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

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

News & Press

Virginia Film Festival To Welcome Visionary Filmmaker Boots Riley for Advance Screening of New Prime Video Series I’M A VIRGO

by Ilya Tovbis on April 7, 2023

Visionary Filmmaker Boots Riley Presents New Series I’M A VIRGO

Charlottesville, VA – APRIL 4, 2023 – The Virginia Film Festival announced today that it will welcome director-writer-activist-musician Boots Riley for an advance screening of four episodes of his upcoming series I’m a Virgo, followed by a moderated conversation and Q&A on Tuesday, April 25 at 7:00 PM at Violet Crown Charlottesville. The series is set to premiere this summer on Prime Video.

The event is co-presented with UVA Arts and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts, and is part of the Festival’s year-round film series, VAFF at Violet Crown.

Activist, filmmaker, and musician, Boots Riley studied film at San Francisco State University before rising to prominence as the front man of hip-hop groups The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club. His debut feature film Sorry to Bother You premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, was acquired by Annapurna Pictures, and was released to resounding box office success and widespread critical acclaim. He is the recipient of the Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Feature Film, and SFFILM’s Kanbar Award.

Fervently dedicated to social change, Boots was deeply involved with the Occupy Oakland movement and was one of the leaders of the activist group The Young Comrades. His book of lyrics and anecdotes, Tell Homeland Security-We Are The Bomb, is out on Haymarket Press.

“We are very excited to welcome Boots Riley to Charlottesville,” said VAFF Senior Programmer Ilya Tovbis, “and to share this highly anticipated Prime Video series which he created, wrote, directed, and executive produced. He is one of the most original, dynamic, and thought-provoking artists working today—his unique blend of activism and on-screen storytelling demands to be seen, discussed, and grappled with, and to have the chance to do so with Boots Riley in person is truly special.”

In addition to the public event, Riley will be meeting with UVA students through classroom visit. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for UVA students to hear from and interact with a vibrant, vital, and multifaceted artist,” said VAFF Director and UVA Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “We are so thankful to Boots Riley for taking the time and energy to share his story and so pleased to be able to provide this experience.”

Riley created, wrote, and executive produced I’m a Virgo, a darkly-comedic coming-of-age joyride about Cootie (Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us, Moonlight), a 13-foot-tall young Black man in Oakland, CA. Having grown up hidden away, passing time on a diet of comic books and TV shows, he escapes to experience the beauty and contradictions of the real world. He forms friendships, finds love, navigates awkward situations, and encounters his idol, the real-life superhero named The Hero, played by Walton Goggins (Hateful 8, Righteous Gemstones).

The cast of I’m a Virgo also includes Brett Gray (On My Block, Star Trek: Prodigy), Tony-nominated and Obie-winning actor Kara Young (The Punisher), Allius Barnes (Cruel Summer), Olivia Washington (Breaking), Mike Epps (The Upshaws, Dolomite Is My Name), and Carmen Ejogo (True Detective, Fantastic Beasts).  

I’m a Virgo is co-produced by Amazon Studios and Media Res Studio. Boots Riley and Tze Chun (Gotham) are the series co-showrunners and serve as executive producers, alongside Michael Ellenberg and Lindsey Springer for Media Res Studio (Pachinko, The Morning Show), Rebecca Rivo (Escape Room), and Jharrel Jerome. The series features original music and score by art pop duo Tune-Yards.

I’m a Virgo made its world debut as an official selection of SXSW Film & TV Festival in March 2023 and will premiere this summer exclusively on Prime Video. Tickets to the VAFF screening and discussion are $13 adult; $11 student, child, and senior; and available purchase at violetcrown.com. For more information, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/im-a-virgo.

The 36th Annual Virginia Film Festival will take place from October 25-29, 2023, in Charlottesville. For more information on VAFF and its year-round programs, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.

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