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

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


Festival Scholars

In order to promote the health and safety of our community members, Festival Scholars will not take place during the 2021 Festival. Below you will find an archive of the Virginia Film Festival's Festival Scholars Program, a 6-day immersive, educational, and networking experience for UVA students around the themes of filmmaking, film industry, and film criticism.

The 2019 Festival Scholars Program was generously supported by the UVA Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds.


The Program: October 22 to 27, 2019

The Festival Scholars Program offers a 6-day immersive, educational, and networking experience to UVA students around the themes of filmmaking, film industry, and film criticism.  The Program consists of:

  • A mentored and guided program of studies, discussions, and overall experience led by a Lead Film Scholar
  • Attending 8-10 film screenings during the 2019 Virginia Film Festival, curated by the Lead Film Scholar and VAFF Programmer
  • Participating in 8-10 intimate group discussions and Q&A sessions with visiting guest artists and VAFF Advisory Board Members
  • 2-3 short readings
  • A post-program reflection survey

Festival Scholars Program

All UVA undergraduate and graduate, part-time and full-time students of any year are welcome to apply. After a competitive application process, 10-12 Student Scholars will be selected to enroll. Past VAFF Scholar participants are not eligible to apply. There is no fee to submit an application, and there is no cost to enroll if accepted.

Festival Scholars receive:

  • Complimentary admission into all film screenings chosen as part of the Scholars’ course of study
  • Full credentials to the Virginia Film Festival, gaining them access to the Filmmakers & Sponsors Lounge
  • Complimentary group dinner to kick-off the Scholars Program
  • Complimentary group dinner to wrap-up the Scholars Program

Questions? Contact scholars@vafilmfeststag.wpengine.com


2019 Lead Film Scholar

Harry Chotiner, professor of film at New York University will serve as the Lead Film Scholar and Mentor of the 2019 Festival Scholars Program.

Born and raised in Los Angeles to an upper-middle class Jewish family, Harry grew up with all sorts of explicit and inchoate connections to Hollywood and thus has always been connected 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, Reader for Francis Coppola at Zoetrope Studios, Head of Story Department at CBS Theatrical Films, Vice President of Creative Affairs at 20th Century Fox, Executive Vice President in film division at Interscope before leaving the movie business to teach History in high school and adult education film classes at New York University. Most importantly, he is married to a wonderful human rights lawyer and is the father of three adorable kids and three delicious grandkids.

VFF2019 SAT 26oct19 JL-0206

Past Programs

2019 FILMS
Just Mercy, How I Felt When I Saw That Girl, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Pain and Glory, Marriage Story, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Parasite, I Lost My Body, Two Popes

Shelly Chopra Dhar: Director, ​Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (How I Felt When I Saw That Girl)
Iana Dontcheva: VAFF Senior Guest Programmer
Chandler Ferrebee: VAFF Assistant Programmer
Ethan Hawke: Actor, ​Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
Ron Hohauser: VAFF Board Member/Chief Financial Officer, Legendary Films
Wanuri Kahiu: Director, ​RAFIKI
Jody Kielbasa: VAFF Director/UVA Vice Provost for the Arts
Scot Safon: VAFF Board Member/Chief Marketing Officer, Up tv
Thom Zimny: Co-director, ​Western Stars

2018 FILMS
At Eternity’s Gate, The Ballad of a Righteous Merchant, Capernaum, I Am Not a Witch, If Beale Street Could Talk, Menace II Society, Never Look Away, Roma, and a Tribute to Christoph Waltz

Perrin Chiles, VAFF Board Member/CEO, Adaptive Studios, Inc.
Wesley Harris, VAFF Programmer
Ron Hohauser: VAFF Board Member/Chief Financial Officer, Legendary Films
Allen Hughes: Director, The Defiant Ones, Menace II Society
Julie Lynn: VAFF Board Member/Producer, Mockingbird Pictures LLC
Marion Mauran: Director Run While You Can