Virginia Film Society Announces Fall Schedule

August 25, 2006
August 25, 2006 — The Virginia Film Society has announced its 2006 Fall Season, which will kick off with the drama “Hollywoodland,” inspired by the mysterious death of “Superman” star George Reeves. Other highlights include the return of the “Manhattan Short Film Festival,” a special nationwide event that will cast local cinema-goers in the role of judges to determine the best short films in the world; “The Guguletu Seven,” which portrays the unraveling truth revealed by an investigation of the shooting of seven men during the apartheid regime in South Africa; “Hollywood, Teach Us to Pray,” featuring an array of film clips depicting how Hollywood has shaped American prayer rituals; and the unreleased mystery “The Hole Story.”

“One of the highlights of this year's series will be the local premiere of “Don’t Tell,” an Italian film nominated for Best Foreign Language Film that includes key scenes filmed in Charlottesville,” said Richard Herskowitz, director of the Virginia Film Festival. “Enrico Cesaretti, who teaches Italian at the University of Virginia, was close to the filmmakers and will talk about their experiences here.”

“Hollywoodland” opens the season on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre. This compelling drama, inspired by one of Hollywood’s most infamous real-life mysteries, follows a 1950s private detective (Adrien Brody) who, investigating the mysterious death of “Superman” star George Reeves (Ben Affleck), uncovers unexpected connections to his own life as the case turns more personal. The torrid affair Reeves had with the wife (Diane Lane) of a studio executive (Bob Hoskins) might hold the key to the truth.

The film is the feature directorial debut for Allen Coulter (Emmy and DGA Award nominee for his work on “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City”) and was produced by U.Va. alumnus Glenn Williamson, a Virginia Film Festival board member who facilitated this event.

Leslie McDonald, the production designer for the film, will lead a discussion about creating a film set in the 1950s. McDonald, who has more than 20 years experience in the film industry and is currently a graduate student in U.Va.'s School of Architecture, said, “The challenge was that the movie is set in Hollywood but was shot in Toronto. We needed to find both early and late 1950s architecture that converged both the glamorous side of Hollywood and the design shift that happened with Elvis, McCarthyism and the “beat” poets in the post war designs of the late 1950s. We did a lot of research to reflect this and capture the historic significance of Hollywood at those times.”

All Virginia Film Society events are co-sponsored by the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Most screenings feature special guest speakers. Screenings are held at Vinegar Hill Theatre at 7 p.m. with the exception of “Hollywood, Teach Us to Pray,” which will be shown at the Regal Downtown on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 10:30 a.m. Admission to individual screenings is $8 and free to Film Society members.

Membership for the Virginia Film Society is just $50 ($40 for students and seniors). Membership benefits include admission to 12 screenings (through the spring season), a free pass to Regal Cinemas, $2 off rentals on Mondays at Sneak Reviews (non-new releases only) and $6 Tuesday movies at Vinegar Hill. Individual admission tickets may also be purchased 30 minutes before the screening at the venue box office, when seats are available.

For more information on membership in the Virginia Film Society, or to view the full fall season schedule, visit


“HOLLYWOODLAND” with production designer Leslie McDonald
Tuesday, Sept. 5 @ Vinegar Hill Theatre, 7 p.m.
This compelling drama, inspired by one of Hollywood’s most infamous real-life mysteries, follows a 1950s private detective (Adrien Brody) who, investigating the mysterious death of “Superman” star George Reeves (Ben Affleck), uncovers unexpected connections to his own life as the case turns more personal.

Tuesday, Sept. 19 @ Vinegar Hill Theatre, 7 p.m.
The most creative short films in the world will be judged by the cinema-going public around the world. Audience members, here and in 50 other cities within a 10-day period, will be handed a voting card upon entry and asked to vote for the one film they feel should win the festival. Last year’s program delighted the audience, and the quality of the films is certain to be exceptionally strong.

“THE GUGULETU SEVEN” with guest director Lindy Wilson
Tuesday, Oct. 3 @ Vinegar Hill Theatre, 7 p.m.
During the old apartheid regime in South Africa, seven young men, deemed to be “terrorists” are shot dead in the suburb of Guguletu, Cape Town, on March 3,1986. A witness, however, says he saw one of the men being shot with his hands up in the act of surrendering. The unraveling of the truth of this event ten years later, by investigators of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is the gripping and chilling journey of this film.

“HOLLYWOOD, TEACH US TO PRAY” with speaker Terry Lindvall
Saturday, Oct. 28 @ Regal Downtown, 10:30 a.m.
Terry Lindvall, a scholar of silent comedies, animated films, and religious cinema, is one of the VFF’s most popular speakers. Viewers will be treated to more than 40 film clips (from the silent films of Chaplin, Keaton and Fairbanks to “Bride of Frankenstein,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Million Dollar Baby”), as Lindvall talks about how Hollywood has shaped American rituals of prayer.

“DON’T TELL” with guest speaker Enrico Cesaretti
Tuesday, Nov. 7 @ Vinegar Hill Theatre, 7 p.m.
Nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 for Best Foreign Language Film, “Don’t Tell” was directed by Cristina Comencini and was partially filmed in Charlottesville! “Don’t Tell” is the mesmerizing story of a woman’s journey into her past and the aftermath of confronting personal demons long hidden beneath the surface of her psyche. Sabrina is a beautiful young woman who seemingly has it all – a supportive and loving boyfriend, a comfortable lifestyle and a promising future. Screening before the feature will be the short film “Rotten,” by Charlottesville-based director Eric Hurt.

“THE HOLE STORY” with guest director Alex Karpovsky
Tuesday, Nov. 21 @ Vinegar Hill Theatre, 7 p.m.
A massive stretch of water opens up on the surface of icy North Long Lake in Brainerd, Minn. Convinced this would be perfect for the mystery show he’s been fervently pitching to cable executives, Alex decides to cash in his savings and make a pilot episode himself. However, the “black hole” mystery reveals itself to be much more disturbing and personal than expected. “It was one of my favorite unreleased films of last year and one of the saddest and funniest debuts I’ve ever seen,” wrote Matt Zoller Seitz of the New York Press.