“We are so excited to launch the 36th Annual Virginia Film Festival and once again shine a spotlight on the remarkable films and artists coming out of Hollywood, from around the world and from right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said festival director Jody Kielbasa, who also is UVA’s vice provost for the arts.
The festival’s centerpiece film, “The Holdovers,” features Paul Giamatti as a grumpy teacher at a New England boarding school who forms a surprising bond with a troubled student. The movie’s producer, Academy Award and Emmy Award winner Mark Johnson, graduated from UVA in 1971 and chairs the festival’s advisory board. Known for producing “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” Johnson will be on hand for a question-and-answer session after the movie.
“The Holdovers” isn’t the only movie in the lineup with a UVA tie. “Space Race,” a National Geographic documentary about the first Black astronauts, includes alumnus Leland Melvin. Melvin earned his master’s degree in materials science at UVA and was the first person to be both drafted by an NFL team and become an astronaut. He’s also the only astronaut to have his pets, two beloved dogs, in his official NASA portrait. He’ll participate in a discussion with the film’s producer after the screening.