A program of

Series & Sidebars

American Perspectives Series

“During these incredibly divided times,” said Virginia Film Festival Program Manager Chandler Ferrebee, “there is much debate over what makes someone an American. I feel like the core of that answer lies in a resiliency of spirit, an optimism for a better life, and an empathy for your fellow man. We have created the American Perspectives series to showcase the complicated and diverse stories that make up America today.” Each film in the American Perspectives Series will feature a virtual discussion with the film artists.

Films include:

Film still: Gather

Women in Film

“As we went through the process of building this program,” Chandler Ferrebee, VAFF Program Manager said, “I was incredibly impressed with and thrilled by the sheer volume of extraordinary work being released this year by women filmmakers. I am really proud to present this series, which I think offers a fascinating and diverse cross-section of what is truly an embarrassment of riches.”

Films include:

The Women in Film series is supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts & National Endowment for the Arts. 

Film still: Freeland

Spotlight on Virginia Filmmaking

The Festival will shine a spotlight on an impressive collection of films that were made in Virginia or have roots in the Commonwealth.

Films include:

The Spotlight on Virginia Filmmaking series is presented by the Virginia Film Office.

Film still: The Reunited States

Jewish & Israeli Film Series

Curated by Guest Programmer Ilya Tovbis

Ilya Tovbis is the Artistic and Managing Director of JxJ—the newly combined Washington Jewish Film and Music Festivals. He has extensive programming experience in both the Jewish and broader film worlds, having previously worked with the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, The Picture House, The JCC of NY’s Israel Film Center and the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Films include:

Film still: Army of Lovers in the Holy Land


Films include:

Film still: Ammonite

Shorts Programs

Curated by Guest Programmer Joe Fab. 

Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Fab returns with the VAFF Shorts Program, an annual Festival favorite. Joe is an accomplished producer, writer and director whose work includes When My Time Comes, a documentary about the right-to-die movement featuring famed NPR host Diane Rehm, part of this year’s VAFF program, and the highly-acclaimed 2004 release Paper Clips, which he co-directed.

Joe’s Curated Shorts Packages include:

  • Four Long-ish Shorts
  • Out of This World
  • We Can Relate to That

Film Still: Before

Transborder Blackness & Indigeneity (Indigenidad y Negritud Transfronteriza) Series

Curated by Guest Programmer Federico Cuatlacuatl. 

Born in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico, Federico Cuatlacuatl, is an Cholula, Puebla, Mexico-born indigenous artist and Assistant Professor of Studio Art at the University of Virginia whose work focuses heavily on disseminating topics of Latinx immigration, social art practice, and cultural sustainability.

Films and discussion includes:

The Transborder Blackness & Indigeneity (Indigenidad y Negritud Transfronteriza) Series series is supported by UVA Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds. 

Film Still: Tote Grandfather

Middle Eastern & South Asian Film Series

“Between Man and God: Chronicles of the Everyday”
Curated by Guest Programmer Samhita Sunya

The figure of the young man and the role of religion in his everyday life-worlds animates each of these four films in different ways. You Will Die at Twenty is a poignant coming of age story set in a Sudanese village, about a young man whose death at twenty is prophesied by a sheikh at his birth. Filmfarsi is a fast-paced essay film that showcases an incredible collage of lost-and-found footage that illuminates the complexities of “filmfarsi,” the wildly raucous Iranian popular—and populist—cinema banned after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Eeb Allay Ooo! is a dark comedy-drama, inspired by migrant workers contracted by the Indian government to scare monkeys (held to be sacred kin of the Hindu monkey-deity Hanuman, and therefore not killable), which remain a nuisance in the vicinity of the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential compound in New Delhi. Nasir is a tender, realist film that invites us to walk in shoes of a Muslim man who works in a fabric shop in contemporary South India, amidst the backdrop of intensifying majoritarian Hindu nationalism.  

Samhita Sunya is an Assistant Professor of Cinema in the University of Virginia’s Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Language and Cultures. Her interests span world film history, South and West Asian cinemas, intersections of audio-visual media and literature, and sound studies. She also has a curatorial background in the collaborative administration of film series and festivals.

Films include:

The Middle Eastern & South Asian Film Series is supported by UVA Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds and the Institute of the Humanities and Global Culture at UVA.

Photo still of film: Filmfarsi

Korean Film Series

With generous support from the Korea Cultural Center in Washington, D. C. and the UVA Korea Society, we are pleased to present a compelling series of Korean films in our 2020 Virtual Program.

Films include:

The Korean Film Series is supported by the Korea Cultural Center, Washington, D.C. and UVA Korea Society. 

Film Still: Bori