VAFF Beyond the Screen Returns with a Conversation with author Mark Harris

VA Film Festival to Partner with Virginia Festival of the Book for Beyond the Screen: A Conversation with Mark Harris 

Filmmaker and VAFF Associate Programmer Joe Fab to Moderate Virtual Conversation Around

Harris’ New Biography, Mike Nichols: A Life on Tuesday, March 23 at 4:00 PM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – February 22, 2021– The Virginia Film Festival has announced that it will partner with the Virginia Festival of the Book for the next installment of its popular Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation Series. Presented as part of the all-virtual 2021 Virginia Festival of the Book on Tuesday, March 23 at 4:00 PM, the livestreamed conversation with author Mark Harris will focus on his new biography Mike Nichols: A Life. The conversation will be moderated by filmmaker and VAFF Associate Programmer Joe Fab.

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

Pre-registration for Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation with Mark Harris is required to attend the live discussion and is available at virginiafilmfestival.org/year_round/mark-harris. This event, like all in the Beyond the Screen series, is free and open to the public. A recording of the conversation will be archived on the VAFF’s YouTube channel. Mike Nichols: A Life by Mark Harris can be purchased locally from the UVA Bookstore.

With this acclaimed new biography, Mark Harris, the acclaimed author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back as well as a writer and columnist with New York Magazine, offers brilliant detail and rich insight to explore the life, work, struggle, and passion of an artist and a man in constant motion. It is the first full-scale biography of Mike Nichols, whose career spanned roles, genres, and decades, starting with his work as an improv comedian with Elaine May before he moved on to become one of America’s leading film and stage directors. His credits include iconic films like The Graduate, for which he won an Academy Award, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Other credits include Catch-22, Carnal Knowledge, Silkwood, Working Girl, The Birdcage, and Charlie Wilson’s War. On Broadway, Nichols’ legendary collaborations with Neil Simon earned Tony Awards for Barefoot in the Park (his Broadway directorial debut); Luv; and The Odd Couple. Nichols would go on to direct and/or produce 25 Broadway plays, earning six Tony Awards in all. Nichols is a member of the entertainment industry’s exclusive “EGOT” club, having also won multiple Emmy Awards and a Grammy for his comedy work with Ms. May.

Harris takes writers inside one of the entertainment industry’s most extraordinary careers and lives. Born Igor Peschkowsky to a Jewish couple in Berlin in 1931, Nichols and his younger brother arrived in America by ship in 1939. His was a true underdog story, a young boy who was a lonely outsider and who endured constant bullying thanks, in part, to an allergic reaction that left him hairless. Harris details Nichols’ improbable rise to the center of so many cultural universes, thanks to his keen powers of observation and razor-sharp wit. Harris details a life in full, combining more than 250 interviews, including some of the boldest bold-faced names in the worlds of entertainment and culture to highlight Nichols’ professional triumphs and personal struggle. Mike Nichols: A Life provides a never-before-seen look at one of the most fascinating, complicated, and consequential figures the worlds of theater and motion pictures have ever seen.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mark Harris for this Beyond the Screen event to talk about his extraordinary book and to share this inside look at one of the most powerful creative forces of his time,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia.

“We look forward to another terrific collaboration with the Virginia Film Festival,” said Jane Kulow, Director of the Virginia Festival of the Book. “What a perfect opportunity to bring our respective audiences together to hear from a remarkable writer about a project that is the talk of both the literary and entertainment worlds.”

Moderator Joe Fab is an award-winning and Emmy-nominated producer, director, and writer with 40 years of experience in documentary film production, media, communications, event production, and live presentation of plays and music. He is also an Associate Programmer with the Virginia Film Festival. Best known for the theatrical/HBO documentary Paper Clips, Fab’s most recent documentary about medical aid in dying entitled When My Time Comes, hosted by NPR’s Diane Rehm, premieres on PBS in April 2021.

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

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

The 27th annual Virginia Festival of the Book will take place virtually, March 13-26, 2021, with a full schedule of engaging discussions for all ages and interests. For more information, visit vabook.org.