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

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

News & Press

VAFF Announces 2021 Launch of Beyond the Screen

by JennyM on January 26, 2021

VAFF Announces 2021 Launch of Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation Series

2021 Series to Kick Off February 4 at 3:00 PM with Discussion of Highly-Anticipated Film The Little Things

Psychological Thriller Stars Trio of Academy Award-Winners Including Denzel Washington, Jared Leto and Rami Malek

Project Teams Acclaimed Writer/Director and VAFF Advisory Board Member John Lee Hancock With Academy Award-Winning Producer and Longtime VAFF Advisory Board Chair Mark Johnson

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – January 26, 2021 – The Virginia Film Festival will continue its popular Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation Series on Thursday, February 4 at 3:00 PM with a livestreamed discussion around the highly-anticipated psychological thriller The Little Things featuring the film’s writer/director John Lee Hancock and producer Mark Johnson and moderated by Emmy Award-winning journalist Elizabeth Flock.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

This conversation, like all VAFF’s Beyond the Screen series events, will offer audiences the chance to enjoy the kinds of vibrant and wide-ranging conversations that have become a hallmark of the VAFF. Beyond the Screen events are free, open to the public, livestreamed on Zoom, and archived on the VAFF’s YouTube channel. Pre-registration is required to attend live, and related films are available to rent or purchase through various streaming platforms prior to the scheduled discussion.

Pre-registration for Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation on The Little Things is available at https://virginiafilmfestival.org/year_round/the-little-things. The Little Things premieres Friday, January 29 on HBO Max and in select theaters.

The Little Things teams a trio of Academy Award winners – Denzel Washington (Training Day, Glory), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) – with acclaimed writer/director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks, The Founder) and Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning producer Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad, Rain Man). Hancock is a member of the VAFF Advisory Board, which Johnson has long chaired.

Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Washington) is sent to Los Angeles for what should have been a quick evidence-gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. Leading the hunt, L.A. Sheriff Department Sergeant Jim Baxter (Malek), impressed with Deke’s cop instincts, unofficially engages his help. But as they track the killer, Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.

The main cast also includes Natalie Morales (Battle of the Sexes), Terry Kinney (Mile 22, TV’s Billions), Chris Bauer (Sully, TV’s The Deuce), Joris Jarsky (TV’s Bad Blood), Isabel Arraiza (TV’s Pearson), and Michael Hyatt (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).

“We are so glad to welcome our longtime Advisory Board Chair Mark Johnson and Advisory Board member John Lee Hancock for what promises to be a fascinating discussion around a film that brings together some of Hollywood’s most extraordinary actors,” said VAFF Director and University of Virginia Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “It’s an exciting chance for audiences to go behind the scenes of a project nearly 30 years in the making, and one that keeps its audiences guessing from beginning to end.”

Even given his remarkable career and award-winning pedigree, Johnson was uniquely fascinated by his experience on the film. “I’ve been producing a long time,” he said, “and I think I was taken to acting school with this movie. I watched three extraordinary actors, each one with a different approach to his role from the others. We were dealing with real heavyweights who were totally committed to the characters they were playing, and it was a pleasure to watch.”

The film’s title, Hancock said, refers to the details of detective work that tend to embed themselves deep into their work and their lives. “I hope audiences keep thinking about the actions of Deke and Baxter and those little things they can’t let go of, and the dirty work no one wants  to know about. Two guys trying to do the right thing and sometimes in the wrong way…But they do it anyway, and they live with the consequences.”

The VAFF’s Beyond the Screen series will be presented monthly in 2021 and announcements on future events will follow in late February.

Details on the 34th annual Virginia Film Festival are forthcoming. For more information, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.