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

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

Beyond the Screen: A Conversation on “The Little Things”


Join the Virginia Film Festival for a virtual conversation on the new psychological thriller The Little Things, featuring the film’s writer/director John Lee Hancock and producer Mark Johnson, and moderated by Emmy Award-winning journalist Elizabeth Flock. Starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto, The Little Things follows two California sheriffs as they attempt to hunt down a serial killer terrorizing Los Angeles. The film premieres Friday, January 29 on HBO Max and in select theaters. 

This event is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s Beyond the Screen: A Virtual Conversation Series. 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 past and upcoming virtual conversations, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/year-round-events.

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

More about the film: 

Academy Award winners Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto star in Warner Bros’ new and much-anticipated psychological thriller The Little Things. Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Washington) is sent to Los Angeles for what should have been a quick evidence-gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. Leading the hunt, L.A. Sheriff Department Sergeant Jim Baxter (Malek), impressed with Deke’s cop instincts, unofficially engages his help. But as they track the killer, Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.

The film will be released on Friday January 29, 2021 both in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. The film is rated R for violent/disturbing images, language, and full nudity.

More about the participants:

JOHN LEE HANCOCK, WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: A member of the VAFF Advisory Board, John Lee Hancock is a film writer, director, and producer based in Los Angeles. Born in Texas, John practiced law in Houston with a JD from Baylor University before moving to California to found the Legal Aliens Theatre Company. His writing credits include A Perfect WorldMidnight in the Garden of Good and EvilThe AlamoSnow White and the Huntsman, and The Blind Side. John has directed The RookieThe AlamoThe Blind SideSaving Mr. Banks, and The Founder, and coproduced My Dog Skip as well as the television show Falcone with VAFF Advisory Board Chairman Mark Johnson.  John most recently wrote, directed, and produced Netflix’s The Highwaymen, starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson about the Texas Rangers who came out of retirement to hunt down and kill Bonnie and Clyde. John is currently the producer of the upcoming Heaven of Hell for Paramount Network. John serves as an advisor at the Sundance Institute Screenwriting Lab, part time faculty at American Film Institute, an Advisory Board member of the Austin Film Festival, and is on the Board of Trustees of The Thacher School.

MARK JOHNSON, PRODUCER: Chair of the VAFF Advisory Board, Mark Johnson is both an Oscar (Rain Man) and an Emmy (Breaking Bad) winner who has produced over forty films and television shows. Johnson produced all of the writer-director Barry Levinson’s films from 1982-1994. In addition to Rain Man, their diverse slate of acclaimed features includes Good Morning, VietnamThe NaturalTin MenAvalonDiner, and Bugsy, nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. His slate of motion pictures includes The Chronicles of Narnia franchise and David Chase’s Not Fade Away. He produced Alfonso Cuaron’s A Little PrincessThe Notebook, based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling novel; Lance Hammer’s Sundance award-winning film Ballast; the Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver sci-fi comedy Galaxy QuestThe Rookie directed by John Lee Hancock; Mike Newell’s gangster drama Donnie Brasco starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino; and Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World starring Kevin Costner. He produced the 2017 Alexander Payne film Downsizing starring Matt Damon, as well as Simon Baker’s directorial debut Breath, an adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel of the same name. In 2019, he completed El Camino, directed by Vince Gilligan. 2021 releases include Warner Bros’ The Little Things, directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto, and Fever Dream for Netflix, directed by Claudia Llosa, adapted from the novel by Samanta Schweblin. Beyond the big screen, Johnson has executive produced the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning drama Breaking Bad, the Peabody-winning Rectify, and the AMC original, Halt and Catch Fire. He is also the executive producer of the Emmy nominated drama, Better Call Saul, which is in pre-production for its sixth and final season. Johnson is a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served for eighteen years as the Chair of the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Selection Committee.

ELIZABETH FLOCK, MODERATOR: Elizabeth Flock is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker with a focus on gender and justice. Her features and investigations have also appeared on the PBS NewsHour, in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and many other publications. She is currently at work on a book for Harper entitled Conversations with Athena: When Women Fight Back, about women who wield violence to get justice, and the repercussions they face. Her first book, The Heart is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai, won a Nautilus Book Award in 2018 in the reporting/investigative category for books that inspire and make a difference. Her journalism work is often investigative, immersive, and long-term. Most recently, Flock published an investigation into court-ordered drug testing in Alabama for the PBS NewsHour, and an investigation into use of force in her then-home county jail for Searchlight New Mexico. Prior to that, she wrote an essay for the Atlantic chronicling the mental health effects of COVID-19 and a story for Cosmopolitan documenting the impact of the virus on domestic violence. Earlier in 2020, she published a feature piece in the New Yorker magazine about a woman facing life in prison in Alabama for killing a man she said had raped her and threatened her life, and how women with persuasive self-defense claims continue to be charged with murder. She also ran the NewsHour-New York Times book club called “Now Read This” from 2017-2019 which is devoted to reading books that help us better understand our past and present. Flock currently lives in Los Angeles.


Thursday, February 4


3:00 PM


Virtual Discussion