Shirley MacLaine, Liv Ullmann and Werner Herzog Headline 2016 Film Festival

September 27, 2016

The 29th Virginia Film Festival will again turn Charlottesville into a film lover’s paradise Nov. 3 through 6, delivering a lineup of more than 120 films. The festival will include appearances by legendary film icons and up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world and Virginia, in addition to screenings of some of the hottest new titles on the festival circuit, beloved classics and fascinating documentaries.

This year’s festival – presented by the University of Virginia, the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts – will feature a trio of film legends: Virginia native Shirley MacLaine, filmmaker Werner Herzog and actor-director Liv Ullmann. The three will participate in the festival’s Conversation Series that will combine intimate and wide-ranging discussions of their careers and lives with clips of some of their most notable work.

“What an honor it is to welcome these legends of cinema to the Virginia Film Festival,” said festival director Jody Kielbasa, UVA’s vice provost for the arts. “Shirley MacLaine has enjoyed one of Hollywood’s most remarkable careers, and lived a life so extraordinary that it has been the subject of 12 bestselling autobiographies. Liv Ullmann is recognized as one of our greatest living actors, and we are thrilled that she will be joining us, and participating in a special conversation with Michael Barker, the co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics. Werner Herzog is a transcendent talent and larger-than-life figure who has made some of the most fascinating films in the history of cinema, while living a truly incomparable life in the process.

“And we are thrilled to bring in Danny McBride, a native of the commonwealth who is one of the comedy world’s most successful actors, writers and producers.” McBride, a Fredericksburg native co-created and stars in HBO’s hit comedy, “Vice Principals.”

The festival’s guest list will include up to 150 filmmakers, representing a program that illustrates the broad spectrum of cinema.

For a full schedule and complete information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit Tickets will go on sale Friday online, in person at the UVA Arts Box Office at Culbreth Theatre and via phone at 434-924-3376. 

Among the festival’s highlights:

Opening Night Film

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and officials from the Virginia Film Office will announce this year’s Opening Night Film on Thursday in a press conference at the Executive Mansion.

Centerpiece Film: “The Promise”

The Virginia Film Festival will host the North American premiere of “The Promise,” a documentary about one of Virginia’s most notorious crimes and the questions that still surround the case 30 years later. Echoing the hit Netfilx series “Making a Murderer” and the NPR sensation “Serial,” “The Promise” looks back at the gruesome 1985 double murder of Nancy and Derek Haysom in bucolic Bedford County and the man who continues to proclaim his innocence after three decades of incarceration.

Closing Night Film: “La La Land”

Written and directed by Academy Award nominee Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actor, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern-day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.

A Salute to Shirley MacLaine

Born in Richmond in 1934, MacLaine lived in Norfolk and Arlington before being pulled out of the chorus line and into a starring role in the Broadway hit, “The Pajama Game.” She has given countless unforgettable performances over the course of her illustrious Hollywood career, including roles in “The Apartment,” “Sweet Charity,” “The Turning Point,” “Being There,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Madame Souzatzka” and “Terms of Endearment,” for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress. More recently, MacLaine has delighted audiences with her performance as the outspoken Martha Levinson in the hit series, “Downton Abbey.” She has been nearly as prolific with the pen, writing 12 best-selling memoirs that capture a lifelong search for meaning that has seen her exploring past lives, UFOs and more. MacLaine will take part in a moderated conversation and audience Q&A session.

A Conversation with Werner Herzog

The Munich-born Herzog is known for his half-century of extraordinary artistry and is hailed as one of the most innovative directors of all time. He partnered with legendary actor Klaus Kinski in his breakthrough masterpiece, “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” in 1972 and is also well-known for his film, “Fitzcarraldo,” in which Kinski played an opera enthusiast who dreams of pulling a steamship over a mountain in the Peruvian jungle in order to mine native rubber trees. Herzog is an equally accomplished documentarian whose works include the film “Grizzly Man,” about an infamous American wilderness enthusiast who sought to live among grizzlies, only to be killed by one. Herzog also will introduce his most recent documentary, “Into the Inferno,” an exploration of active volcanoes and the diverse cultures surrounding them, and conduct a cross-disciplinary residency with UVA students and faculty.

A Conversation with Liv Ullmann

Ullmann, a Norwegian-born, two-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner, will be interviewed on stage by Michael Barker, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics. Ullmann is widely known as the muse of Ingmar Bergman, with whom she made 10 films and shared a five-year relationship. She became the first non-Swede to star in a Bergman film with “Persona” and also starred in “Hour of the Wolf,” “Shame,” “Passion,” “Cries and Whispers” and “Scenes from a Marriage.” She earned Oscar nominations for Best Actress for “Face to Face” and “The Emigrants.” Her directorial efforts have included “Miss Julie,” “Sofie,” “Kristin Lavransdatter” and “Private Confessions.” Ullmann also will conduct a master class for UVA drama students.

Danny McBride

The actor, writer, producer and comedian will present two episodes of his popular HBO comedy, “Vice Principals,” in which he stars and created with writing and producing partner Jody Hill, who will join him at the festival. In addition to his current show, McBride is known for his popular HBO series “Eastbound & Down” and memorable turns in films including “Pineapple Express,” “Tropic Thunder” and “This is the End.”

Beauty and the Beast and Waking Sleeping Beauty

The Virginia Film Festival will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking Disney animated classic, “Beauty and the Beast,” by welcoming Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle in the film, along with the film’s producer, Don Hahn.

Audiences will have a chance to see the unfinished work-in-progress version of the film that famously premiered at the 1991 New York Film Festival and has not been screened since. This version is 80 percent final, with the remainder conveyed through pencil tests, storyboards and sketches.

“Beauty and the Beast” remains the only animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and helped pave the way for what has become known as the “Disney Renaissance,” which changed the animated film landscape forever. Hahn played a key role in the revitalization, including producing “The Lion King,” which in 1994 set worldwide box office records for animated films and became history’s highest-grossing, traditionally animated film.

The event will also include a conversation with O’Hara and Hahn, moderated by Carmenita Higginbotham, an associate professor in the McIntire Department of Art and a noted Disney authority who has written and lectured extensively on its unique and pervasive cultural impact.

Hahn will participate in a discussion following a screening of the critically acclaimed 2009 documentary, “Waking Sleeping Beauty.” The film, which Hahn directed and narrates, chronicles the rise of Disney animation from 1984 to 1994.

The “Beauty and the Beast” screening will be presented as part of the festival’s Library of Congress series, in partnership with the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper. Each year, the series celebrates the National Film Registry. This year’s series will also include a screening of “A Face in the Crowd,” the 1957 Elia Kazan film starring Andy Griffith as an Arkansas drifter who is discovered by the producer of a small radio station and becomes an overnight media sensation, ultimately rising to great fame and influence on national television.

Life, Animated

Another angle on the magic of Disney comes courtesy of Pulitzer Prize-winning UVA alumnus Ron Suskind, who will present his moving documentary detailing how he was able to use Disney films to connect with his autistic son.

D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus

Just days before the 2016 presidential election, noted documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus will present their award-winning film, “The War Room,” which famously followed the 1992 Bill Clinton campaign. They will be joined by political consultant and CNN commentator Paul Begala, who is featured in the film along with fellow campaign principals George Stephanopoulos and James Carville. The event is presented by the UVA Center for Politics and will be moderated by Larry J. Sabato, its founder and director.

In addition, Hegedus and Pennebaker will present their new film, “Unlocking the Cage,” which follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project, as they file the first lawsuits aimed at ineffective animal welfare laws in an effort to protect cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins and elephants from physical abuse.

Spotlighted Screenings

The festival’s featured screenings include:

  • “All the Way” – Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Schenkkan will present his Emmy-nominated HBO film starring Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
  • “Bleed for This” – Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart star in this biopic of world champion boxer Vinny Pazienza and his miraculous comeback from a broken neck suffered in a devastating car wreck.
  • “The Eagle Huntress” – This documentary, narrated by Daisy Ridley, follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter.
  • –Paul Verhoeven’s controversial and provocative thriller stars Isabelle Huppert as a high-powered video game company CEO who goes in search of the man who sexually assaulted her.
  • “I Am Not Your Negro” – This powerful documentary is based on James Baldwin’s unfinished book, “Remember This House,” which is considered to be one of the great incomplete works of American literature. In the book, Baldwin attempts to recount the lives and successive assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • – The latest film from Pedro Almodóvar is based on the short stories of Alice Munro and tells the story of a brokenhearted woman who, after a casual encounter, decides to confront her life and the most important events surrounding her stranded daughter.
  • “Land of Mine” – A young group of German POWs are forced to dig up some 45,000 landmines with their bare hands in this little-remembered and haunting historical chapter that came in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
  • – The film tells the true story of a 5-year-old Indian boy gets lost in the streets of Calcutta, thousands of miles from home, and somehow survives many challenges before being adopted by an Australian couple. Dev Patel stars as the man who, 25 years later, goes in search of his family.
  • “Lost in Paris” – Fiona, a small-town Canadian librarian, receives a letter of distress from her 88-year-old Aunt Martha. Fiona hops on the first plane only to discover that Martha has disappeared. In an avalanche of spectacular disasters, she meets Dom, a seductive egotistical homeless guy who won't leave her alone, in this whimsical ode to slapstick idols such as Chaplin, Keaton and Tati.
  • “Memories from Gehenna” – More than a decade after a local Frenchman gunned down a North African immigrant, director Thomas Jenkoe visits the suburban port of Grande-Synthe in Northern France and finds a town still deeply scarred.
  • “Mifune: The Last Samurai” – Steven Okazaki’s new documentary tells the story of legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, whose 170 films notably included “Rashomon, Seven Samurai,” and more classic collaborations with Akira Kurosawa and other legends of world cinema. Narrated by Keanu Reeves, the film features commentary from Martin Scorcese and Steven Spielberg on Mifune’s unique partnerships and his effect on American and international film.
  • “The Red Turtle” – The Special Jury Prize winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this animated, wordless film is the first co-production from the Japanese anime film company Studio Ghibli, which teamed with Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit on a castaway story that combines, beauty, mystery, drama and heartbreak.
  • “The Sweet Life” – Chris Messina and Abigail Spencer star as Kenny and Lolita, who are each struggling with their own set of demons. They first meet by chance in Chicago and make a pact to travel across country to the Golden Gate Bridge to commit suicide – a plan which becomes complicated when they fall in love along the way. Director Rob Spera will join the film’s producers, Bonnie Curtis and UVA alumna Julie Lynn, for a conversation following the film.
  • – Based on an E.L. Doctorow story and starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner, “Wakefield” is the story of a man who has a breakdown and leaves his wife and family by escaping to a garage attic and observing them. Writer-director Robin Swicord will join the film’s producers, also Bonnie Curtis and UVA alumna Julie Lynn, for a conversation following the film.

Other documentary films to be screened include:

  • “The Anthropologist” – The fate of the planet is considered from the perspective of American teenager Katie Crate, who travels alongside her anthropologist mother Dr. Susie Crate to study the impact of climate change on indigenous communities in a journey that parallels that of renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead.
  • A unique sensory experience and unsentimental peek beneath the veil of the utopian idyll of farming. Stripped of interviews with farmers or agricultural experts, the film offers a meditation on the gritty reality of three young goat farmers.
  • – Equal parts culinary documentary, political conversation-starter and travelogue, filmmaker Andreas Johnsen’s absorbing documentary sets out to unearth the role bugs will play in the future of agriculture and to break down the cultural barriers keeping insects off our plates.
  • – Delving deep into the world of home elder care through the eyes of both paid caregivers and their elderly clients, “Care” reveals the humanity and poignancy of this work and the challenges and frustrations faced by elders, their families and the care workers.
  • “Contemporary Color” – Watch what happens when 10 of the country’s elite color guard teams – the flag-flipping, sequin-studded crème de la crème of the “sport of the arts” – sync steps with musical luminaries from David Byrne to tUnE-yArDs to St. Vincent for a bacchanalia of beats, saber-spinning and glitter cannons.
  • “Good Work: Masters of the Building Arts” – A group portrait of artisans in the building arts in America that celebrates art, craftsmanship, tradition and the importance of “Good Work.”
  • “Landfill Harmonic” – A heartfelt and moving story of how instruments made from recycled trash bring hope to children whose future is otherwise spiritless.
  • “A Late Style of Fire” – This look at the brilliant poetry and scandalous life of the late Californian poet Larry Levis asks whether self-destruction is required for a serious life of art and features an original score by Iron and Wine.
  • “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” – The first documentary about this American cultural legend features rarely told stories that shed new light on the way history, culture and the arts shaped Angelou’s life, and how her thoughts and words continue to shape our ours.
  • “The Million Dollar Duck” – The strange and wonderful world of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the only juried art competition run by the U.S. government, comes to life complete with eccentric contestants who seek wildlife art stardom each year.
  • – This action-packed documentary shares the untold story of the day, nearly 50 years ago, when a gunman rode to the 27th floor of the University of Texas Clock Tower and opened fire in America’s first mass school shooting, utilizing talking-head footage and rotoscope animation.

“Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers”

The Virginia Film Festival partners with James Madison’s Montpelier to present a historical documentary that examines the paradox at the core of the lives and legacies of America’s Founding Fathers: How is it that the same men who created our nation based on the ideals of freedom and liberty were able to do so while enslaving fellow human beings? The screening will be accompanied by a discussion with director Thomas Troy, Margaret Jordan (Montpelier), Paul Jennings and Dr. Marcus Martin (UVA).

IndieWire: Celebrating 20 Years

The Virginia Film Festival will salute the 20th anniversary of IndieWire. Since its 1996 launch, IndieWire has grown into the leading news, information and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike. Originally conceived as an online forum and newsletter for filmmakers and festivals, IndieWire has grown over the last two decades into a preeminent source for film and television news, reviews, interviews, global festival coverage and more.

The festival will welcome IndieWire founders Eugene Hernandez and Mark Rabinowitz, former managing editor Brian Brooks, and current chief film critic and senior editor Eric Kohn for a wide-ranging discussion about the organization’s colorful history and the evolving world of film criticism today.

Indigenous Voices – Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

In partnership with UVA’s Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, the festival will present a series of films made by, or telling the stories of, indigenous peoples. The films include “Heaven’s Floor” and “Putuparri and the Rainmakers,” a documentary about an Aboriginal man living in Western Australia that maps out his ancestors’ spiritual connection to the land and his family’s continuing custodianship of it.

Jewish and Israeli Film Series

The Virginia Film Festival will again partner with Charlottesville’s Congregation Beth Israel to present a series of acclaimed Jewish and Israeli films, including:

  • “Eva Hesse” – Profiling German-born artist Eva Hesse, a pioneer in post-minimal art who was known for her use of plastics in sculptures, and who enjoyed critical success during the 1960s before her life was tragically cut short by a brain tumor at the age of 34.
  • “NOT The Last Butterfly” – This new documentary traces the exciting global evolution of The Butterfly Project, whose mission is to paint and exhibit 1.5 million sculpted butterflies to honor each Jewish child killed in the Holocaust.
  • “Restoring Tomorrow” – Restoring Tomorrow is not only an exciting glimpse into the rebirth of the famous Wilshire Boulevard Temple and its magnificent 2013 restoration, but also an exploration of how Los Angeles’ past, the growth of Hollywood and its Jewish community go hand-in-hand in their evolution.
  • “Sand Storm” – Winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic section at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, this film focuses on the shattered lives of two Bedouin women who are struggling to change unchangeable rules, each in her own individual way.
  • “Tenth Man” – This well-observed comedy from award-winning director Daniel Burman wrestles with notions of identity, home and the intricacies of the father-son relationship as a man’s efforts to reconcile with his father in Buenos Aires also reconnects him with his Jewish roots.
  • “One Week and a Day” – In the span of a day, a grieving father steals medicinal marijuana from a hospice, skips work and hangs out with his estranged neighbor’s son while his wife tries to get back to her daily routine as she fights off schoolteachers, stray kittens and dental clinic workers.

Spotlight on Virginia Filmmaking

In 2016, the festival will shine a spotlight on an impressive collection of films that were made in Virginia or have roots in the commonwealth, including:

  • “Before the Fall” – A re-imagining of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” moves the tale to modern-day rural Virginia and replaces Elizabeth Bennett with Ben Bennett, an arrogant attorney who first insults, then falls for a local factory worker charged with domestic abuse.
  • “Farewell Ferris Wheel” – Called “visually glorious” by The Hollywood Reporter, this film from UVA alumnus Jamie Sisley and Miguel Martinez spends six years exploring how the U.S. carnival industry fights to keep itself alive by legally employing Mexican migrant workers with the controversial H-2B temporary work visa.
  • “Hot Air” – A young man, played by “Criminal Minds” star Matthew Gray Gubler, attends the funeral of the biological father he never knew, and ends up on a comic adventure with a quirky stranger (Jere Burns), who claims to have been his dad’s best friend.
  • “Hunter Gatherer” – After three years in prison, an unreasonably optimistic middle-aged man returns to his stagnant neighborhood to win back his girlfriend, only to find that she and his family have done what they always wanted to do: forget he exists.
  • “London Town” – This tale of a 14-year-old London boy whose life changes forever when his estranged mother introduces him to the music of The Clash is directed by Virginia Beach native Derrick Borte, and stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the band’s legendary front man, Joe Strummer.
  • “Macbeth Unhinged” – This modern interpretation of the Bard’s tragedy is set in the claustrophobic confines of a stretch limousine which prowls the streets of a contemporary landscape as its agoraphobic passengers struggle for existential meaning in a dog-eat-dog world where only the fit survive, and tragedy unfolds.
  • “The Rebound” – Shaina Koren Allen’s inspiring directorial debut follows the lives and fortunes of a Miami wheelchair basketball team as its players fight for their championship dreams while adapting to overcome the challenges of their physical disabilities.

Emerging Artist Series

With support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, the festival will continue its focus on highlighting and sharing some of the most talented new voices on the filmmaking scene today. In addition to “Before the Fall,” “Farewell Ferris Wheel,” “The Rebound” and “Hunter Gatherer,” the series will include:

  • “The Alchemist Cookbook” – Filmmaker Joel Potrykus makes his second visit to the Virginia Film Festival with this story of a young hermit suffering from delusions of fortune who hides out in the forest hoping to crack an ancient mystery, but pays a price for his mania.
  • “Best and Most Beautiful Things” - A celebration of outcasts everywhere follows a precocious young blind woman who disappears into quirky obsessions and isolation. With humor and bold curiosity, she chases love and freedom in a surprising, sex-positive community.
  • – A young woman washes ashore and is claimed by an older man in Paul Taylor’s intricately layered, dialogue-free exploration of familial roles, isolation and captivity.
  • “Lupe Under the Sun” – Mexican-American filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes captures the simple poetry of immigrant life, using real farmworkers to tell the moving story of a peach picker who longs to return to his native Mexico before he dies.
  • “She Started It” – Directors Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed offer a rare look into the lives and the challenges of five inspiring young female tech entrepreneurs who will stop at nothing to pursue their dreams. The film is presented in partnership with UVA’s Darden School of Business.

International Films

The festival will feature an array of some of this year’s top foreign films, including seven that have been submitted for consideration for the 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. These films include “Elle,” “Julieta” and “Land of Mine” (featured in the “Spotlight” films above); “Sand Storm” (part of the Jewish and Israeli film series); and three additional films:

  • (Singapore) – Aiman, a 28-year-old correctional officer at a maximum-security prison, must overcome his conscience and haunting past when he strikes up a friendship with the chief executioner and is asked to become his apprentice.
  • “As I Open My Eyes” (Tunisia) – On the eve of the Tunisian revolution in 2010, a young woman just accepted to medical school chooses to follow her passion for music, and her underground rock band draws attention from fans and government authorities alike.
  • “Fire at Sea” (Italy/France) – Gianfranco Rosi’s Berlinale Film Festival Golden Bear-winning documentary follows a 12-year-old boy who lives on the Lampedusa Island in the middle of the sea and on the front lines of the European migrant crisis.

Other international films at the festival will include:

  • “After Coal” (U.S./Wales) – What happens when fossil fuels run out? “After Coal” takes viewers to the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels, profiling inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and South Wales.
  • “Being 17” (France) – Two rival teenage boys are thrown together by circumstance, unraveling long-suppressed desires neither realized they had for each other in a refreshing and honest exploration of masculinity and sexuality for the modern age.
  • “Dead Slow Ahead” (Spain/Italy) – This hypnotic, immersive documentary follows the anonymous crew of a massive shipping freighter who are both the captains and the captives of the grinding machinery that dominates their lives.
  • “Don’t Call Me Son” (Brazil) – Anna Muylaert’s newest work explores the mother-child relationship through the eyes of a rebellious son whose world unravels overnight.
  • “Heaven’s Floor” (Canada) – An L.A. photographer’s whimsical trip to the Canadian Arctic becomes a life-threatening disaster when she finds herself abandoned there and is rescued by a 12-year-old Inuit girl who shares dark truths about her own life.
  • “Memories from Gehenna” (France) – More than a decade after a local man gunned down a North African immigrant, director Thomas Jenkoe visits the suburban port of Grande-Synthe in Northern France and finds a town still deeply scarred.
  • “Old Stone” (China) – Johnny Ma’s feature debut tells the story of a hard-working cab driver in a bustling Chinese metropolis who is plunged into a bureaucratic nightmare when he takes an injured man to the hospital.
  • “Putuparri and the Rainmakers” (Australia) – This powerful documentary explores the complex Indigenous and colonial history of Australia through the story of Tom “Putuparri” Lawford.
  • “Shepherds and Butchers” (South Africa/Germany) – A lawyer (Steve Coogan) takes on the case of a South African prison guard traumatized by the executions he's witnessed.
  • “Staying Vertical” – French filmmaker Alain Guiraudie follows up his acclaimed “Stranger by the Lake” with this story of a filmmaker who must raise a child by himself while looking for an inspiration for his new film.
  • (Greece) – On a hedonistic Greek island, a middle-aged doctor becomes obsessed with a young tourist when she lets him tag along with her group of hard-partying friends.
  • “The Son of Joseph” (France) – Vincent, an adolescent, has been lovingly raised by a single mother who has always refused to tell him his father’s name. Vincent discovers that he is a selfish and cynical Parisian publisher, Oscar Pormenor. Vincent plots his revenge, but his encounter with Joseph will change his life.

“The Yellow Ticket” with Live Musical Accompaniment

This silent film tells the story of Lea, a young girl living in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw with hopes of studying medicine at a university in Russia. When her father dies, she moves to St. Petersburg to pursue her dream, but must assume the identity of her tutor’s deceased sister in order to be accepted to the university. Lea attends school during the day, but spends her nights working as a prostitute, until a fellow student discovers her secret.

Esteemed Klezmer musicians Alicia Svigals, Marilyn Lerner and UVA faculty member Joel Rubin will accompany the screening with a live performance of a score written by Svigals, which was commissioned by the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 2013 New Jewish Music Network.

Family Day

Family Day returns to the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds on Nov. 5, highlighted by screenings of “Walt Disney Animation Studios Shorts” and a 20th-anniversary screening of the classic film, “James and the Giant Peach.” Also on hand will be the Charlottesville Symphony with their “Musical Petting Zoo,” and the Virginia Film Festival Young Filmmakers Academy, which will showcase the work of more than 600 student filmmakers from around the area who create their own films with the help of classroom mentorship from representatives of Light House Studio.

The day will also include an interactive arts fair and a series of workshops led by UVA and community arts professionals. This year’s workshops include: “Lights, Camera, Chain-re-Action!,” by Earl Mark of UVA School of Architecture; “Get Animated with the Virginia Discovery Museum,” by Katilin German; and “Creating Art Together” by UVA Arts Scholars Emma Lewis and Susan Xie. The workshops are free, but require advance registration.

Family Day events are free and open to the public, and feature free parking at the Culbreth Road Garage.

Digital Media Gallery

The Digital Media Gallery returns to Second Street Gallery, inside the City Center for Contemporary Arts, where it will feature video projection art and experimental films by students from filmmaker Kevin Everson’s intermediate and advanced UVA cinematography students and local students from the award-winning Light House Studio.

This year’s gallery also will feature an interactive virtual reality lab presented by open-source virtual reality company Razer.

The Digital Media Gallery will open on Oct. 28 and run through Nov. 17. It is free and open to the public, made possible by support from The AV Company and the UVA Arts Council, and is part of the festival’s Community Outreach & Education Program. More details can be found at

Adrenaline Film Project

The festival will once again get a jolt of caffeinated creativity via the 13th Annual Adrenaline Film Project, a 72-hour filmmaking adventure in which 10 to 12 teams of filmmakers shoot, edit and screen their own five- to seven-minute films with guidance from Adrenaline mentors as well as some of the festival’s guests.

Charlottesville native and filmmaker Jeff Wadlow will return as mentor, joined by noted acting coach Leigh Kilton-Smith and UVA alum and three-time Adrenaline veteran Kevin Hart, a recent graduate of the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Producing Program.

The Adrenaline Film Project will culminate Nov. 5 in a competitive screening and awards ceremony before a live audience at Culbreth Theatre.

Parties and Events

Highlights of this year’s parties and events include:

  • Opening Night Gala, Nov. 3, Jefferson Theater, Downtown Mall; doors open at 9:30 p.m. (21-and-over only): Celebrate the excitement of opening night following the opening night screening, and toast the festival weekend with beverages, light buffet refreshments and live big band music while mixing and mingling with guests and festival friends and supporters. Tickets are $75 per person.
  • Late Night Wrap Party, Nov. 5, Main Street Arena, Downtown Mall, 10 p.m. (21-and-over only): Connect with filmmakers, special guests and fellow film fans in a fun and festival atmosphere. Tickets are $35 per person.

The 2016 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the The AV Company, Bank of America, Bold Rock Hard Cider, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Virginia Film Office and Violet Crown Charlottesville.

Media Contact

Caroline Newman

Associate Editor Office of University Communications