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

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

News & Press


by JennyM on October 11, 2022

Virginia Film Festival Announces 35th Annual Program

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Opens, Empire of Light Closes. Highlights Include All The Beauty And The Bloodshed; Good Night Oppy; Living; The Lost King; She Said; and Women Talking

VAFF Award Winners, Honorees, and Major Guests Include Breakthrough Star Jonathan Majors, This Is Us Star Chrissy Metz, Oscar-winning Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black; Oscar-Winning Production Designer Eugenio Caballero; Oscar-Nominees Sam Pollard and Meg LeFauve; and Tony-Award Winner Judith Ivey

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 11, 2022 – T​he Virginia Film Festival will celebrate its 35th Anniversary on November 2-6 with a robust program of more than 100 films and events, a stellar lineup of special guests, and an array of conversations that will once again take VAFF audiences beyond the screen to explore some of the most important issues of our time.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts. All films will be presented in-person at Charlottesville venues ranging from downtown to UVA Grounds.

The VAFF’s 2022 guest lineup will be highlighted by Jonathan Majors, on hand to receive the Breakthrough Star Award and present his newest film, Devotion; This Is Us star Chrissy Metz, joins with the acclaimed drama Stay Awake, directed by Emmy Award-winning Virginia native Jamie Sisley; acclaimed actor Raúl Castillo with his latest film The Inspection; Academy Award-winning screenwriter and leading LGBTQIA+ activist Dustin Lance Black with his autobiographical documentary Mama’s Boy; Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Meg LeFauve presenting her highly-anticipated animated family film My Father’s Dragon; and two-time Tony Award-winning actor and Broadway legend Judith Ivey with Sarah Polley’s Women Talking.

“We are very excited to celebrate our 35th Anniversary with an outstanding program featuring some of the most highly anticipated films of this festival season,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “As the film and entertainment landscape has changed with the advent of streaming options, it is more important than ever for a festival like ours to stake our claim in the industry by providing dynamic and communal experience for our audiences, and this year’s program does that and more. What we have is a very tightly curated program of films that we feel reflects the interests of our community while opening a window to other communities and cultures in a way that helps us recognize our shared experiences while honoring our differences– something that has never been as important as it is in our world right now.”

“This is an incredibly varied program, which is a conscious decision,” said Ilya Tovbis, in his first year as Senior Programmer with the VAFF. “With a large number of films and so many artists joining us from around the world, audiences will have an experience that is diverse in every sense and shape of the word, and one that we are sure will launch fascinating conversations both on our stages and throughout our community.”

Nearly all the films in the 2022 VAFF program, Tovbis said, are currently unavailable for streaming. “Especially in the days we are living in,” he said, “It’s important to point out that, with very few exceptions, the films at our festival this year can only be seen in a theatrical setting, which is exactly what makes this festival such a uniquely powerful vehicle for discovery.”

The full 2022 VAFF program will be posted online at 9:00 AM on Thursday, October 13. Tickets for all events will go on sale at noon on Tuesday, October 18 at virginiafilmfestival.org; in-person at the UVA Arts Box Office in the lobby of the UVA Drama Building, open T-F from noon to 5:00 PM; and by phone at 434-924-3376. Beginning Monday, October 31, tickets will also be available at the Festival’s Downtown Headquarters in the lobby of Violet Crown. 

Opening Night Film on Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is back in Rian Johnson’s follow-up to his wildly popular 2019 film Knives Out. This time the action shifts to Greece, where Blanc peels back the layers of a mystery involving a new cast of colorful suspects. Craig is joined by an all-star cast including Ed Norton, Janelle Monet, Kate Hudson, Ethan Hawke, Katherine Hahn, and Leslie Odom, Jr. Presented by Bank of America.

Gala Screening on Thursday, November 3, 2022
An aerial war epic based on the bestselling book of the same name, Devotion tells the harrowing true story of Jesse LeRoy Brown, the U.S. Navy’s first Black aviator (Jonathan Majors) and the unexpected partnership with fellow elite pilot Thomas Hudner (Glen Powell) during the Korean War that would place them among the Navy’s most celebrated wingmen. Jonathan Majors will be on hand to receive the VAFF’s Breakthrough Star Award and to discuss the film with Tyler Coates of The Hollywood Reporter. Presented by Truist.

Gala Screening on Friday, November 4, 2022
Emmy Award-winning director and Virginia native Jamie Sisley comes home to the VAFF where his love of film was born, to present Stay Awake, a film earning recognition across the globe this festival season. Stay Awake is the story of two teen brothers dealing with their mother’s prescription drug addiction. Based on Sisley’s own adolescence, the film is a personal exploration of the rollercoaster ride that families go on while trying to help loved ones with a disease that affects millions every day. Sisley will join two of his film’s stars Chrissy Metz and Wyatt Oleff, for a post-screening conversation with USA Today entertainment writer Brian Truitt. Sisley will receive the VAFF’s Governor Gerald L. Baliles Founder’s Award at this screening. Presented by UVA Health.

Family Centerpiece Screening on Saturday, November 5, 2022
From five-time Academy Award®-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, Wolfwalkers) and Academy Award®-nominated director Nora Twomey (The Breadwinner) and screenwriter Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) My Father’s Dragon is an exquisite film inspired by the Newbery-honored children’s book from author Ruth Stiles Gannett. Struggling to cope after a move to the city with his mother, Elmer (Jacob Tremblay) runs away in search of Wild Island and a young dragon called Boris (Gaten Matarazzo) who waits to be rescued. Elmer’s adventures introduce him to ferocious beasts, a mysterious island, and the friendship of a lifetime. Twomey, LeFauve, and longtime VAFF Advisory Board member and UVA graduate Julie Lynn will participate in a conversation with noted film critic Carlos Aguilar (LA Times, The Wrap, AV Club), and LeFauve will receive the VAFF Screenwriting Achievement Award. Presented by UVA Arts: supported by the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts.

Centerpiece Film on Saturday, November 5, 2022
Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, and Judith Ivey, along with Ben Wishaw and Frances McDormand star in Sarah Polley’s fearless adaptation of Miriam Toews’ acclaimed novel about a cloistered world where women struggle with an epidemic of abuse. The evening will include a conversation with and a Tribute to Judith Ivey. Presented by The Paramount Theater.

Closing Night Film on Sunday, November 6, 2022
Sam Mendes’ first solo script centers around the employees of 1980’s movie theatre on the South Coast of England that has clearly seen better days. The filmmaker’s first film since his Academy Award-winning 1917, Empire of Light stars Olivia Colman, Michael Ward, and Colin Firth. Presented by AV Company.

Special Guests

Emmy, Critics’ Choice, Independent Spirit and Gotham award nominee Jonathan Majors is one of the fastest-rising actors in Hollywood. Majors first rose to prominence with his starring role in 2019 in The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Since then, he has given standout performances in films including The Harder They Fall, Spike Lee’s Da Five Bloods, and his Emmy nominated role in the HBO series Lovecraft Country. Following his surprise debut in the Marvel universe as He Who Remains in the series Loki, Majors will soon be seen as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which will open in theaters this coming February. Majors is also set to star in Creed III, to be released in March 2023, in which he plays a mysterious villain squaring off against Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed. Majors will receive the VAFF Breakthrough Star Award at the Gala Screening of Devotion.

Emmy and two-time Golden Globe nominee Chrissy Metz starred in the NBC series This Is Us, winner of the 2018 and 2019 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. She also starred in the box office hit Breakthrough, as well as performed the Oscar-nominated title song “I’m Standing with You,” written by Diane Warren. Following her performance at the 2020 Oscars, Metz signed a record deal with Universal Music Group Nashville. Other credits include Superstore, The Last OG, American Horror Story: Freak Show, My Name is Earl, Entourage, and the Netflix film Sierra Burgess is a Loser. Her memoir, “This Is Me,” debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. Metz will be in conversation for Stay Awake with director Jamie Sisley.

Dustin Lance Black is an Academy Award®-winning filmmaker, writer, LGBTQIA+ activist, husband, and father. He won the Academy Award® and two Writers Guild of America Awards for his screenplay for Milk, starring Sean Penn as the late San Francisco mayor and activist Harvey Milk. Other high profile film credits include J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Clint Eastwood. Earlier this year, Black created, executive produced, wrote, and directed the Emmy-nominated Hulu limited series Under the Banner of Heaven, starring Andrew Garfield and based on the bestselling book by Jon Krakauer. Black is widely recognized as one of the leading activists for the LGBTQIA+ community, and his efforts to defeat Federal Proposition 8 included his play 8, which broke records in its first online broadcast and has included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Jane Lynch, Martin Sheen, and John Lithgow in its casts. In addition to participating in a conversation about his film Mama’s Boy, based on his bestselling autobiography, Black will receive the VAFF Changemaker Award.

Raúl Castillo is known to many through his role in the critically acclaimed independent feature We the Animals, which earned him Independent Spirit Award nomination, and for his role as Richie in the ground-breaking HBO series and television movie Looking. He can currently be seen in Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth; Jeremiah Zagar’s Netflix feature Hustle and Mattson Tomlin’s feature film debut Mother/Android on Hulu. Upcoming projects include Peter Hedges’ The Same Storm, Hulu’s Miguel Wants to Fight, directed by Academy Award® winner Oz Rodriguez, Roger Ross Williams’ Cassandro for Prime Video, and the upcoming FX limited series Class of ’09. The VAFF’s Tribute to Raúl Castillo will be presented following the screening of The Inspection.

Judith Ivey, a two-time Tony Award winner for Steaming and Hurlyburly, has built a remarkable stage career that also includes Tony nominations for Park Your Car in Harvard Yard and an acclaimed revival of The Heiress. She has been seen on screen for over four decades and is best known to movie and television audiences for her memorable performances in The Devil’s Advocate, What the Deaf Man Heard, Will & Grace, Nurse Jackie, and Grey’s Anatomy. The VAFF’s Tribute to Judith Ivey will be presented following the screening of Women Talking.

Additional Tribute/Award Screenings

STAY AWAKE Governor Gerald L. Baliles Founder’s Award: Jamie Sisley
Sisley’s narrative debut premiered earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the AG Kino Gilde Auteur Award. He won an Emmy nomination for his feature documentary Farewell Ferris Wheel. “We are delighted to launch the Governor Gerald L. Baliles Founder’s Award, honoring the late Virginia Governor who founded the Virginia Film Festival in 1988. The award recognizes filmmakers who have made a significant contribution to filmmaking here in the Commonwealth, and we are delighted to give it to a true hometown talent who has already gained such acclaim in his still young career, and who has credited the VAFF for helping launch his passion for film,” said Festival Director Jody Kielbasa.

THE INSPECTION – A Tribute to Raúl Castillo
Elegance Bratton’s remarkable and deeply moving debut inspired by the filmmaker’s own life story, follows a young, gay Black man (Jeremy Pope) who joins the Marine Corps after being thrown out or his mother’s home at 16 and facing years adrift. Even as he battles deep-seated prejudice and the grueling process of basic training, he finds unexpected support and strength in his new community and gains a hard-earned sense of belonging that will shape who he is and change his life forever. Raúl Castillo is best-known for starring in We The Animals and HBO’s Looking. He also shines in supporting roles in Cha Cha Real Smooth, Hustle, Army of the Dead, and Wrath of Man.

Emmy Award-winning directors Sam Pollard and Geeta Gandbhir combine first-hand accounts with striking archival footage to tell the story of a brave group of citizens in the 1960s who put their lives on the line to change history in rural Lowndes County, Alabama. Eighty percent Black with no Black voters, the county served as a launching pad for a movement that brought together a diverse coalition to fight voter suppression in the wake of the Selma to Montgomery marches. It is a story that sadly resonates all too strongly in our country today.

Producer and director Sam Pollard is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost documentarians focused on the African-American experience. His films include Two Trains Runnin’ as well VAFF featured films MLK/FBI and Citizen Ashe. Prior to launching his directing career, Pollard edited several Spike Lee films including 4 Little Girls, Jungle Fever, Clockers, and Bamboozled.

A nostalgic comedy from director Alejandro Iñárritu set against an epic personal journey, Bardo (Official 2023 Oscar selection from Mexico) chronicles the story of a renowned Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker who returns home and works through an existential crisis as he grapples with his identity, familial relationships, the folly of his memories, and his country’s past.

Eugenio Caballero is one of the premiere production designers in the world today. He earned an Academy Award® for Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and has worked with leading directors Jim Jarmusch (The Limit of Control), Baz Luhrmann (Romeo and Juliet), and Alfonso Cuarón (Roma).

Spotlight Screenings

The Virginia Film Festival presents some of the most acclaimed films on the current festival circuit. The 2022 lineup includes:

  • All the Beauty and the Bloodshed – Academy Award®-winning documentarian Laura Poitras chronicles the life, work, and activism of famed artist Nan Goldin, including her protests against the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin. Presented by UVA Arts: supported by the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts.
  • BrokerA man and his friend occasionally steal babies from the church’s baby box and sell them on the adoption market. When a young woman comes back after abandoning her baby, she discovers their ruse and decides to join them on a road trip to interview the baby’s potential parents in this celebrated film from Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda. Presented by Violet Crown Cinema.
  • Descendant – A powerful and haunting documentary that follows the descendants of the survivors of the Clotilda, the last ship that carried enslaved Africans to the United States, as they reclaim their story.Supported by UVA Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Good Night Oppy – A spirited documentary about the exploration rover Opportunity and its ambitious 15-year journey across Mars and the team of scientists and engineers that made the vessel a part of their aerospace family. Supported by Charlottesville Dogwood Foundation and Crutchfield.
  • Karaoke – This comedy about a married middle-class suburban couple in their 60’s who are drawn to their new neighbor, a charismatic bachelor who has karaoke evenings in his apartment, features Sasson Gabay, an internationally acclaimed Israeli actor known to American audiences from the Netflix film The Band’s Visit and series Shtisel. Supported by WTJU 91.1 FM.
  • The Levys of Monticello – The little-known story of the Levy family, which owned and carefully preserved Monticello for nearly a century – far longer than Jefferson or his descendants. Supported by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
  • The Lost King – Stephen Frears latest film retells the story of an amateur historian (Sally Hawkins) battling skepticism and bureaucracy in a quest to locate the final resting place of King Richard III.
  • She SaidNew York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor break one of the most important stories of our time, shattering decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood. Presented by CVILLE Weekly.
  • Saint Omer – In this extraordinary narrative debut by acclaimed French documentarian Alice Diop, a young novelist is forced to confront her personal trauma as she observes the trial of a woman accused of infanticide. Winner of the Silver Lion Grand Jury prize and the Luigi de Laurentis Lion of the Future award at the Venice Film Festival. Supported by Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs.
  • The Son – Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, and Anthony Hopkins star in Florian Zeller’s immersive drama about a family’s struggle to support a teenager in the throes of a mental health crisis. Presented by Charlottesville Radio Group and supported by UVA Department of Drama.


The Virginia Film Festival presents an array of fascinating documentaries from around the world. Highlights include:

  • Bad Axe – This raw slice of life documentary from director David Siev delivers the achingly beautiful story of a Cambodian American family being tested by the COVID-19 pandemic, social crises, civil unrests, and the challenges of running a small family restaurant in a predominantly conservative community.
  • Fashion Reimagined – This film from director Becky Huntner follows Amy Powney’s trajectory from outsider to industry leader as she sets out to create a high fashion collection that is ethical and sustainable at every level, from fiber to finished garment. Presented by Watermark Design.
  • Liquor Store Dreams – Tracing back from the 1992 L.A. uprisings to the current day BLM movement, this is an intimate portrait of two Korean children of liquor store owners who set out to bridge generational divides with their immigrant parents in Los Angeles. Presented by United Way of Greater Charlottesville and supported by UVA Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Powerlands – Young Navajo director Camille Moneybeads Tso investigates displacement of Indigenous people and devastation of the environment caused by the same chemical companies that have exploited the land where she was born.
  • Refuge – Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and UVA alum Erin Bernhardt returns to the VAFF with co-director Din Blankenship to share this story of an unlikely alliance that forms between a successful Kurdish doctor and Muslim-hating white supremacist in the small town of Clarkston, Georgia.Supported by VMDO and UVA Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

International Oscar Contenders

The Virginia Film Festival proudly presents 11 films that have been submitted by their countries for Academy Award® consideration. They include: Klondike, from Ukraine, the story of a Ukrainian family living on the border of Russia and Ukraine during the start of the war who find themselves at the center of an international airline catastrophe; EO, a gripping new drama from Polish master Jerzy Skolimowski that follows a sentient donkey as it experiences the best and worst of mankind; and Corsage, from Austria, about Empress Elisabeth as she rebels against her public image and comes up with a plan to protect her legacy. The full list is below:

Black Excellence Series

This VAFF series grew out of the festival’s commitment to both expand and be more inclusive in its efforts to not only tell stories about challenges along racial boundaries, but also to celebrate, investigate, and deepen our understanding of how integral African-American culture and history has been, and continues to be, to American history. In addition to the presentation of Devotion, The Inspection, Descendant, and Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power, the series also includes:

  • After Sherman – Director Jon Sersie-Goff returns to his native coastal South Carolina to tell a story about pride and racial trauma through Gullah cultural retention and land preservation, only to be interrupted by the shootings at Charleston’s Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston. Presented by United Way of Greater Charlottesville.
  • Black Fiddlers – Charlottesville-based filmmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley returns to the VAFF with a documentary that explores the legacy of African Americans who have made important contributions to American folklore, tracing the personal stories of violin players of African descent ranging from here in Virginia to as far away as Oregon. The screening features a conversation with and performance by film subject Earl White. Supported by 101 Jamz and Minority Business Alliance of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.
  • Clarissa’s Battle -Single mother Clarissa Doutherd’s tireless efforts to build a coalition of parents to fight for childcare and early education funds desperately needed by low-and-middle class families across America are highlighted in this film by Tamara Perkins, who will be joined by Doutherd for a post-screening conversation. Presented by United Way of Greater Charlottesville.
  • The Lives Between the Lines – This moving documentary tells the story of the history and the creation of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers. Several of the descendants featured in the film will participate in a post-screening discussion.
  • The Smell of Money – North Carolina residents take on one of the world’s most powerful companies in a fight for their rights to clean air, pure water, and a life free from the stench of pig feces. Presented by United Way of Greater Charlottesville.
  • To the End – Four fearless women, including three environmental activists and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, struggle to put critical policies into practice before it is too late.

Environmental Film Series

The VAFF will present a wide-ranging selection of films focused on critical and timely environmental issues, including these titles:

  • All That Breathes – Against the darkening backdrop of new Delhi’s apocalyptic air and escalating violence, two brothers devote their lives to protect one casualty of the turbulent times: the bird known as Black Kite.
  • The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future – A woman comes back to life in a river full of dying fish in this magical tale of environmentalism, healing, and family.
  • Devil Put the Coal in the Ground – Directors Peter D. Hutchinson and Lucas Sabean track a West Virginia coal mining town and the industry’s effects on the community, in addition to the ravages of the opioid epidemic.
  • Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest – The historic, heroic, and tragic story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to summit Mt. Everest.

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


The Virginia Film Festival is proud to partner with VPM again this year, to present films offering unique perspectives on issues of great importance to Virginia and Virginians. This year’s selection is Hazing, a film by director Byron Hurt that explores a variety of abusive and sometimes deadly hazing rituals, and uncovers a world of toxic masculinity, violence, humiliation, binge drinking, denial, and institutional coverups. VPM’s Angie Miles will moderate a conversation with Byron Hurt after the screening.

Virginia Filmmaking Focus

The VAFF shines a spotlight on films that were made in Virginia or have roots in the Commonwealth – highlighted this year by Jamie Sisley’s Stay Awake.

  • Dani’s Twins – This powerful and thought-provoking documentary captures the pregnancy and early parenting of Central Virginia mother Daniela Izzie, who, at UVA Hospital, was one of the few quadriplegics in history to ever give birth to twins. Presented by UVA Health.
  • Headwaters Down – Directors, producers and subjects Will Gemma, Dietrich Teschner, and Justin Black, who first met as students at UVA, join two more friends on a 13-day, 250-mile canoe adventure from the headwaters of the James River to the fall line in Richmond in which they explore the environmental and historical aspects of the troubled, yet beautiful river. The filmmakers will participate in a conversation with Academy Award®-winning Charlottesville filmmaker Paul Wagner. Supported by UVA Office for Sustainability.
  • From Sudan to Argentina – Director Ricardo Preve, who calls Charlottesville home but whose work finds him telling a literal world of stories, returns to the VAFF with this story of the Argentine rescue archaeology expeditions led by Dr. Abraham Rosenvasser from 1961-1963.
  • Arguably one of the most prolific experimental filmmakers working today and honored by leading festivals worldwide, UVA professor Kevin Everson is driven by the concern to record everyday Black experience. The VAFF is proud to share a collection of his latest films. 

T​he Virginia Filmmaking Focus is presented by the Virginia Film Office.


The Virginia Film Festival continues its tradition of centering films that focus on the lives, stories, struggles, and triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community with a slate of programs highlighted by Dustin Lance Black’s Mama’s Boy and Elegance Bratton’s The Inspection and including:

  • Close – 2022 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize Winner Close presents the rarely illustrated depths of a friendship between two young men, exploring themes of friendship, love, and identity in a world that is at times unwilling to recognize them for what and who they truly are.
  • The Five Devils – Vicky lives with her mother Joanne and father Jimmie, a man struggling to find his place. When Vicky’s aunt Julia arrives after being released from prison, her presence brings back the past in a violent, magical way. Supported by IX Art Park.
  • Concerned Citizen – A gay couple move into a gentrifying neighborhood in Tel Aviv. Their attempts to beautify the area lead to unintended consequences and unearth deep-seeded prejudices. Supported by UVA Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Korean Cinema Series

This series is programmed by VAFF guest programmer Hyeyon Moon, independent filmmaker who is currently teaching film at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at UVA. Joining Broker, Good Boy, and Liquor Store Dreams in this year’s lineup will be:

  • Heaven: To the Land of Happiness – From director Im Sang-Soo comes this story of two gentlemen who meet by chance and decide to embark on an adventure together that becomes a quest for happiness.
  • Ten Months – When a 29-year-old game developer discovers she is pregnant, her boss’s reaction threatens her career. Supported by Convoy.

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

Indigenous Cinema of the Americas Series

This series spotlights the work of Indigenous American filmmakers and provides a platform for discussion around the complex issues facing this population today. The series is curated by Guest Programmers Adriana Greci Green and Federico Cuatlacuatl. In addition to Powerlands and Vaychiletek, the series include:

  • Imagining the Indian: The Fight Against Native American Mascoting – Directors Aviva Kempner and Ben West present a comprehensive examination of the movement to eradicate the words, images, and gestures that many native American and their allies find demeaning and offensive.
  • MomThe U.S. Premiere of this film from Mexican Tzotzil director Xun Sero confronts his fatherless past with honesty, understanding, and forgiveness after blaming his mother for the paternal void in his life.
  • Portraits From a FireA teen spends his days vlogging his Indigenous community and hanging out with his grandparents until an older influential teenager pushes him to share his work with the community.

The Indigenous Cinema of the Americans Series is presented by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and supported by UVA Arts Council.

Jewish and Israeli Film Series

The 2022 Jewish and Israeli Series includes previously mentioned films: The Levys of Monticello, Concerned Citizen, Sudan to Argentina, and Karaoke as well as:

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

Highlighting Cinema of Mexico Focus

Programmed by VAFF Critic-in Residence Carlos Aguilar, VAFF Guest Programmer Federico Cuatlacuatl, and VAFF Senior Programmer Ilya Tovbis.

“We are training our focus onto one of the most exciting currents in international cinema today: the visionary work of Mexican filmmakers,” said Tovbis. “We are honored to share Alejandro Iñárritu’s Bardo, one of the most celebrated titles films on this year’s festival circuit, and welcome accomplished production-designer Eugenio Caballero with it. Additionally, we have put together a slate of outstanding films that we believe captures a vibrant snapshot of the Mexican film scene today.” These include:

  • The Hole in the Fence – The politics of privilege are dissected in a tale that exposes the fault lines and schisms of contemporary Mexican society
  • Huesera – Director Michelle Garza Cervera’s film tells the story about a woman who has long dreamed of being a mother. When she becomes pregnant, she finds that while she is happy, something feels off. Supported by Whiskey Jar.

Two other films in the series, Mom and Vaychiletik, will be presented as part of the Rasquache Mobile Cinema program created by UVA Art Department faculty member Federico Cuatlacuatl. “We have worked with Federico with a focus on Indigenous Mexican filmmaking for several years,” Tovbis said. “This year, we are thrilled to present his Rasquache Mobile Cinema program, which welcomes community members to travel by bike to public spaces for free outdoor screening as a way of democratizing film.” The Mobile Cinema program launches on October 21, prior to the launch of the VAFF, with the U.S. Premiere of Mom, a film by Mexican Tzotzil director Xun Sero that confronts the consequences of his fatherless past with honesty, understanding, and forgiveness. Vaychiletik, the story of José Pérez who receives musical talent in his sleep as a gift from the Gods, only to find the gift holds him prisoner.

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

Middle Eastern and South Asian Cinema Series

This series is curated by VAFF Guest Programmer Samhita Sunya, assistant professor of Cinema in UVA’s Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Language and Cultures. It includes All That Breathes (India/UK), Under the Fig Trees, and the following:

  • Tug of War (Tanzania) – Denge is a revolutionary fighting for freedom. Yasmin, a strong Indian-Zanzibari woman, is a rebel in her own way. Their chance meeting turns into a forbidden romance as they grapple with the issues of race and culture that pull at them from both sides

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

Shorts Programs
The VAFF will present five short-form film programs in 2022. Curated by VAFF guest programmer Joe Fab, our three themed short film packages—All You Need is Love, It Only Takes Two, and Oh, the People You’ll Meet— include local productions alongside international award-winners. These shorts programs range from documentary to narrative, animated to live-action, and comedy to drama. Additional shorts programs also include a compendium of new works from Light House Studio and a suite of new short films by Kevin Jerome Everson.

Free Panels on Saturday, November 5 at The CODE Building

Supported by The Jefferson Trust

  • FROM PAGE TO SCREEN – SCREENWRITER’S PANEL at 10:00 AM – Oscar-winning Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) discuss the art and craft of writing for the big screen. Moderated by writer/director and VAFF Advisory Board member John Lee Hancock.
  • THE POWER OF THE MEDIA. STORYTELLING, AND THE MUPPETS OF SESAME STREET with Sesame Street Workshop President Sherrie Westin at Noon – The session will examine how Sesame Workshop, the power behind Sesame Street, uses the power of the media, Muppets, and storytelling to provide early learning for young children, reflect and celebrate identity, and deliver nurturing care to children and their caregivers affected by conflict, crisis, and displacement – moderated by producer and VAFF Advisory Board member Marshall Persinger. Supported by VPM.
  • MAKING IT – FILM INDUSTRY CAREER PANEL at 2:00 PM – Three early-career filmmakers, including Emmy Award-winning director Jamie Sisley, Peabody Award-winning documentarian Erin Bernhardt, and television writer Lyle Friedman (Wrecked, Younger) share their unique paths to success in the industry. Moderated by VAFF advisory board member Scot Safon.

The full 2022 VAFF schedule will be available online at 9:00 AM on Thursday, October 13, and tickets will go on sale to the public at noon on Tuesday, October 18. For complete information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.

The 2022 VAFF Press Room can be accessed at v​irginiafilmfestival.org/pressroom.​

The 2022 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation. The 2022 Virginia Film Festival is also generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: AV Company, Bank of America, Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau, Truist, Office of the Provost and the Vice Provost for the Arts, UVA Health, Violet Crown Cinema, Virginia Film Office, and VPM.

The Virginia Film Festival is also supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.