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

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

News & Press

VAFF Announces Launch of Virtual Discussion Series

by JennyM on April 29, 2020

Virginia Film Festival’s Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation Series to Kick Off May 6 at 3:00 PM with Discussion on Award-Winning Documentary Midnight Family Featuring Director Luke Lorentzen

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – April 29, 2020 – The Virginia Film Festival has announced the launch of Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation Series. The livestreamed discussion series will offer audiences the chance to enjoy the kinds of vibrant and wide-ranging conversations that have become a hallmark of the VAFF, according to Festival officials.

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

“As we thought about how to connect with our audience given the challenges we are all facing today,” said VAFF Director and UVA Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa, “we kept coming back to our unique history of, and capacity for, presenting meaningful dialogue around the films we present, and the important issues that surround them. This series allows us to continue this tradition of deep and meaningful engagement while sharing the important voices of filmmakers and utilizing the knowledge and interesting perspectives of experts from both the UVA and local communities.”

The Festival has announced the first three events in the series, which will be presented every other Wednesday at 3:00 PM EDT beginning on May 6. All conversations in the series will be free, open to the public, livestreamed on Zoom, and archived on the VAFF’s YouTube channel. Pre-registration is required to attend the livestreamed Zoom conversations. Related films are available to rent or purchase through various streaming platforms prior to the scheduled discussion. For more information on how to pre-register for each virtual conversation and where to stream each film, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/year-round-events.

The series will kick off on Wednesday, May 6 with Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation on Midnight Family. The discussion will center around the award-winning documentary and 2019 VAFF selection Midnight Family, and feature the film’s director Luke Lorentzen and VAFF Guest Programmer and UVA Assistant Professor of Studio Art Federico Cuatlacuatl. Pre-registration for Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation on Midnight Family is available at virginiafilmfestival.org/year_round/midnight-family-discussion.

Midnight Family, which has won 35 awards, including from some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals including a special Jury Award for Cinematography from the Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of a family ambulance business in Mexico City that provides a literal lifeline to a teeming city woefully underserved by existing government-supported medical transport offerings. When the government cracks down on private ambulances, the family is thrown into a moral and ethical gray area in an observational documentary that spotlights the urgent complexities surrounding healthcare, governmental authority, and communal responsibility. Midnight Family is available to stream on all major platforms.

The series continues on Wednesday, May 20 with Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation on The Booksellers, featuring the director of the acclaimed documentary D.W. Young, Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library Curator Molly Schwartzburg, and owner/manager of New Dominion Bookshop Julia Kudravetz. The event will be moderated by Sarah Lawson of the Virginia Center for the Book. This event is presented in collaboration with Violet Crown Cinema and the Virginia Center for the Book. Pre-registration for Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation on The Booksellers is available at virginiafilmfestival.org/year_round/booksellers-discussion.

An elegant and absorbing documentary, The Booksellers is a lively tour of New York’s book worlds, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics, and dreamers, past and present: from Park Avenue Armory’s annual Antiquarian Book Fair, where original editions can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, to the legendary Strand and Argosy bookstores, still standing against all odds; to the beautifully crammed apartments of collectors and buyers. Executive produced by Parker Posey, the film features a range of commentators including Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, and a community of book dealers and collectors who believe deeply in the wonder of the object and what it holds within. The Booksellers is available to rent through Violet Crown Virtual Cinema.

Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation on Beastie Boys Story will take place on Wednesday, June 3. The discussion will feature educator, performer, rapper, promoter and the director of Charlottesville’s 9 Pillars HipHop Cultural Fest Cullen Wade; UVA Assistant Professor of Hip Hop and the Global South, noted performance artist , and author A.D. Carson; and UVA Assistant Professor of American Studies and Media Studies and pop critic for Slate magazine Jack Hamilton. This event is presented in collaboration with 9 Pillars HipHop Cultural Festival. Pre-registration for Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation on Beastie Boys Story is available at virginiafilmfestival.org/year_round/beastie-boys-discussion.

Beastie Boys’ Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz tell an intimate, personal story of their band and 40 years of friendship in this live documentary experience, directed by their longtime friend and collaborator, and their former grandfather, filmmaker Spike Jonze. Beastie Boys Story premiered on the heels of the 26th anniversary of the release of Beastie Boys’ No. 1 charting 1994 album, Ill Communication. The film reunites Diamond and Horovitz with Jonze over 25 years after he directed their music video for the album’s immortal hit single, Sabotage. Beastie Boys Story is available to stream on Apple TV+.

The 33rd annual Virginia Film Festival will be held on October 21-25, 2020 in Charlottesville. For more information, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.