Sept. 4, 2007 — Family secrets are usually well-kept. Just the same, the Virginia Film Festival is revealing a few of the surprises related to Kin Flicks, its upcoming 20th annual event, scheduled for Nov. 1-4, 2007.
"Since we announced the theme, the response from the community has been overwhelming," said Virginia Film Festival Artistic Director Richard Herskowitz. "So many great ideas poured in to my programming blog, that it seemed impossible to do justice to the huge theme of 'family' on film. I decided to try something new this year. We will focus on a few key directors who are doing powerful work on this theme, and show multiple films by each."
Herskowitz is not quite ready to spill all those names. The guest directors will be unveiled every week on the new Director's Blog at www.vafilm.com, beginning Sept. 4 up until Oct. 4, when the full program and the festival's most exciting announcements will be released.
"Many people told me they were pleased that the festival would be doing more programming for families to enjoy together this year," Herskowitz said. "We decided to exceed expectations and create a new special event, VFF Family Day, that we hope will become an annual highlight for years to come."
The first annual VFF Family Day will be presented in conjunction with the Virginia Discovery Museum, Light House and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Speech. It is set for Saturday, Nov. 3, and highlights will include:
• A participatory film production led by the Light House media center;
• Free admission to the Discovery Museum all day, with special art and film activities and exhibitions;
• A mini-festival of international short films for kids, presented in the City Hall chambers and programmed by Kids First;
• A mural contest and other activities at the First Amendment Wall;
• and $1 admission for kids under 12 to see the silent classic "Peter Pan" at The Paramount.
The "Peter Pan" screening will also feature both a local angle and a unique family tie. The 1924 silent film will be accompanied by the renowned keyboard/vocal team of Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton, who are longtime festival favorites. They will be joined by a chorus of Charlottesville children singing songs they are composing under the leadership of Paul Reisler (founder of Trapezoid and Kid Pan Alley) and acclaimed singer-songwriter Terri Allard. Reisler and Allard will be working with children, encouraging their natural creativity through songwriting, during a Charlottesville-Albemarle Kid Pan Alley elementary school residency this fall.
Introducing the program will be Hollywood screenwriter Stewart Stern. Stern is the nephew of Paramount Pictures founder Adolph Zukor, who was the Executive Producer of "Peter Pan." Now, from the stage of a theater once owned (as were all the Paramounts across the country) by his family, Stern will introduce his uncle's masterpiece. "Stern is a wonderful raconteur and I think audiences will be fascinated by his great knowledge about J.M. Barrie and Peter Pan," Herskowitz said.
Stewart Stern will also be conducting the first of two Regal Shot-by-Shot Workshops, one of the Festival's most popular annual events. Stern will explore in depth his iconic film, "Rebel Without a Cause," a film with a lot to say about the nuclear family and its rebellious discontents. The second Regal Shot-by-Shot Workshop will be devoted to an exploration of two films screening in the festival by Italian legend Luchino Visconti, "Sandra" and "Rocco and His Brothers." "We are delighted that, for our 20th annual event, U.Va. Film Studies Professor Walter Korte, who was instrumental in the founding of this Festival, will be sharing his vast knowledge of Visconti's genius. Shot-by-Shot fans are in for a truly special experience."
The festival will also feature the fourth year of the highly successful Adrenaline Film Project. Led by Jeff Wadlow and Beau Bauman, Adrenaline will launch 30 student and community filmmakers on a three-day filmmaking blitz, culminating in a public screening event that draws an enthusiastic packed house year after year.
Another popular festival feature making its return is Behind The Scenes: A Festival Symposium, conducted by noted film expert Harry Chotiner. The symposium will include 20 student and adult learners who will have special access to a variety of Festival guests for in-depth discussions.
In keeping with the Virginia Film Festival tradition, Kin Flicks will include more than a dozen new feature film Premiere Selections screening in advance of their national release.
And, as always, filmgoers can expect an extensive catalog of art exhibits, musical performances and gala parties related to the festival theme.
While he would love to divulge more family secrets, Herskowitz is, for the moment, forbidden by publicists to leave his room. However, since he can't be watched 24 hours a day, look for him to share some substantial nuggets with festival fans through his blog on the Virginia Film Festival website at www.vafilm.com.
The full schedule for Kin Flicks, the 20th Annual Virginia Film Festival, will be released on Oct. 4. Tickets for all events go on sale on October 5.
The Virginia Film Festival is hosted by the University of Virginia. For information on the Festival as well as information on the year-round activities of the Virginia Film Society, visit www.vafilm.com.