Virginia Film Festival and Violet Crown Charlottesville Announce 2020 Year-Round Film Series

VAFF at Violet Crown Features Series of One-Time-Only Screenings, Beginning with
Takashi Miike’s First Love on Tuesday, February 18

Charlottesville, VA – January 22, 2019 – The Virginia Film Festival has announced the return of the VAFF at Violet Crown Series, a collaboration with Violet Crown Charlottesville that features a year-round, co-curated selection of films. This year’s series will begin on Tuesday, February 18 with Takashi Miike’s First Love.

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.

Additional dates and titles announced for the series include iconic animator Hayao Miyazski’s Academy Award-winning animated film Spirited Away on March 17; Animation Show of Shows on April 21; He Dreams of Giants on May 19; and And Then We Danced on June 16. All screenings will start at 7:30 PM, and tickets will be available one month prior to the screening date at violetcrown.com.

Takashi Miike, the prolific Japanese director of over 100 films, returns with a hysterically absurd crime thriller. Set against the Japanese underworld of the Yakuza and blending romance and slapstick with his signature over-the-top action and ultra-violence, Miike’s First Love follows Leo, a boxer who has just been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, and Yuri, whose father has sold her to pay off his debts, as they passionately fall in love over the course of one night in Tokyo. When the two go on the run after a chance meeting, they find themselves at the center of a gang war and must rely on each other in order to survive the night in Miike’s wildly inventive and hilarious take on the gangster genre. First Love first screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film is in Japanese with English subtitles. An introduction will be offered by Miyabi Goto, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate in East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures at UVA.

Perhaps the most widely acclaimed of animator Hayao Miyazaki’s iconic films, Spirited Away received the Academy Award for Best Animated Film at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003, and remains the highest grossing Japanese film in history. When her parents are transformed into animals, ten-year-old Chihiro must navigate a spirit world to win back their freedom. Put to work in a magical bathhouse for spirits and demons, Chihiro must use all her wits to survive in this strange new place, and to find a way to free her parents and return to the normal world. Hayao Miyazaki’s wondrous fantasy adventure is a dazzling masterpiece from one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animation. The film is presented in collaboration with the Virginia Festival of the Book and will feature an introduced and post-screening book signing by Book Festival guest Susan Napier, author of Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art. The film is in Japanese with English subtitles.

The Animation Show of Shows returns for its 21st year to present 10 thought-provoking, poignant, and very funny animated shorts from around the world. This year’s works explore the facets of personal relationships, as well as the diverse challenges we all face. Among the program highlights is the Academy Award-nominated puppet animation Daughter, a moving exploration of the relationship between father and daughter. The computer animated The Fox and the Bird is a beautifully observed fable chronicling the friendship between the title characters. Hounds is a story by Amit Cohen and Ido Shapira about story of a dog who undergoes a change when a pack of wild hounds gathers near his house. The very funny Rubicon, by Gil Alkabetz, explores the classic riddle about how to ferry a wolf, a sheep, and a cabbage across a river without something getting eaten.

From the team behind Lost in La Mancha and The Hamster Factor, He Dreams of Giants is the culmination of a trilogy of documentaries that have followed film director Terry Gilliam over a twenty-five-year period. For over thirty years, Terry Gilliam has dreamed of creating a screen adaptation of Don Quixote. When he first attempted the production in 2000, Gilliam already had the reputation of being a bit of a Quixote himself: a filmmaker whose stories of visionary dreamers raging against gigantic forces mirrored his own artistic battles with the Hollywood machine. The collapse of that infamous and ill-fated production only further cemented Gilliam’s reputation as an idealist chasing an impossible dream. The film picks up Gilliam’s story seventeen years later as he finally mounts the production once again and combines immersive verité footage of Gilliam’s production with intimate interviews and archival footage from the director’s entire career, He Dreams of Giants is a meditation on the value of creativity in the face of mortality.

A passionate tale of love and liberation set amidst the conservative confines of modern Georgian society, And Then We Danced sparked violent anti-protests when screened in Georgia due to its themes of homosexuality set against the conservative and traditional culture of Georgian dance. The film follows Merab, a devoted dancer who has been training for years with his partner Mary for a spot in the National Georgian Ensemble. The arrival of another male dancer, Irakli—gifted with perfect form and equipped with a rebellious streak—throws Merab off balance, sparking both an intense rivalry and romantic desire that may cause him to risk his future in dance as well as his relationships with Mary and his family. The film is in Georgian with English subtitles.

The Virginia Film Festival will celebrate its 33rd year this fall with dates and details coming soon! For more information on the VAFF, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.