January 25, 2008 — The Virginia Film Society kicks off its spring series with two special screenings in early February, including a screening attended by legendary avant-garde musician Fred Frith on Feb. 6 and a sneak preview of the latest feature from Charlottesville-based Cavalier Films on Feb. 11.
The society will present "Step Across the Border," winner of best documentary at the European Film Awards in 1990, on Feb. 6. Frith, the subject of the film and a guest artist of U.Va.s Arts Board, will discuss the film after the screening. The documentary is a collage of clips of Frith with his collaborators, including RenË Lussier, Bob Ostertag and John Zorn. Frith was described as a "Dadaist improviser with a streak of the mystic in him like that granddaddy of avant-gardists, John Cage, [he] finds music in everything that clanks, squeaks, rattles and hisses," wrote Stephen Holden in a 1992 review of the film in the New York Times. The film begins at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre.
The second offering is an exclusive sneak preview screening from Cavalier Films, on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with producers Marc Liberman and Barry Sisson.
"We are not allowed to give away too many details, but the film is a dramatic comedy about a dysfunctional family, featuring some well-known actors giving terrific performances, and was shot last year mostly in Staunton," said Richard Herskowitz, Virginia Film Festival artistic director.
This sneak preview is open only to Film Society members. However, half-year Film Society memberships will be on sale at Vinegar Hill Theatre on the evening of the screening.
The spring season continues on March 10 with writer/narrator Lolis Eric Elie and director Dawn Logsdon's documentary "Faubourg TremË." The film centers on this historic neighborhood, once a thriving community in New Orleans among free blacks in the 1880s.
"Low and Behold" is based on the writer-actor Barlow Jacobs' experiences as an insurance claims adjuster following Hurricane Katrina. It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and won best feature at both the New Orleans and Rome International festivals. The film will be screened on Monday, March 24, with Jacobs attending.
On April 9, the Black Maria Film and Video Festival returns with festival director John Columbus. The series closes April 23 with a screening of "Thursday Evening in the Universe," a constellation of works presented by film and video artist Jeanne Liotta.
The Virginia Film Society is the year-round program of the Virginia Film Festival. All Virginia Film Society events are co-sponsored by the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Most screenings feature guest speakers. The spring 2008 screenings will be held at Vinegar Hill Theatre at 7 p.m., with the exception of "Thursday Evening in the Universe," which will be held at The Bridge, 205 Monticello Road, on April 23. Admission to individual screenings is $9 and free to Film Society members.
Half-year memberships are $35 ($25 for students and seniors). Membership benefits include admission to Film Society screenings, one free pass to Regal Cinemas, $2 off Mondays at Sneak Reviews and $6 Tuesday movies at Vinegar Hill Theatre.
Individual admission tickets may be purchased 30 minutes prior to each screening at the venue box office, when seats are available.
To download an application form for Virginia Film Society membership or to view the full spring season schedule, visit www.vafilm.com. For information, call (434) 982-5277.
Spring 2008 Virginia Film Society Schedule
- "Step Across The Border" with Fred Frith Wednesday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m., at Vinegar Hill Theatre
Winner of Best Documentary at the European Film Awards in 1990, "Step Across the Border" is a collage of clips of musician Fred Frith with his collaborators, including RenË Lussier, Bob Ostertag and John Zorn. "Frith connects primal rock with everything from North African Pop to traditional Japanese percussion music to techno art-band stuff from New York in the late '80s." (Peter Goddard, New York Times).
Cosponsored with U.Va.'s Arts Board and the McIntire Department of Music.
- Special Preview from Cavalier Pictures Monday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre
The Virginia Film Society presents an exclusive sneak preview of a new production by Cavalier Films. The film is a dramatic comedy about family relationships and was shot last year mostly in nearby Staunton, Va.
The screening will be rounded off with a post-film question-and-answer session with the producers, Marc Lieberman and Barry Sisson.
Please note that this special event will be open only to Film Society members. However, half-year Film Society memberships will be on sale at Vinegar Hill on the evening of the screening.
- "Faubourg TremË: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans" Monday, March 10, 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre
In the Faubourg TremË, the sit-ins began in the 1800s, the Harlem Renaissance started before the Civil War, and the roots of jazz music and Creole cuisine were being nurtured every Sunday in Congo Square. Faubourg TremË is a historical documentary film about the enduring legacy of this incredible New Orleans neighborhood. The film's writer/narrator, Lolis Eric Elie, and director Dawn Logsdon will conduct a post-show discussion session.
This screening is supported by the U.Va,'s Office for Diversity and Equity, Creative Writing Program, Carter Woodson Institute and the Office of African American Affairs.
- New Orleans after Katrina: "Low And Behold" Monday, March 24, 7 p.m., at Vinegar Hill Theatre
An uninspired young man takes a job doing insurance claims on hurricane-damaged houses in New Orleans. His life is dramatically altered when he's forced to deal with the personal faces of the cataclysm. New Orleans evacuee Barlow Jacobs brought his own experience as a claims adjuster to bear when developing the script of this film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007, and won Best Feature at the New Orleans and Rome International Film Festivals. Jacobs will lead a discussion after the screening.
This screening is supported by Brown College at the University of Virginia.
- Black Maria Film Festival Wednesday, April 9, 7 p.m., Vinegar Hill Theatre
Black Maria Film Festival director John Columbus returns to Charlottesville with his international juried competition and award tour, with a mission to exhibit and reward cutting-edge works from independent film and video makers. Each program is custom tailored for an accessible and meaningful experience for varied audiences from city to city. From animation to experimental, satire to documentary, the range of selection is wide-ranging.
- "Thursday Evening in the Universe" Wednesday, April 23, 7 p.m., at The Bridge, 205 Monticello Rd.
Hymns to the void, the stars in their courses, the earth under your feet wobbles and drifts in this selection of made, found and borrowed volumes in various projection formats on the material subjects of landscape, science, natural philosophy and other forces of the universe. Film and video artist Jeanne Liotta will screen a celestial selection of her own works alongside inspirational works by others.
Liotta's latest film, "Observando el Cielo," was listed as one of the 10 best films of 2007 by Chrissie Iles of "Artforum" and Ed Halter of the "Village Voice."