FreedomRiders_2010 (9)School Screening

Every year the festival hosts a free screening of a socially relevant film for middle and high school students and their teachers.  Experts on film, ethics, and other disciplines speak to the subjects of the film after the screening, providing a fascinating and accessible out of the classroom lesson.

2013 School Screening: William and the Windmill

This year, our school screening was Friday, November 8, at 10 a.m. at Charlottesville High School in the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center (MLK PAC).  Our film was William and the Windmill, the story of a fourteen-year-old Malawian boy who built an electricity-generating windmill from rough plans in a library book in order to save his family’s  farm. In 2007, William gave a TED talk in Tanzania and attracted the attention of his future patron Tom Reilly. The documentary follows his transition from a farm boy helping his family survive to a celebrated, public figure pursuing his education and navigating the waters of success.

The screening was followed by a discussion with Ben Nabors, the director of William and the Windmill, Remy Pangle from the Virginia Center for Wind, and Joanna Williams from UVa’s Curry School of Education. More information and a teaching guide for this compelling and important film can be found below.

William and the Windmill Study Guide

We’ll be gearing up for next year’s Festival in Spring 2014. Check back for updates then, or contact Jane Freeman, VFF Outreach Coordinator, at

Past School Screenings

In January 2012 the Virginia Film Festival partnered with the U.Va. Office of Diversity and Equity and the Center for Politics to present the HBO Documentary Sing Your Song followed by a post-screening discussion with activist Harry Belafonte and Larry Sabato.

Also in 2012 the Festival presented Chasing Ice, a documentary about National Geographic photographer James Balog’s quest to document the disappearance of glacier landscapes using time-lapse photography. Chasing Ice Study Guide

The 2011 screening was The Loving Story, a documentary that chronicles the tale of Richard and Mildred Loving, the Virginia interracial couple who, in the 1960’s took their battle for acceptance all the way to the Supreme Court, and changed history in the process. The film was be presented along with a panel discussion organized by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The Loving Story Study Guide

In 2010, director Stanley Nelson and three of the original Freedom Riders participated in a discussion following Freedom Riders, a compelling documentary about non-violent civil rights activists willing to risk their lives for a cause. Freedom Riders Study Guide

In 2009, The Washington Post’s Liza Mundy, and UVA Center for Politics’ Larry Sabato participated in the discussion following Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Study Guide

2013 Virginia Film Festival

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