Gather the Clan: The 20th Virginia Film Festival Announces Its Theme

February 24, 2007
Feb. 25, 2007 – For its 20th annual event, scheduled from Nov. 1-4, 2007, the Virginia Film Festival is planning a special family gathering. The 2007 theme will be Kin Flicks, with more than a hundred speakers and films addressing popular and alternative images of family life.

Hosted by the University of Virginia, the Virginia Film Festival will take place at venues throughout Charlottesville. Designed as a four-day course on a cultural theme in which the public is invited to enroll, the Festival brings major talents to Charlottesville each year.

According to Festival director Richard Herskowitz, "We’re extending invitations to some classic movie moms (‘Mildred Pierce,’ ’All About My Mother‘ and ’Mommie Dearest‘) and dads (‘The Godfather‘ and ’The Shining‘). Since movies do such a good job of depicting them, we won’t close the door on dysfunctional families, including ’The Royal Tenenbaums‘ and the characters in two of this year’s Sundance highlights, ’Crazy Love‘ and ’Joshua‘ (produced by Charlottesville-based ATO Pictures)."

After a record-breaking year in which the Festival hosted such well-known guests as Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall and Liev Schreiber, Herskowitz said that he is already in pursuit of members of some of the great movie clans (Fondas, Douglases, Wilsons, Rossellinis and more). Expect daytime family films at the Paramount, and a focus on family-depicting genres from melodrama to classic TV sitcoms to home movies.

There will also be films about alternative family arrangements, including gay unions and marriages. "Fifty-eight percent of Virginians voted recently to deny marital rights to gay and lesbian couples, but 80 percent of Charlottesville voters disagreed. Our festival is noted for its great discussions, and we expect that some of our selections and speakers will rekindle the debate."

The Festival will bring back, for the fourth year, the highly successful ADRENALINE FILM PROJECT. Thirty student and community filmmakers will be launched on a three-day filmmaking blitz, culminating in an often-rowdy yet family-friendly public screening. Harry Chotiner will return to conduct BEHIND THE SCENES: A FESTIVAL SYMPOSIUM, where 20 student and adult learners meet Festival guests for in-depth discussions. The Festival will also feature 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.

Got a favorite family film of your own? Go to, where Herskowitz is now soliciting recommendations for film titles, guest artists and speakers, and where he will share behind-the-scenes stories as the program comes together.

For more information and for year-round announcements about the Virginia Film Festival and Virginia Film Society, visit the Web site at