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 Launches 2024 Year-Round Series

by John Kelly on January 11, 2024


Food Lover’s Dream is an Immersive Look Inside the Artistry and Industry of Michelin Three-Star Restaurant 

Series Continues with Anniversary Screening of Acclaimed Documentary Paper Clips and Asmae El Moudirs The Mother of all Lies 

Charlottesville, VA – January 11, 2024 The Virginia Film Festival will launch its 2024 VAFF at Violet Crown Series on January 23 with legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s latest film, Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros at 6:00 PM at Violet Crown.  

Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros, the 44th film of a career in which Wiseman has breathed life into a fascinating variety of institutions, offers a sumptuous and luxurious look inside the work and lives of the Troisgros family and their three restaurants: Troisgros, Le Central, and Colline located in neighboring locations in central France. Troisgos, the focus of much of the film, was founded 93 years ago and has maintained three Michelin stars for the past 55 years, in addition to adding a Michelin green star for exemplary sustainable practices in 2020.  

In typical Wiseman fashion, the 93-year-old filmmaker lets his camera and subjects tell the story of a family culinary dynasty while capturing the hard work and soaring inspiration that allows them to achieve high artistry on a constant and uncompromising quest for perfection.  

Over the course of the film’s four hours, Wiseman treats audiences to the ultimate insider’s view of the family’s approach to excellence. There are spirited debates among a trio of head chefs: César Troisgros, the fourth generation of his family to head up the restaurant, and his two sons who are also head chefs. A buying trip to a local farmer’s market and another to a cheese market, a visit to a cattle ranch and an organic farm. And of course, plenty of time in the restaurant itself, where ingenuity and dedication are poured into every effort and moment, from preparation to presentation, to create a dining experience like no other.  

Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros has earned great acclaim at recent high-profile festivals including winning Best Non-Fiction Film honors from the New York Film Critics Circle Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association at the end of 2023. Critics have unanimously agreed, with The Hollywood Reporter calling the film “Both a food lover’s dream and an aspiring chef’s guidebook,” and The New York Times hailing it as “absorbing from start to finish.” 

Tickets for the Tuesday, January 23 at 6:00 PM screening of Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros are $13 adult; $11 student, child, and senior; and available for purchase at violetcrown.com.  

The year-round series will continue in February with a free 20th anniversary screening of the award-winning documentary Paper Clips, followed by a discussion with the film’s writer, producer, and co-director, Joe Fab, moderated by film producer and VAFF Advisory Board member Diane Naughton.  

Paper Clips is the moving story of how a group of students at a school in the tiny community of Whitwell, Tennessee took on an inspiring project launched out of their principal’s desire to help the young people in this largely white, Christian community open their eyes to the diversity of the world beyond their insulated valley. The project’s results would not only fundamentally change the students, their families, their teachers, and the entire town – it would open hearts and minds around the world. Following a unit on the Holocaust, which many were hearing about for the first time, the students made a promise to honor each lost soul by collecting paper clips representing every individual exterminated by the Nazis. The simple but profound plan resulted in a memorial railcar filled with 11 million paper clips which stands permanently in their schoolyard as an unforgettable lesson in the ways that a committed group of educators and children can change the world – one classroom at a time.  

This special screening of Paper Clips will be held on Wednesday, February 7 at 7:00 PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Given limited seating capacity, reservations are required and can be made virginiafilmfestival.org/paperclips.  

The VAFF at Violet Crown series will also present The Mother of all Lies, a documentary that finds director Asmae El Moudir seeking to make sense of the intricate web of lies and deception that is her family history. Beginning by examining why she has only one photograph of her childhood, the subject of which is not even her, the filmmaker creates a handmade replica of the Casablanca neighborhood where she grew up. She begins to interrogate the tales her mother, father, and grandfather have long told about their home and their country, in the process exposing layer upon layer of mistruths and intentional deception that have shaped her life and bringing impossibly hard truths to the surface.  

Tickets for the Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00 PM screening of The Mother of all Lies will go on sale in late January at violetcrown.com.  

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

The 37th annual Virginia Film Festival will take place in the Fall of 2024 in Charlottesville. For more information, visit virginiafilmfestival.org. The 2024 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.