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

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International Oscar Contenders

The Virginia Film Festival showcases a wide array of international cinema with films from 35 countries. The 2022 slate is toplined by 11 Official Submissions for Best International Feature Film Oscar selections:

Film still: Saint Omer


Critical Conversations

Many of our programs are accompanied by Q&As and discussions that range from conversations about the art of cinema to critical dialogues about the most pressing social issues of our time.

Film still: Imaging the Indian: The Fight Against Native American Mascoting 

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Black Excellence Series

Stories centered on the African-American experience—celebrating Black culture, history, and achievement, while moving, entertaining, and challenging us.

Films include:

Film still: Clarissa’s Battle

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Environmental Film Series

Documentary and narrative explorations of our relationship to the natural world. Topics include animal rights, climate change, drought and water issues, land preservation, pollution, resource extraction, waste, and environmental activism.

Films include:

Film still: All That Breathes

The Environmental Film Series is presented by Southern Environmental Law Center.

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Indigenous Cinema of the Americas Series

Showcasing the work of Indigenous filmmakers and providing a platform for discussion around the complex issues facing Indigenous communities. Curated by Guest Programmers Adriana Greci Green and Federico Cuatlacuatl.

Films include:

Film still: Portraits From a Fire

The Indigenous Cinema of the Americas Series is presented by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and supported by UVA Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds.


Jewish & Israeli Film Series

Cinema exploring Jewish and Israeli lives, culture, and history.

Films include:

Film still: Karaoke

The Jewish and Israeli Film Series is presented by Congregation Beth Israel.


Korean Cinema Series

Cinema exploring the best in contemporary Korean Cinema. Curated by Guest Programmer Hyeyon Moon.

Korean Films:

Films by and about Korean Americans:

Film still: Broker

The Korean Cinema Series is supported by Korean Cultural Center – Washington, D.C., UVA Korea Society, and UVA Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds.

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Middle Eastern & South Asian Series

Curated by Guest Programmer Samhita Sunya.

Films include:

Film still: Under the Fig Trees

The Middle Eastern and South Asian Series is supported by the UVA Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures, Institute for Humanities & Global Cultures, and UVA Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds.


Shorts Programs

Themed Shorts Programs, curated by Guest Programmer Joe Fab:

Additional Shorts Programs:

Shorts Before Features:

Film still: A Haircut for the Hina Doll

The Shorts Programs are supported by UVA Arts Council. 


Highlighting Cinema of Mexico

Celebrating the vision and dynamism of contemporary Mexican cinema through a special focus on the country’s new productions. Curated by VAFF Critic-in Residence Carlos Aguilar, VAFF Guest Programmer Federico Cuatlacuatl, and VAFF Senior Programmer Ilya Tovbis.

Films include:

Film still: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

The Highlighting Cinema of Mexico Focus is supported by Mexican Cultural Institute in D.C.

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Mobile Cinema

Developed by VAFF Guest Programmer Federico Cuatlacuatl, The Rasquache Mobile Cinema is a traveling micro cinema in the form of an adult-sized tricycle retrofitted with outdoor screening and projection equipment. RMC provides cinematic community engagements, with the goal of exploring race, migration, and politics across the U.S. and Mexico border by amplifying works of emerging Black and Indigenous filmmakers on both sides of the border.

Films include:

Film still: Vaychiletik

The Mobile Cinema program is presented by UVA Arts: supported by the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts.


Virginia Filmmaking Focus

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

Films includes:

Film still: Dani’s Twins

Virginia Filmmaking Focus is presented by Virginia Film Office.