here and read for more information here!
Detroit filmmaker Ted Houser talks to CPN’s Sean McCord about “R. Stern” his short film about an Afghanistan war veteran who goes searching for a missing friend. The film screens as part of the Short Narrative Films program on Sunday at 1:30 PM in the PVCC Dickinson Center. Listen here!
Marco Orsini is an international documentary filmmaker. His latest work is “Gray Matters”, a look at 20th century architect Eileen Gray who changed the way we live with furniture and within houses. Gray Matters screens Saturday at 6:45 in UVA’s Newcomb Hall Theater. Listen here!