November 4, 2010 — The 23rd annual Virginia Film Festival, presented by the University of Virginia's College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, kicked off Thursday and runs through Sunday. Included in the more than 100 films and events in this year's lineup are a number with U.Va. ties – from events featuring faculty to alumni to a film about the history of Cavalier football and one about the murals in Old Cabell Hall.
• "Wahoowa: The History of Virginia Cavalier Football"
Friday, 10:30 a.m., Newcomb Hall Theater
Through rare archival photos and film, as well as interviews with historians, players and coaches, "Wahoowa: The History of Virginia Cavalier Football" provides an unprecedented look into the South's first college football program. From the despair of the 1950s as U.Va. endured the longest losing streak in college football history, to miraculously rise to a national No. 1 ranking three decades later, this film will fascinate history buffs and win the hearts of Wahoo fans everywhere as they witness a loose, upstart operation grow into one that would leave its imprint on the game of football forever.
• "Freedom Riders"
Friday, 6 p.m., Culbreth Theatre
Acclaimed documentarian Stanley Nelson returns to the Virginia Film Festival with the story of the more than 400 Americans who, in 1961, stared down the dangers of Deep South racial tensions to make a statement about segregation. Based on the book "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice," by Raymond Arsenault, the film offers interviews with many of the individuals involved, from the journalists who covered it and the politicians who stood against it, to the riders themselves, who overcame pressure from all sides to earn the attention of the federal government in their struggle to desegregate public highway transit. The film will be followed by a discussion moderated by U.Va. politics professor Larry Sabato, and including original Freedom Riders Dion Diamond Sr. and Joan Mulholland and the director.
• "The Murals of Lincoln Perry"
Directed by Bill Reifenberger
Saturday, 11:30 a.m., Old Cabell Hall
Many have seen the murals that line the walls of Old Cabell Hall, but how many know the inside story behind them? U.Va. media studies faculty member Bill Reifenberger's 2010 documentary, made 10 years after the installation of the 11-panel mural, reveals the creative process of artist Lincoln Perry's "The Student's Progress," which depicts a young woman's educational and social experiences throughout her college years. Admission is free, and the screening is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost of the Arts.
• "Breaking Bad"
Sunday, 11 a.m., Culbreth Theatre
Featuring the show's creator, Vince Gilligan, and executive producer and U.Va. alumnus Mark Johnson (producer of such films as "Rain Man," "Chronicles of Narnia" and many others). "Breaking Bad" has in many ways changed the rules of television drama over its three years on AMC. When high school teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is diagnosed with lung cancer and told his days are numbered, he realizes his responsibility to support his family after he is gone. Desperate for money to leave behind, he puts his chemistry skills to use … cooking meth. The show explores the extremes to which ordinary people will go in desperate situations. Cranston has won the Best Actor Emmy three years in a row for his portrayal of Walter White.
For a listing of all events and tickets, visit the Virginia Film Festival Headquarters at the Main Street Arena (formerly the Charlottesville Ice Park), 230 West Main St. on the Downtown Mall; the festival website; the U.Va. Arts Box Office (in the Drama Building on Culbreth Road) or call 434-924-3376.