Publicity photos available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/virginiafilmfestival/
Highly-Anticipated David Chase Feature Not Fade Away To Kick Off Weekend, Featuring Over 100 Films Including Sneak Peeks at Award-Season Contenders, Exciting Indie Discoveries, Fascinating Documentaries, Beloved Classics, And More
Legendary Reporter Carl Bernstein Set To Join Bob Woodward for All The President’s Men Screening and Discussion; Other Guests To Include Actors Matthew Lillard, Marc Singer and Keith Carradine; Noted Documentarian Ross McElwee; Acclaimed Journalist Nick Clooney; Filmmaking Debut of Dave Matthews Band’s Boyd Tinsley, Among Others
More Films and Guests Expected To Be Announced;
Tickets Go On Sale Friday, October 5
Charlottesville, VA – October 2, 2012 – The Virginia Film Festival will celebrate its 25th Anniversary from November 1-4 in Charlottesville with an impressive slate of more than 100 films and a roster of special guests representing the worlds of film, politics, and popular culture.
The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia’s College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Fresh from three consecutive years of record-breaking attendance and sales, the Festival will kick off its quarter-century celebration with an opening night screening of Sopranos creator David Chase’s highly-anticipated film Not Fade Away. The film, chosen as the centerpiece film of the prestigious New York Film Festival, is produced by Academy Award®-winning producer Mark Johnson and stars James Gandolfini.
The screening will be preceded by opening remarks by Virginia Film Festival Director Jody Kielbasa and by the presentation of “Founders Awards” to Patricia Kluge and former Virginia Governor, Gerald Baliles, who together are credited with founding the Festival in 1988. The evening will also include a special proclamation from Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell honoring noted producer, U.Va. graduate and Film Festival Advisory Board Chair Mark Johnson’s 25 years of service and support.
“We look forward to celebrating the remarkable history of the Virginia Film Festival and to honoring those individuals whose creativity, vision and guidance helped get us where we are today,” Kielbasa said at a press conference on Tuesday. “It is truly an honor and a privilege to be in a position to lead the Festival in this anniversary year. I am proud to build upon the legacy that was established before I got here, while working with our talented staff and incredibly supportive advisory board to build exciting new traditions.”
Once again this year, the Virginia Film Festival will mix a collection of advance screenings of some of the most celebrated films of this festival season with beloved classics, powerful documentaries covering some of the most important issues of our time, entertaining short films, and more. “I feel like this is far and away the strongest film program we have had in my four years here,” Kielbasa said, “and I think audiences will be particularly interested in the wide range of themes and ideas represented.”
In addition to the Opening Night Film, the Festival will continue its tradition of presenting a Saturday night Centerpiece Film and a Closing Night Film on Sunday. Both of these titles, Kielbasa said, will be announced within the next two weeks. “We are in the enviable position of having a lot of wonderful opportunities in terms of the films we are being offered, and we are currently working carefully with our advisory board to screen even more of the most highly-anticipated films of the Fall season and to confirm guest artists to accompany them. Stay tuned for an announcement on these very soon.”
Among this year’s Spotlight Screenings at the Festival will be:
A Late Quartet – Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos, and insuppressible lust in this highly-anticipated film by director Yaron Zilberman and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, and Catherine Keener
Between Us – Starring Julia Stiles and based on the hit Off-Broadway play of the same name, this story explores the bittersweet friendship of two couples as they realize their lives are tarnished by money, success, sex, and children. The film’s award-winning director Dan Mirvish, founder of the Slamdance Film Festival, will be on hand to present and discuss the film.
The Details – A seemingly innocuous suburban pest problem sets off a chain reaction that includes domestic tension, infidelity, and murder in this dark comedy starring Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, and Laura Linney.
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey – The rags-to-riches tale of a young Filipino man plucked from obscurity (thanks to the power of YouTube) to become the new lead singer for the rock band Journey.
The Man with the Iron Fists – Hip-hop superstar RZA wrote (with Eli Roth), stars in, and directs this “Quentin Tarantino Presents” action adventure that tells the epic tale of warriors, assassins, and a lone outsider who descend upon a village in feudal China to engage in a winner-takes-all battle for gold.
The Sapphires – Four young Australian Aboriginal girls in 1968 learn about love, friendship, and war when they entertain the U.S. troops in Vietnam.
The Stand Up Guys – Al Pacino and Christoper Walken star as aging con men trying to get the band back together one last time before one of them takes on a final assignment…to kill the other one!
On Tuesday, Kielbasa shared an exciting addition to the inaugural Presidency in Film series screening of the 1976 Academy Award-winning All the President’s Men. Joining the previously-announced Bob Woodward for the event will be legendary journalist Carl Bernstein, reuniting the pair who many believe changed political journalism forever. “We are delighted to be partnering with The Miller Center and Governor Baliles to present this series, and to kick it off with this exciting event,” Kielbasa said. “Whenever we can bring a part of our country’s history to light here at the Festival by bringing in the people who actually made and participated in that history, we see that as a gift to the community.”
The Presidency in Film series will also include a screening of Hyde Park on Hudson, the new film by director Richard Michell. The film stars Bill Murray and Laura Linney and offers a look at the relationship between F.D.R. and his distant cousin Margaret Stuckley in the context of a 1939 weekend visit from the King and Queen of England.
Other special guests scheduled to appear at the 25th Anniversary Virginia Film Festival will include:
- Award-winning actor Keith Carradine, who first burst to fame in 1975 with his performance and Academy Award-winning song “I’m Easy” in Robert Altman’s Nashville, is known to audiences for decades of high profile roles in films like Pretty Baby, The Longriders, and HBO’s Deadwood. Carradine will present and discuss The Duellists, the first feature by Ridley Scott, in which he starred with Harvey Keitel.
- Longtime newsman and documentary film producer Nick Clooney, will present the critically-acclaimed documentary Journey to Darfur, which he made with his superstar son George, and which shines a light on the rampant genocide ripping apart that region.
- Actor, director, and producer Matthew Lillard, known for his work in the Scream series as well as his role as the “other man” in The Descendants, will present his directorial debut with Fat Kid Rules the World. The film tells the story of a suicidal teen whose life is turned around by a charming high school dropout who convinces him, much to his father’s dismay, to join a punk rock band.
- Renowned documentarian Ross McElwee returns to the Virginia Film Festival for the first time since 1994, presenting his acclaimed Photographic Memory along with his classic Sherman’s March, which is on the National Film Registry and part of the Festival’s 2012 Library of Congress series.
- Actor Marc Singer, known for his role in the Beastmaster film series and for his role as Mike Donovan in the original television series V, will come to the Festival with the world premiere of his latest film, House Hunting, directed by local filmmaker Eric Hurt.
- Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band will present his first foray into filmmaking, the psychedelic drama Faces in the Mirror, which captures a man’s dream-like journey on the day of his father’s funeral.
Particularly given the timing of this year’s Festival, the proceedings will have a distinctly political flavor, Kielbasa said, “This is something I have talked about from day one. As everybody knows, the Festival will take place mere days away from the national election. Even though we don’t have an overarching theme, each year we explore a number of sidebars. This year, we will have a number of films that take a look at some of today’s most hotly-debated political issues, as well as some of the most iconic political figures of our time.”
Many of these films are among the highlights of a documentary program that has long been at the heart of the Virginia Film Festival, and one Kielbasa says is particularly strong this year. “Our association with the University of Virginia allows us to rely on its creative and intellectual firepower to explore a wide range of issues that resonate both here in our community and throughout the world, to provide our audiences with fresh perspectives on these issues.”
One of these films, Ethel, boasts its own unique University of Virginia connection. The film, which is presented in conjunction with the U.Va. Center for Politics, is a fascinating and loving look at the life of Ethel Kennedy through the eyes of her accomplished filmmaker daughter Rory. It includes Ethel and Bobby Kennedy’s time in Charlottesville while he studied at the U.Va. School of Law, and will be presented in Old Cabell Hall. The screening comes 59 years after Kennedy engineered an historic talk there by civil rights leader and then U.N. Ambassador Dr. Ralph Bunche. Ambassador Bunche had insisted he would only speak to a fully integrated audience, and the event became the first of its kind, not only at U.Va., but in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Appearing with the film will be Bobby and Ethel’s ninth child, Max Kennedy. The Festival will also spotlight another civil rights legend with deep U.Va. ties, in the new documentary Julian Bond, by Charlottesville-based filmmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley.
Among the other politically-themed documentaries planned for this year’s Festival include Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare (featuring the University of Virginia Department of Emergency Medicine); Five Broken Cameras, a fresh take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through one photographer’s often-battered lenses; Slavery by Another Name, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon’s look at whether slavery in America actually ended with the Emancipation Proclamation; Love Free or Die, a look at the first openly-gay Bishop in the historic traditions of Christendom; and The Other City, which takes on the ravages of HIV and AIDS on our Nation’s Capital.
Kielbasa said he was particularly excited to welcome back internationally-acclaimed documentarian Ross McElwee and his new film, Photographic Memory. “When Ross McElwee first came to the Festival in 1994, he brought his son Adrian, who at the time was just about 10 years old,’ Kielbasa said. “What’s really fascinating about this is that Ross will bring his son once again to show a film that is essentially about the relationship journey they have gone on over the years. We are delighted to welcome them both back to Charlottesville.”
Other documentary highlights of this year’s program include Hava Nagila, which uses the song as a springboard to explore Jewish culture and history while examining its broad cross-cultural appeal; and From Nothing, Something, which profiles leading thinkers from around the world to seek out the roots of their breakthrough ideas.
The Library of Congress Series
McElwee’s acclaimed documentary Sherman’s March will also be featured as part of The Library of Congress Series, which debuted at last year’s Festival. “This is a very important series for a number of reasons,” Kielbasa said, “The fact that the Library of Congress understands that film is a treasure for our country really elevates the importance of film as an art form, as an historical reference, and as a window into our culture.”
In addition to Sherman’s March, this year’s series will include the 1926 silent classic Sparrows (featuring live musical accompaniment by Festival veteran Matt Marshall, starring Mary Pickford, All the President’s Men, and the 1962 political thriller The Manchurian Candidate. The Manchurian Candidate screening will feature a discussion with “The History Guys,” the trio of historians behind the NPR sensation “Backstory.” They include: “18th Century Guy” Peter Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Professor of History, Emeritus at the University of Virginia; “19th Century Guy” Ed Ayers, current President of the University of Richmond and former Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at U.Va.; and “20th Century History Guy” Brian Balogh, Compton Professor of History at U.Va.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Also serving as the centerpiece of the Festival’s annual Family Day celebration on Saturday, November 3, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be presented in a special free, 75th Anniversary screening at the The Paramount Theater. “I am absolutely thrilled that we are able to give audiences this rare opportunity to catch a film that is not only a beloved family favorite, but an incredibly important piece of film history,” Kielbasa said. “It is the first full-length cell animated feature ever made, the first animated feature to be produced in the United States, the first to be produced in full color, and, according to the American Film Institute, the greatest animated film of all time.”
Virginia Filmmakers – Ready for Their Close-ups
The Festival will continue another important tradition this year – spotlighting the outstanding work of filmmakers from right here in the Commonwealth – including an exciting world premiere and the filmmaking debut of one of Charlottesville’s own most celebrated musical sons, among other films.
Receiving its world premiere at the Paramount on Saturday, November 3 will be House Hunting, a horror film written and directed by Charlottesville’s Eric Hurt about two families with no way out of a haunted open house. Joining the filmmaker and extensive local crew and production team will be the film’s stars, Marc Singer, Hayley DuMond, and Art LaFleur. “We’re really excited to showcase this work by a very talented regional filmmaker,” Kielbasa said, “with a film shot right here in the Commonwealth and featuring stars that our audiences will surely recognize. It’s a film that is sure to deliver a serious scare to its audience, and we look forward to what promises to be an exciting premiere event.”
Another filmmaker making a debut at the Festival is known by millions for a different set of talents. Charlottesville native Boyd Tinsley of The Dave Matthews Band will present Faces in the Mirror, a music-fueled psychedelic drama about one man’s dreamlike journey on the day of his father’s funeral.
Other local and regional films and filmmakers represented this year include:
- Documentary filmmaker Sarah Dupont’s Amazon Gold follows noted journalist (and Deputy Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review) Donovan Webster on a quest to uncover the truth behind environmentally devastating gold mining practices in the Amazon.
- It’s Only (a) Natural follows Richmond-based model and actress Yolanda Lee as she cuts off her trademark curly afro, transforming a documentary about black women’s hair into an intimate portrait of one woman’s struggle to redefine our notions of beauty.
- Marc Adams’ documentary Something in the Water, a look at Charlottesville’s thriving music scene, features 60+ bands, singer/songwriters, club owners, street musicians, and others who tackle the question: why is this small town so musically rich?
The Virginia Film Festival continues its longstanding tradition of presenting some of the most prominent films on the international scene with a strong lineup, including:
- Amour (Austria/France/Germany) – This winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival stars Isabelle Huppert as the daughter of an aging couple whose relationship is severely tested by a health crisis, and marks the second Palme d’Or win for filmmaker Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon)
- Barbara (Germany) – A talented young doctor at a new hospital in East Germany in 1980 is punished when she applies for an exit visa, and risks everything with a plan to escape to Poland with her lover. The film was recently submitted for Academy Award consideration in the Best Foreign Film category.
- Sister (France/Switzerland) – Also submitted for Academy Award consideration, this is the story of a 12-year-old boy whose thieving scheme to provide for his mother and sister plunges him into dangerous territory.
- In Another Country (Korea) – A film student and her mother escape their mounting debt, relocating in a seaside town where the student begins capturing the very different stories of three French women who each interact with the same people and places.
- Mekong Hotel (Thailand) – Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s follow-up feature to his Palme d’Or-winning Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, a hit at the VFF in 2010. An experimental departure for the director, the film blends elements of romance, sci-fi, and documentary to take a lyrical and perplexing look at the inhabitants of a hotel on the Mekong River dividing Thailand and Laos.
- Polisse (France) – Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, this film is a richly textured drama that follows the daily lives of a tight-knit team of men and women in the Child Protection Unit of the Parisian police.
- Alps (Greece) – This darkly funny absurdist comedy from renowned director Giorgios Lanthimos is about a nurse, a paramedic, a gymnast, and her coach who form a bizarre service for hire…standing in for dead people by appointment.
The Virginia Film Festival will share its 25th Anniversary celebration with community members of all ages with its annual Family Day on Saturday, November 3. The event will feature a free and interactive street fair with live performances and family activities throughout the day, and a free screening of the all-time Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the big screen at The Paramount Theater.
Meanwhile, the Festival’s Young Filmmakers Academy, under the direction of VFF Outreach and Education Coordinator Jane Freeman, is back for its fourth year with a record 460 elementary school and middle school students presenting the short films they have created with help of Virginia Film Festival student mentors.
Middle and High School Screening – Chasing Ice
Once again this year, the Virginia Film Festival is proud to present a special screening for middle and high school students from throughout the region. Regularly drawing as many as 1,000 students, these screenings offer a rare chance for students to see films on top-of-mind topics in our world and hear directly from the filmmakers and people profiled. This year’s selection is Chasing Ice, the unforgettable story of internationally renowned National Geographic photographer James Balog and his dramatic quest to reveal the Earth’s most visible signs of global climate change in a truly unique way. The film will also be presented in a public screening on Friday, November 2 at 4:15 at Newcomb Hall Theater.
Digital Media Gallery
Also back for a fourth year is the Digital Media Gallery, a forum for experimental filmmakers by students of U.Va. film professor and noted filmmaker Kevin Everson. The films will be shared with the public in a gallery setting on the Downtown Mall beginning on October 26th, and the exhibit will run through the Festival’s conclusion.
Adrenaline Film Project
Gentlemen (and ladies)…start your cameras! The highly-caffeinated Adrenaline Film Project is back for its 9th year with its usual mix of fast-paced action and boundless creativity. Twelve teams of filmmakers will have 72 hours to write, shoot, edit, and screen their short films for a competitive screening featuring packed house of fans and panel of film industry judges. The Adrenaline screening will take place on Saturday, November 3 at 10:00 p.m. at Newcomb Theater on the Grounds of the University.
Parties and Events
The 25th Anniversary of the Virginia Film Festival is certainly a cause for celebration! And there will be some great opportunities to do just that throughout the weekend. Highlights will include:
- The Opening Night Gala – Thursday, November 1
The Jefferson Theater – Downtown Mall – 9:30 p.m. (21 and over event)
Kick off the anniversary year in style thanks to this Old Hollywood salute to the Festival that was…and is! Beverages, light buffet refreshments and big band-style sounds will help set the scene for a stylish kickoff to the jam-packed weekend. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are $75.00 per person.
- Late Night Wrap Party – Saturday, November 3
Main Street Arena, Downtown Mall – 10:00 p.m. (21 and over event)
Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s…1988! Take a trip back in time to the Festival’s founding days with a salute to the roaring 80’s, with a healthy dose of 2012 mixed in for good measure! The party is open to the public and a great way to celebrate the Festival with the people who made it happen! Tickets for the Late Night Wrap Party are $35.00.
Again, additional premieres and special guests will be announced in the weeks between now and the Festival.
For a full schedule and complete information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org. Tickets will go on sale Friday, October 5 via that website, in-person at the U.Va. Arts Box Office (at Culbreth Theatre) and via phone at 434-924-3376. Press images are also available at www.flickr.com/photos/virgniafilmfestival/.
Premiere sponsors for the 2012 Virginia Film Festival are The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the AV Company, The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), Flow Automotive Companies, Regal Entertainment Group, and the Virginia Film Office.